The Ups and Downs of Searching for Office Space, Tips from One of Houston's Most Experienced Brokerage Firms

With many more entrepreneurs entering the world of small business and innovators building new startups, the enterprise world is changing. We see a variety of new things in modern business.

• There's more racial and international cultural diversity.

• More young people are holding higher positions and creating brands than ever before.

• Partial telecommuting is possible for many jobs.

• Many offices have adapted full-time casual dress codes; and

• Many office policies regarding work and collaboration have become more free-form.

Because of this, not every business needs a traditional office. Some people do run successful businesses relying mainly on shared office space and virtual communication to connect employees and management.

However, most growing companies will eventually need to have more than just a virtual, part-time office space.

It's a wonderful feeling to realize your business has reached that level. It's an exciting milestone. However, renting an office is different from renting residential property. Therefore, it's important to make sure to keep certain factors in mind while you're shopping around; before you make your final decision.

Choose a location:

• That's close to public and/or taxi transportation if available,

• That's easy for your staff to commute to,

• That's accessible to your current and desired clients,

• That's near highways and exits if possible,

• That's easy for vendors that drive trucks to gain access to for deliveries, (featuring ramps and parking lots that aren't jam-packed all the time); and

• That has bike storage and ample parking for staff and visitors,

Find out early on what your lease covers. Factor rent and any unpaid utilities into your budget. Some properties ask you to pay additional fees for housekeeping, grounds keeping, repairs and other services. For example, in colder states, many commercial tenants must find out if snow and ice removal is included in their rent.

Some office buildings come with phone, cable TV and business web included in the rent. Some don't. Calculate it all as one lump sum beforehand to make sure you stay in budget. Understand, 6 months after move in, you will be glad you did.

Stick to your budget. When you're investing in your business, it's easy to decide to spend too much on office space. You want everything to be just right. However, it's best to:

• Decide what your business needs in an office before you start your search and stick to that, and

• Try to have 2-3 decision makers on board, so there's more than one opinion to counter one person caught up on an unnecessary feature that might send you over-budget

If you're not an expert at reading contracts and documents, it's okay to have a lawyer review your lease. This is the safest choice. Commercial leases sometimes have serious penalties for early move-outs and breaking other policies you're expected to understand.

Learn the provisions for building security, (i.e. one security guard, several security guards, after hours security, etc). What type of electrical security system is installed in the building? Do you feel that the building is secure enough for your needs?

Make sure your space is scalable. Make sure it has rooms for meetings along with individual cubicles and casual spaces. Many modern companies are finding that creating alternative work-spaces inspires staff and improves comfort; creating engagement and creativity.

Know exactly what you're getting. Office spaces can come completely empty. In some cases, you might even move into what looks like a warehouse; with no paint on the walls, no doors in the doorways and no carpet on the floor. Ask directly about furnishings, finished walls and flooring up front.

When it comes to your lease:

• Understand what you can and can't customize,

• Find out if you have multiple lease length options, and

• Prepare for the worst. Try to have a provision to end your lease early. Business is unpredictable. Clients needs and demands change with popular trends. Most good commercial landlords understand that. However, you typically have to ask for the provision, or you won't get one. There might be penalties and fees or breaking your lease, make sure you understand what all that will entail.

As you can see, shopping for office space isn't easy. For an expanding business, it's confusing and overwhelming when you add it to the other things you have to do every day. At LandPark Commercial, we can help you find the right space for your organization. We are one of the top Houston brokerage firms. We know what's out there and what's available to best meet your needs. Give us a call today!