If you have decided to go into business, and are looking for a place to rent, you need to be aware of how different it will be from leasing a residential property. It is best to work with a real estate agent who works exclusively with commercial property leasing. While looking at the different available spaces, be sure to ask the following questions about the lease.
Rent and Terms
Commercial rent is usually determined by the square footage you will be using. They are stated as an amount per square foot per year. In other words, if you are renting a place with 1,000 square feet, and the rent is $15 per square foot, you will pay $15,000 per year. That works out to $1,250 per month. These leases are also generally in place for many years. Since you are new in business, you do not want to sign something that will have you paying for many years. Ask if you can get the lease for two years to start with the ability to renew for an additional five years or more. This way, you will have enough time to get your business up and running but not be bound to something if your business does not take off or you need to move to a bigger place.
Common Area Maintenance Fees
Unless you are renting a free-standing building and will be the only business in the place, there will be common areas. This can include the parking lot, walkways, hallways, and outside areas. If there is a large signpost out front that all the businesses use, that is included in common areas too. You need to know who is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of these areas. Generally, the owner of the property pays contractors to do the upkeep and then splits the bills between all the businesses in the place. Make sure you understand how much these fees will add to your monthly rent.
Ideally, you will want to rent a space in a place that has no other business like yours. If you are an accountant, make sure the lease states that no other accountants can rent in your building. If you are opening a restaurant, make sure any other food places in the building are not offering the same types of foods you will be making.
When looking at different places to rent, you need to consider how much it is going to cost you to remodel or get the place ready for your business. While painting and adding some carpet for your accounting office will not be too expensive, if you are going to be opening a restaurant, be sure you know how much work it will take for the space to be compliant with any health and/or building codes.
Owning a business can be very rewarding. However, you need to have enough customers to pay all the bills and show a profit. Don't let your business suffer because of the place you choose to place it. Rent, utilities, and the location should all play a part in your decision.