“Location, location, location!” is a cliché we often hear about real estate matters. If you’re looking to rent an office for a small business, you’re probably considering several factors like budget, convenience, and, of course, location. Or perhaps you’re unsure what to prioritize. Don’t worry, we’ve put together 13 steps you should take before signing any lease.
1. Estimate Space Needed
The first thing is knowing how many square feet of office space is needed for a small business. The ideal amount of office space per employee is generally around 100 sq ft, providing enough room for desk space and communal areas. Naturally, this also depends on the type of work you do. For instance, a therapist’s office may only have two people in it at a time but require more space than an administrative team who can hot desk.
2. Consider the Location
Any small business owner needs to have a solid understanding of their target customer and unique selling proposition. Locating in an upscale neighborhood may be necessary to attract higher-paying clientele, but rent will cost more. Less upscale areas may offer tax incentives and be cheaper but aren’t always as safe.
It also depends on if your business is client-facing or not. If most of your work takes place online, you may not need a space that accommodates clients at all. With no definitive solution, it’s more about weighing up the pros and cons and doing what’s best for your business. For instance, leasing in an upscale area sometimes improves client acquisition, so costlier rent no longer becomes an issue.
3. Compare Different Types of Lease Offered
There are a number of different types of small business office space options available today to suit a variety of industries. From a private small office to hot desks, here are a few top choices to explore when leasing office space for small business needs.
- Small Offices: Private small offices are the perfect, secluded option for a rental space for small business needs. These private offices give that security and privacy some industries require, without renting out a large space that will go unused.
- Hot Desks: Hot desks, which have grown in popularity in recent years, allow workers to utilize a desk space in a larger room. This office space for rent for small business models helps create more fluidity and flexibility, with open desks for use as needed.
- Dedicated Desk: Another small business office space for rent alternative is the dedicated desk. This is similar to a coworking membership, with dedicated desks that provide a bit more security than a hot desk. These desks feature locked filing cabinets and can be reserved for use.
- Daily Office: Looking for a small business office for rent that offers daily rentals, versus a monthly lease? A daily office is a solution. This rental option allows businesses to book an office for a day, to host a group meeting or clients in a professional space.
4. Inquire about the Amenities Included
When looking to rent space for small business needs, inquire about the amenities offered. Modern offices offer a range of amenities that are included in the cost, which serve both a functional and modern purpose to elevate your office environment.
Some of these amenities include:
- Fast Wi-Fi;
- Fully-Furnished Workspace;
- On-Site Management;
- On-Demand meeting rooms;
- Mail Service;
- Free Espresso, Coffee, Tea, and Filtered Water;
- Outdoor space.
5. Define Your Budget
Before you get carried away by scrolling through attractive property listings, you should determine your budget. It’s a good idea to look at office space 10% below and above your ideal budget to gauge what’s out there. Remember that your budget should be comprehensive and not just cover rent. Factoring in possible furniture purchases, transportation, and business running costs will give you a clear idea of what you can afford.
6. Explore the Neighborhood
The first impression of your small business office space is rooted in the neighborhood it sits within. With this in mind, it’s essential that employees and clients feel safe in this neighborhood. Furthermore, take a look if there are local businesses that will enhance your team’s feeling about the area, including places to eat, coffee shops, gyms, and more.
7. Check the Availability of Parking
Any business that needs a brick-and-mortar location must consider parking because it's the first touchpoint a client has with the company. Unfortunately, more parking experiences can make clients frustrated before they’ve walked through your office door. Does the parking space meet you and your client’s needs? How secure is it? Is there handicapped parking, and what are the costs?
8. Think about the Accessibility of Public Transport
If there’s limited parking, a small business office space should at least be near public transport. Businesses close to public transport are attractive to employees and clients because they’re easily accessible. And, more often than not, the surrounding area will likely be filled with social and commercial spaces like bars, restaurants, and shopping malls, all of which make life and business convenient.
9. Observe Possible Business Growth
If you want to rent a location for your business, you should also consider its physical potential. Will the landlord allow alterations as your business needs grow? This could be as simple as taking down partitions or knocking down a wall to increase workspace. Always get permission in writing and see if you can negotiate a reduction in rental payments if you decide to pay for the remodeling work.
10. Mind Future Costs
Inflation increases every year. Be sure to include any future costs like rental and utility increases, moving expenses, any construction, and the potential of a growing workforce. Always factor these costs into the duration of your lease period to ensure there are no surprises down the road.
11. Avoid Legal Issues
As a small business owner, you want to get a good idea of who your tenants are and their experience with the landlord. Find out how long they have been leasing for and if they’ve had any challenges with the body corporate or landlord. You should also inquire about insurance premiums, cleaning, and general maintenance services.
12. Check Handicap Accessibility
Does the office complex meet ADA standards, and is it accessible? Make sure it adheres to handicap regulations and has the correct ratio of bathroom facilities. Emergency exits and fire escapes should remain unobstructed at all times, and normal entrances and exits must be easy to get to. Having an accessible office space makes a huge difference for people with limited mobility or visual or hearing impairments and benefits everyone.
13. Learn about Building Security
The safety and security of your staff should always be top of mind, no matter how late they are at the office working. As part of this, you want to ensure that team members feel protected, so inquire about the security measures in place at the office building you choose. Typically, we recommend buildings with keycard access, security cameras, and other safety measures for emergency scenarios.
There’s a lot to consider, but 620 N Lasalle hopes this brief guide on how to find office space for small businesses has been helpful. If you have a small business and want to rent an office, it might be worth your while to take a look at our small office spaces in River North, Chicago. For more information, contact us today.
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