Though online retail is certainly on the rise, there is no denying that many businesses depend on a brick and mortar location for the vast majority of their income. As a result, almost every business owner will sign a commercial lease at some point as they open a physical office or expand to a new location to try to grow their company. However, signing a lease is a big investment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Be sure to consider the following factors before you sign:
1. Location Research
A particular location may seem like a good selection at first glance, but it is important to remember that signing a lease will affect the trajectory of your business for many years to come. Carefully consider all aspects related to the location. Be mindful of the fact that the needs for private offices are different than stores that receive customers on a daily basis.
Proximity to major roadways, local crime rates, and even the appearance of the building itself will have a direct impact on your daily business activities, including how others perceive your brand. A lower lease rate isn’t going to be worth it if a bad neighborhood drives away customers.
2. Understand the Contract
There is much more that goes into a commercial lease than the monthly property rental fee. Landlords will often tack on several additional fees, such as landscaping and janitorial services, security, and more. These charges are typically lumped under “taxes, maintenance and insurance.” It is important that you understand what else you might be paying for.
Other factors can also affect your business, such as the landlord’s ability to change lease terms, and whether you get first right of refusal for certain issues. Be mindful of whether you will be responsible for utility payments yourself, or if the landlord accounts for this in your lease rate.
3. Negotiations Matter
If the initial terms presented in a commercial lease agreement aren’t to your liking, it is important to remember that these items are always negotiable. Work with a lawyer who specializes in commercial leases so you can fully understand everything that is in your contract and negotiate more favorable terms. Don’t be afraid to walk away — there are always other properties that can meet your needs with better lease conditions.
By doing your homework in advance, you can ensure that you find the right location for your business and don’t suffer from buyer’s remorse later on. With the right location — and a favorable lease agreement — you will be better positioned to grow your brand while keeping your finances in order.