When leasing commercial retail or office space landlords want the best tenants possible. In fact most of them prefer to have national chains with proven concepts and that have locations across the country as opposed to mom and pop operations.
Whether you are launching a new business or opening a well known chain your business plan, financial info, and background info are important to the landlord. If you were a successful restaurant operator with years of experience the landlord will probably be more confident about the future of your success. However if you were a teacher and just inherited a bunch of money and decided to open a restaurant the landlord may not have much faith in your ability to succeed.
If you know your financial and background information may not appeal to the landlord then you need to prepare yourself before contacting the landlord. If you do you will give the landlord more confidence in your ability to succeed and pay rent. Everything you do and say to the landlord will be judged and their first impression of you and your business concept is critical. It does not matter if that space you like has been vacant for 12 months. That doesn't mean the landlord would lease it to you unless they felt like you could pay the rent.
So what can you do to get prepared?
- Write a detailed business plan – Doing this can help persuade the landlord that you will be a great tenant worthy of a great location. If you are a startup and appear to be underfinanced having a business plan can make all the difference.
- Form a corporation that becomes the tenant on the lease – This is the best choice for a business owner. It can help limit your liability in the event you default on the lease.
- Get your finances in order – You financial situation is extremely important to the landlord as they want to know that you are financially committed to making the business a success. They also want to know where the money will come from. Getting your credit score checked to make sure everything checks out ok.
- Get business cards – Being able to hand the landlord or commercial agent a business card will make you look more professional and committed.
- Have a simple website and email set up – The sooner you can get these up and running the better. Landlords will look this up and judge you. If you have a great website it could have a positive impact on your dealings with the landlord.
These are just a few things you can do. At the end of the day the landlord wants good tenants that pay rent. Your job is to make a great impression at the beginning to give them the confidence that you know your business, have a plan, and have the financial resources to pay rent, tenant improvements, etc…