Selecting a new office space is more complicated than it seems. It’s not just about finding an office with the right price point and square footage. You also need to consider image, convenience, amenities, unexpected costs, and potential growth.
To set your business up for success, ask yourself these questions before deciding on an office space.
What image does this office space give our business?
Clients and partner businesses will make judgements about your company based on your office space. When you rent an office, consider the image that the space portrays.
A space in a hip downtown high-rise might be perfect for a luxury boutique or hipster tech company, but what if you’re a government contractor or a financial services firm setting up a branch office?
The downtown office space might present the wrong image to your clients. It might make them question your price point. Are they paying for your lavish new office with inflated pricing? Vendors might think they can charge you higher prices because you can clearly afford to pay.
Fun and trendy is, well, fun, but if your business is professional and service oriented, you’re better off choosing a location that reflects that.
Is the office location convenient for clients and staff?
Location is about more than the image your business portrays. It’s also about convenience for you, your staff, and your customers.
If you’re a retail business expecting a lot of foot traffic, a location in the center of a busy downtown area is probably a good choice. If you’re a government contractor, service-based business, or professional services provider, crowded parking lots and heavy traffic can frustrate clients and employees alike.
In that case, you’re better of choosing an office space with easy access to the highway and a large, easily accessible parking area.
Remember that the people who will spend the most time in your offices are your employees. Make the commute more convenient for them and you’ll have happier employees. Happy employees make for satisfied clients, and satisfied clients make for good business.
Does this office space have the Amenities I need?
It might seem trivial to talk about amenities when you’re deciding on an office space, but these perks and services can provide big value for your business and save you money over time.
Amenities to look for:
• Free parking
• Ability to bring in your own phone/internet provider
• Administrative services
• Meeting rooms
• Tea and coffee service
• Janitorial and maintenance services
• No extra fees for electricity/water/heating and cooling
• Staffed reception area
• Unlimited after-hours access
Choosing an office space that includes vital amenities can simplify day-to-day operations so your business runs more smoothly, make employees happier so they stay with you longer, and present a professional image to customers so they become loyal clients.
Are there unexpected costs hiding in the rental agreement?
Growth costs money. When you move into a new office you’ll need to have enough money to cover moving costs, deposits, and, of course, pay the rent. It can be an expensive proposition.
Pay attention to possible hidden fees. To minimize the risk of having to pay more than you bargained for, ask these questions before you sign a lease:
• Are utilities included or will they vary month to month?
• Are there set-up fees for internet/telephone?
• Is my rental rate locked in for the life of my lease?
• Will I pay extra for coffee/tea service?
• Are there maintenance fees?
• Do I or my employees need to pay to park?
These hidden costs can add up quickly, costing you hundreds of dollars more than you budgeted. Don’t be caught off-guard. Choose a rental option that offers you transparent pricing and no hidden fees.
Is there room to scale your business?
Most likely, the reason you need an office space is because your business is growing or expanding. Congratulations. Growth means you’re doing something right. But it also creates challenges for choosing an office space.
You want to select an office that works for your business as it is now, but leaves you room to grow if your business expands. Getting locked into a multi-year lease can remove that flexibility. So look for an office space that offers year, six-month, or even month to month leases.
This will allow you to respond to the changing needs of your business. Sending half your staff overseas for three months to work on a consulting project? Downsize your office footprint until they get back. Have a big project that requires extra space? Rent an extra office month-to-month.