- Never focus only on the occupancy costs
Although the occupancy costs for office space are important, they should not be the only determinant of decisions on office space. Instead, you should look into other costs such as sales, property tax, unemployment taxes, and parking costs. In Washington, for example, the costs of parking can be higher than those of other states like Virginia and Maryland. Therefore, depending on the size of your business and the potential, consider the costs of office space and compare it with other costs such as parking and taxes.
- Own instead of leasing
The recent surge in the cost of rent and the turmoil in the real estate market may significantly affect the financial standing of your business. Therefore, you should consider owning a building instead of leasing it for a secure long-term benefit. If your organization is well financially, consider the option of purchasing the office space. However, you should first conduct a financial analysis of the two options of purchasing versus leasing. It is not all about buying the entire building. Instead, you may buy some floors if the owners are willing to do so. There is also an option to team up with others and buy a whole structure or a floor to host your offices.
- Consider the operating expenses
Lease arrangements can have hidden costs and provisions that allow the landlord to pass cots to the tenant. Consider things like real estate taxes, insurance charges, and common maintenance costs that the landlord incurs and whether they can be passed back to the tenant. Also, consider costs like utility cost (electricity, water, and electricity), property management fees, and reimbursement for labor.
- Go to where your customers are
Setting up your office where your customers are is one of the most important things you need to consider. Unfortunately, some people skip this criterion. Regardless of the industry you operate in, always consider the proximity of your office to the people you intend to serve. Start by identifying whom your customer is and where the majority of them are located. The location must be accessible to everyone and be in a nice location that is secure for your customers.
- Check the “gross up” clause
Gross up clause is an important area that must be critically looked into when leasing. Grossing up expenses is a method of deriving specific expenses. If the building is not leased, the tenant’s proportionate share of the expenses should accurately reflect the expectation of the parties. For instance, if the building is occupied 50 percent during the base year, the operating expenses will be less than fully occupied. Also, consider the economic impact of things such as repairs and maintenance linked with the parking garage. Consider if the landlord charges a parking fee in addition to the rent and any cost that may be attributed to parking. If this is the case, look for a place that does not charge, as this may increase the cost of running the business.