5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Commercial Property for Your Growing Business
So your business is ready to grow and you're looking for the perfect commercial property, but where to start?
The initial phase is about asking a lot of questions and sorting through the answers so you us can determine just what your business needs from its new location.
The next step is to find a suitable commercial property space that meets your needs. Get talking with real estate agents or searching on sites such as Commercial Property Guide to find out what is on offer and for how much.
The two key areas of consideration are the property itself and the lease.
5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Office Space
To get you started on your hunt, here are some practical tips and questions to be getting answers to:
1. Pay very careful attention to the commercial lease.
Commercial property leases are very different to your average private house lease and are governed by different laws. All commercial property leases need to be carefully reviewed by professional commercial lease lawyers. While it might be expensive to start this way it is far more expensive to sign a commercial lease without their insights and advice.
Keep in mind it can be cheaper to buy some properties rather than to lease the premises.
2. Location, location, location makes a huge difference.
Choosing the type of location and position for the business will be influenced by a range of factors specific to your business, customers and goals, but hopefully not your ego.
Where does your customer need you to be: CBD, business park, local business? What about your staff? Where will the most suited people for your business travel to for work?
How will customers and staff get to your business? Accessibility is important so what are the public transport facilities and nearby parking restrictions like? What about accessibility for those getting about with wheels - strollers, wheelchairs, walkers?
How close do you need to be to suppliers and how are deliveries made?
3. Planning for growth and knowing your floor space requirements makes the hunt easier.
Any conversation with a commercial property real estate agent will include discussions about the amount of square metres you're looking for.
You need to take into account space for offices, workstations, meeting rooms, storage, data centre, reception, waiting room, kitchen, facilities room for the photocopier, stationery and mail as well as any display space.
When planning for growth allow for at least another 10 to 20 percent. Any additional cost will be offset by lease future termination and relocation costs.
In the mean-time the spare space can pay for itself by being used and paid for by an external consultant who compliments your business who needs to be taking the first step themselves to having professional office space.
Want your meeting room to be more productive for the business? Rent it out for pop up workshops and seminars.
4. Security and safety is important for staff and business.
You need your business premises to be secure for all involved and determining issues such as below can make the world of difference, so look into:
- 24/7 access
- Which level of the building to be on
- Number of exits available
- The amount of safety lighting at night around the building
- parking and location
- Security guards and patrols
- Alarms for the building as well as the office
- Condition of sprinklers and light fixtures
- Location and safety of office bathrooms
- Location and condition of security cameras and length of time footage is kept
5. Making the money work with commercial properties.
Buying or leasing a property is a costly business, it needs to have a respectable return on investment to be viable.
When looking at the finances of the deal you need to have a well thought out budget that takes into account rent and rent reviews, fixture and fit out costs, insurance policies, relocation expenses, bank costs such as guarantees and design costs.
The condition of the property will affect your insurance costs. While run down properties might have cheaper rents they can cost more in the long run with issues around insurance and repairs.
The length of the lease term can influence how much negotiating power you have. Often landlords will allow more flexibility and considerations for long term leases but you need to balance the costs of a long term lease with your business growth needs and have an exit or expansion plan for the location.
Fit outs and fixtures can be very expensive very quickly and it is important to have these costs factored into your budget.
Consider issues such as availability of labour during busy and quiet times, costs of moving plumbing and installation of data centres.
If your lease is winding up in your original location then plan on having your fit out completed at least a week before you actually need to move and have this period as rent free.
Moving is never easy but it can be less painful with preparation.
It is vitally important to be thorough with any commercial property lease and have professional help with it.
It can be cheaper and easier to purchase rather than lease commercial properties so knowing the market and your needs will give you the advantage in this whole process.
Taking away some of the risk and costs of having room to grow can open new opportunities for the business too, not just by looking after the current day cash flow. So think smart and strategically about how to optimize your spare space and with who so you can fully leverage the opportunity of being in a fabulous new office.