If you’ve recently started your business, hired new employees or outgrown your current office, it may be time to find a new commercial office lease. While the process for finding a new office space can seem overwhelming or frustrating, we’ve broken down the steps to help you get started.
Decide what type of space you need
You will have to determine what kind of commercial space is required for your business. This will vary based on your industry, company size and client expectations as well as your competitors. There are three primary classifications of commercial office space to help guide your search: Class A, Class B and Class C. The classes are general and used for comparisons within-market, so Class A office space in Dallas will differ from Class A real estate in Manhattan.
Class A Offices
These are the newest, highest quality, and most expensive buildings in your market. The classification considers the construction and available infrastructure, location, and management. If you are in an industry that requires impressing clients with lavish tastes, Class A is likely your only option.
Class B Offices
These are well-maintained buildings that may be a little older than Class A buildings. They will not require additional work in order for your team to be productive and they typically have quality management and tenants, similar to Class A buildings.
Class C Offices
Unlike Class B, these buildings will require work in order to become usable. These buildings are in less desirable areas and often require extensive work just to meet your business needs. These are often targeted as an investment opportunity, to fix up and resell, rather than a short-term productive work space.
In addition to the classes, your business will have its own criteria. What sort of technology will your company employ? Does the building support your infrastructure needs? If you have an aggressive expansion plan, how will that affect your real estate decisions? Write these down. You will want to use these criteria when you are checking out properties so that you can be objective in your decision making.
If your company doesn’t demand an entire building or building floor, you have options to lease private offices, shared space or suites. These flexible office types can give you access to amenities without the full cost of office ownership. Commercial infrastructure (such as technology for virtual meetings), a conference room and collaborative space, and a central location are often included.
Decide on a location
Where will you be located? Is it important to be close to your customers, vendors or partners?
Technology companies working for financial services businesses might find it is best to be located in a financial district where you can woo the corporate officers. For lawyers, it will be more important to be located close to customers in the community you serve. Call centers may want inexpensive real estate outside of the city.
Location can be a motivating factor for both employees and customers. If your target employees are young college graduates, you may lose out on talent if you are located far from the center of entertainment. Similarly, if the chief executives need to leave the city for a meeting with you, your cost-saving efforts could cost you revenue.
Find available space
Use a broker or online search to find the available office space in the location you require. You can find about anything online – demographics of an area, real estate listings, and competitor locations.
Brokers are expected to know these things and more, so they do this work for you. They know the building owners and can build your credibility through their existing relationships.
Have your search criteria written down and stay as close to it as possible during this step. Decide on your must-haves and which features you can compromise on to avoid being wooed by office space that is out of your budget or location.
Create a shortlist of favorite spaces
Determine which of the available spaces meet the criteria that you developed in the first two steps. Schedule tours in your favorite places first. Likely, these will also be others’ favorites, and you don’t want to miss out on a great location because you moved slow.
Take a tour
Schedule and take a tour. As you tour various office spaces, make notes of all the criteria you developed. Does it meet your needs? Pay attention to the building owner or management, transportation options, and nearby businesses. Will they make your life better or worse?
Compare the office spaces you tour based on both objective criteria you prepared, such as price and distance from a major customer, and subjective criteria, such as how well you get along with the building owner and how you like the feel of the place. You and your employees will be spending a lot of time here, so it’s important that you like the space.
Sign a lease
Finally, sign the lease. Because a corporate office lease is usually a major investment for a business, you should protect your business and money by reviewing your lease thoroughly with a lawyer who specializes in commercial real estate.
Signing the lease is only the beginning of a move to a new office space. Now you must get going with all the logistics of the rental – establishing your infrastructure and making the office space appropriate for your employees and clients.
Certainly leasing commercial office space requires major decisions to be made by businesses. As we’ve seen, these decisions span multiple business functions. Human resources should be involved to determine the incentives for the local workforce. Marketing and sales should be involved to determine whether clients will be incentivized or disincentivized. Finance will make sure it makes economic sense, and IT can determine the technology infrastructure requirements. If you are a small business owner, you will have to consider all these factors in your office search.
If you are in the Dallas, Fort Worth, or Austin areas, Executive Workspace understands all of these needs. We are ready to help you find the office that works for your business. Contact us today to find available office space in your area, narrow your office search or tour a property. Download our free guide, 5 Steps to Find Your Perfect Office, for even more information.
Article by Ian McGuire