Renting office space is a big decision whether you are a new business or startup or an established existing business. You don’t want to choose just any office. You need to make sure that the office space you lease meets your current and future needs. You don’t want to just settle on anything. In most cases you will end up signing a 3-5 year lease so it’s important that you pick the right one from the get go.
Below are some things to look for as you tour properties.
Make Sure It Meets Your Timing
You need to make sure it meets your timing. If you have to be moved in within 30-60 days then you should focus only on offices that are 2nd generation…meaning they have been built out and occupied before. Only consider properties that need minimal improvements (think carpet, paint, and maybe adding or removing a wall or two)
A space that is in shell condition (brand new, never been built out) will take 4-6 months to make ready depending on the size, permitting process in your city, build out, etc.
Don’t waste time looking at spaces that have an uncertain move in date if you are in a time crunch.
Consider Locations Near Employees
If you absolutely have to be in a specific area (e.g. Downtown Austin) then do that, however if you don’t pick an office that is close to the majority of employees.
Employees have enough to juggle already (e.g. family, personal, etc.) don’t make their commute times a struggle.
Easy to Find
If you have a lot of visitors make sure the office is easy to find. A hard to find office may be a little less expensive however it’s not worth it. Give your visitors a pleasant experience from the beginning.
Options to Grow
If you are a growing company it’s important that your office be able to accommodate your current and future needs.
Moving sucks. The bigger your company gets the harder it is to move. If a building does not have options to grow into then consider other buildings.
Your employees will appreciate an office that is close to restaurants, dry cleaners, medical offices, etc. They have lives to run to and it’s hard to get things done when there is nothing nearby.
Lease Term You Can Live With
If you are a startup that is in growth mode then only focus on properties that can accommodate a short term lease 1-3 years. You won’t have the leverage to negotiate many concessions however if flexibility is important than it’s worth giving up other concessions.
If you are more established than it may make more sense to do a longer lease which will give you more leverage in negotiations for lease concessions (e.g larger tenant improvement allowance).
Lease Agreement That Makes Sense
Make sure you understand what the landlord is responsible for and what you (tenant) is responsible for. Make sure you know exactly the dollar amount that you must pay each month and what all is included. Don’t just take the landlords word for it. Get is all in writing and ensure that everything is clearly spelled out. Have your attorney review before signing.