When looking for commercial office, retail or warehouse space for your business, there are a number of issues you need to consider. This checklist will help you determine the pros and cons of each space, and allow you to compare each property you view in terms of its relative strengths and weaknesses.
Score each property on a scale of 1 to 10 for each question below. This will make it easier to determine which facilities more closely match with your company’s requirements. No premises will be perfect right off the bat, but your leasehold improvements can transform the space to suit your needs. However, certain things are out of your control, such as location, square footage, available parking, proximity to services, etc., and these are things that you need to carefully consider in determining which space will have the best fit for your business.
- Is the premises easily accessible from major thoroughfares?
- Is the area properly zoned for your business?
- Is the building located in an area with a high enough concentration of your target markets?
- Is the building located in a suitable neighborhood, i.e. low crime rate, clean, well lit? (If the premises you’re looking for is a warehouse space, the area is likely to be abandoned at night, meaning security will be a major concern.)
- Are the other businesses in the area likely to attract customers who will also patronize your business?
- Is the facility close to any of your major competitors? If yes, will your presence oversaturate the local market? Can you still be competitive?
- If walk-in business constitutes a high percentage of sales, is it easy for potential walk-in customers to see and gain entry to your premises? Does it have wheelchair access?
- Do your suppliers and delivery personnel have easy access to the premises?
- Is there adequate parking for your customers and staff?
- Will you need approval from any government or municipal authorities to operate your business from this location?
- Is there enough square footage to comfortably accommodate your business?
- Does the premises allow for future expansion?
- Does the layout meet your requirements? If not, can it be altered?
- Are you allowed to make leasehold improvements?
- How extensive will the leasehold improvements need to be to make the space work for your business?
- Does the facility reflect the proper image for your business and your client base?
- Does the building need repairs?
- Does the building show any signs of roof leaks, mold, rot or termites? Is it structurally sound?
- Is the premises secure? Can you install your own security system?
- Will you need to make alterations to the electrical and/or plumbing for the premises?
- Is there sufficient lighting?
- Is there adequate ventilation, heating and air conditioning? (If possible, discuss this with the current tenant and with other tenants in the building to see how efficient the HVAC is in keeping their premises comfortable.)
- What sort of signage will you be allowed to use?
When you have answers to all of the foregoing questions, you should have all the information you need to compare the properties you’ve looked at and decide which one is most suitable. Once that decision is made, it’s time to negotiate the lease agreement.