When your business started out, it was small, your needs were simple, and your budget was strict – so, you worked from home. Now, you have outgrown your current space in every capacity and the time has come to transition into a commercial office space. But what does this mean and how will you make the switch?
Commercial Space and Your Business
Let’s look at location, budget, and the additional logistics to consider when going from the home office Joe to the commercial space pro:
- Be open to different locations. The more spaces you visit, the more likely you are to find commercial office space that will be suited to your needs.
- Consider parking, visibility, and accessibility in your evaluation. Each of these factors helps keep your business “convenient” for your audience and employees.
- Be sure to ask if you can hang a sign on the outside of the space/building – especially if you do not have a main entry storefront.
- Identify if you target audience and potential employees live, work, or frequent the area you plan to set up shop in.
- Know the competitive landscape. Find out if other businesses similar to yours are nearby. Be aware that it is not necessarily bad to have multiple businesses serving up related services, but be certain that you also are not watering down your value either.
- Be aware of safety and zoning regulations. Are the fire alarms, wiring, ventilation, sprinklers, handicap accesses, elevator inspects, and so on all up to date and in code?
- Remember that management is important. You want to find a commercial space with a landlord or management company who not only oversees your lease, but also works with you to clearly understand policies related to snow removal, lawn care, heat, maintenance, etc. A credible and reputable property owner can make the difference in how you experience a commercial rental space.
- Evaluate if a location you like will be consistent with your brand image. Are you a Class A commercial space type business, or a Class B or C? (Not sure what each class means? Check out this blog on Class A, B, and C commercial office space).
- Know how many square feet you will require today (and down the road if you anticipate further growth). Most commercial office space pricing is determined per square foot.
- Unless renting a fully serviced office suite, allocate money for any renovation, decoration, furniture, utility, IT, or moving needs you may incur.
- To keep cost down, consider buying government surplus equipment, found here.
- Be aware of any property (or other) taxes.
- Be prepared if you plan to hire on new employees immediately – know what this will cost and how will you cover it.
- Consider the length of the lease you sign. Starting out often has a lot of uncertainties (growth, downsizing, bankruptcy, relocation, etc.), so it might be wise to negotiate a shorter term lease – perhaps 1 or 2 years – in an effort to understand what you can profit and what you will be able to afford in the future. This option may be more expensive now, but it could be worth avoiding the risk of getting locked into a long-term lease (5-10 years) and learn you cannot afford it.
Additional Logistics to Consider
- Be sure to update all pertinent paperwork related to your business. This includes business licenses, business permits, and Doing Business As name(s).
- Contact your local government to know what is required of you.
- If you will be changing your name, incorporating your business, or registering a new business name, click here to get started.
- To understand your state’s business environment, including electricity costs, unionization, worker’s compensation costs, crime rates, etc., click here.
- Know the terminology associated with the commercial real estate market. Click here for the top 10 commercial real estate terms to know, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Above all, renting commercial office space is a big decision, and many factors play into doing this successfully. The space you rent will become the new hub of your business, so it should foster the environment and budget you are most comfortable with.
For more information on finding commercial retail space available in the Seacoast area, contact Chinburg Properties or check out our Commercial Rental Properties’ page. Chinburg boasts a breadth of unique commercial spaces in a variety of beautiful mills, from space as small as 150 square feet to those well over 10,000 square feet – and we have over 200 vibrant businesses already operating within. Come join us!