Your business has outgrown your home office, and you’re looking for your first office space, but you might not know where to start. There are several factors to consider when finding that space to either expand or start your business. It’s easy to overlook some of the smaller things, so we’ve created the checklist below to ensure you consider all the elements that matter.
The cost of office space varies, depending upon your location and if you’re in a major metropolitan area or a smaller town. While there are benefits to locating your office space in a big city, such as access to more foot traffic, there are also drawbacks due to the cost of renting space and additional considerations such as where to park.
For example, the average cost of office space in Austin, Texas, is $486 per square foot, while office space in Columbus, Ohio, runs about $86 per square foot. Locating your space in the suburbs of a big city, as opposed to the heart of the downtown business district, may save you thousands of dollars a year.
2. Type of Space
Take the time to study the kind of space you’ll need to meet the needs of your business. For example, if your business is retail, you’ll want a location with foot traffic and parking for customers. On the other hand, if you run a wholesale shipping business, your needs are for storage space more so than parking space for customers.
If you specialize in both retail and shipping operations, consider locating these two different systems in different locations. The cost of warehouse space tends to be much lower, so you can reduce costs by renting warehouse space for shipping and storage and a smaller retail location.
Consider the area where the office space is. Is it a neighborhood whose vibe matches the purpose of your company? If you run a green-conscious company, an up-and-coming neighborhood filled with young millennials might be a great match.
In addition to the neighborhood itself, consider the inside elements of the space. There are many benefits to a modern office space, including clean lines and the ability to invest in the latest technology. The space may also be well-suited to an open concept if it is a newer building.
Study the terms of your lease very carefully. If this first office space isn’t working for you, you don’t want to be tied into that space for 24 months. When you’re first starting out, seek the best terms possible and ask plenty of questions. It’s a good idea to have a business attorney or a real estate agent on your team, as they may spot any issues with the contract.
Make sure the contract spells out the terms of rent clearly, and that rates don’t increase for the term of the agreement. What is and isn’t included? Does the landlord pay the water bill, for example? Who is responsible for trash pickup? A lot will depend upon whether you need warehouse space or are in a retail mall or strip mall.
5. Hours of Operation
If you decide to take out space in a co-working office, their hours of operation will impact your hours of operation. Look at when they are open and other factors, such as if you need to book space ahead or can use the space any time you desire. Different co-office spaces use different rules.
Will there be a receptionist available for your use, or will you need to hire one? Perhaps you need 12 to 14 hours a day to really get your startup off the ground, or maybe you only need a few hours a day and don’t want to pay for around-the-clock access to office space. Take the time to figure out which co-working space best fits your needs and budget.
Your First Office Space
It’s an exciting time when your business is ready for its first office space. Applying these factors to the decision-making process ensures the space will suit your needs and work with you as your business grows.