Have you ever gone out to eat at a restaurant and been surprised when the bill included a gratuity? Frustrating isn’t it? It’s not that you weren’t going to tip, it’s just that being forced to tip a specific amount makes you feel powerless. Shouldn’t you get to decide how much money you spend?

A lot of office rentals do the same thing, but instead of tacking 18% onto your $40 bill, they might add hundreds of dollars to your monthly rent. We’ve written about hidden fees before, but we still hear stories of people being ambushed by them. Here’s how to spot those hidden fees, and other nasty surprises, before they cost you.


Ask to see the specific office you’ll be renting

Some places will show you a “model office.” It’s designed to look state of the art and inviting. It has big windows, plenty of wall space, and easy access to the kitchenette and the bathroom. But after you sign the lease you find out your actual office has no windows, has a ventilation shaft running through it and is so far from the bathroom you wonder if there are any potted plants handy. Meanwhile, that model office is still available, for an up-charge.


Find out about non-optional expenses

Some office rental companies provide a receptionist but tack on an extra fee for her services. They’ll demand that you pay for the right to use their conference room scheduling software even though you have no intention of ever using a conference room. The list goes on.

Paying for services you don’t use isn’t just annoying, it’s a waste of money. Find out if there are any expenses above and beyond the cost of rent that you’re not allowed to opt out of.


Make a list of what’s included

Do you have to pay extra for parking? For coffee? For furniture rental? These aren’t luxuries. You need them to run your business. Find out whether it’s going to cost you more than your rent to access these essentials.

Ask about high-speed internet too. Some places still charge a premium for what should be a basic part of your utility package.


Talk to someone who’s been there

Before you sign a lease with any office rental company, talk to current and previous tenants. Ask them about hidden fees and any charges that surprised them after they signed their lease. You  can also read reviews online. Entering a rental agreement with your eyes wide open means you’ll be able to spot hidden fees.

And doing business with a reputable company means there won’t be any hidden fees to spot. At College Park Executive Suites we disclose the full cost of your rental up-front. But don’t take our word for it. Ask our tenants.