When considering a move, do your best to shop around. Price shopping over the phone or the internet may be one way to compare space, but it’s not the best. Each office is unique – in location, in amenities, and in the tenant mix.  There’s no substitute for a personal visit.  If you can’t visit each location yourself, send someone from your staff to collect information on each site and have them report back to you. When you visit potential offices, here’s a list of questions you should have ready.

1. Is this a good location?

Is the building easy to find?  Is it close or convenient for you to get to clients or for them to come to you?  Does the area provide things you need such as local restaurants, a post office, or a bank?

2.  Will the floorplan work well for you?

Will the office be adequate for your present and future needs?  An office of 120 square feet (10 x 12) is considered the bare minimum.  A general rule might be 100 square feet per worker, or more specifically 250 for a president, 150 for a manager, and 50 for a clerical worker, although there are different requirements for different types of business.

3.  Is there room for future expansion?

Is there available space for growth?  If you foresee the possibility of adding to your staff, equipment or product lines, consider renting a little extra space now.  It may save you from more expense later if you are forced to move again to expand.

4.  Is there enough parking?

Is there enough available parking for employees and visitors?  Is it convenient?

5.  Will the work environment be comfortable?

Is the lighting adequate?  Are heating and cooling systems adequate?  Is the atmosphere in the office one that you and your employees will feel comfortable and productive in?

6.  Are any extra services provided?

Are cleaning and maintenance services included or available with the office? What about clearing snow, window cleaning, and other types of maintenance. Some office building will add extra fees for these services, often called “common area maintenance” fees, so be sure to find out what will be included with your rent.

7. What phone, internet, and mail services are available?

Are the offices wired for phone, computer network, or will you have to hire that done? What services are available to the area in regards to high-speed internet? And will the mail be delivered directly to your office or will you have to pick it up at a box?

8.  Does the building project the right image?

Do you need a plain or a fancy office?  Do you want to improve your image?  Does the area provide a good “tenant mix” with other businesses that you would want as neighbors?

9.  How well does the building manager do their job?

Does the building appear safe and well-cared for?  Some buildings are managed by the owner, other by management companies. Find out not only who will sign the lease with, but also who you will be talking to or calling during your tenancy if you have any problems. Responsiveness of the building manager or owner can be also be evaluated by general appearances and by talking with the current tenants.

10.  What is the real price?

To figure the true price of office space, you must consider the base rent, cost of utilities, cleaning, trash, maintenance, and the efficiency of the floor plan. Find out what kind of security deposit is required by the landlord. If you have to pay for your own utilities, will a deposit be required to activate your account?

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