If you’re looking to lease office space, either temporarily or for a more extended stay, a big question to consider is whether or not to rent a space that comes fully furnished. For a temporary space, most lessees tend to rent a space that is furnished, removing the need to find and buy all new desks, tables, chairs, and equipment that, in the end, won’t be used for very long anyway. And conversely, if you’re looking for a longer term lease, most tenants choose to furnish their own space or have the furnishing already available to move. But while the choice might seem obvious in either situation, it can sometimes save money in the long-term to do the opposite of what you might think.
For more temporary lessees, who usually need smaller space, buying a small amount of new or used furniture for cheap can greatly reduce the monthly price of rent for a space. While it might be easier to move in and begin working on pre-provided furnishing, it is often necessary to buy supplemental furniture and supplies that isn’t already provided. Why not purchase a set of furniture from the get-go, rather than pay monthly for furnishings that don’t fit your needs?
For longer term leases, which usually cover a larger space, it can be a huge hassle to move furniture into a building. Larger spaces often necessitate a good amount of furniture, and while a company moving spaces might already possess an adequate amount of desks and chairs and electronics, the process of moving them is quite costly and poses a risk of damage to the building. If an option for pre-provided furniture is available, it might be worth evaluating the cost and comparative risk. If the space is large enough, and the cost-per-month of a furnished plan is cheap and includes upgrades or maintenance, it may be the smarter option.
It is common to sublet an apartment or condo for a while if you’ve got a vacation abroad or an extended business trip in the near future. You don’t want to give up your lease, but you also don’t want to pour money into a space you won’t be living in for an extended amount of time. Why not put it to good use and let someone else stay while you’re away? Well, it’s probably more uncommon, but could the same apply to office or warehouse space?
Say you only need a warehouse part of the year, when a big shipment comes in. Your stock of product dwindles as time goes on and on, opening up more and more space that you’re paying for but no longer using. Wouldn’t it make sense to sublease that increasingly unused space?
If you’re going on a business trip for a month or two, and staying away from the office space you lease, wouldn’t it make sense to sublease it out to someone else who could put it to good use (and receive your mail)?
When you signed your lease, your property management company likely included a stipulation about whether subletting is possible and how it can be done. If you’re in a predicament where you don’t want to let go of your lease but you won’t be using your space for a while, read the fine print! Sometimes it’s permissible to manage a sublease yourself and find a subletter willing to take over temporarily. In other situations you’ll have to put in a request and discuss it with your property manager, who may have a pool of applicants looking for temporary space. But know that while it may seem like a chore, a properly organized sublease could save you from the sunken cost of rent while you’re away.
If you’re looking for an office or retail space to lease, you’re going to want the best you can find. You know the one—great location, right in a bustling commercial area; supportive property management company and landlord; and just the right size. But securing that space? Easier said than done. It’s like applying for school and jobs all over again—the dreaded lease application, the meeting with a property manager, and all the stressful steps you have to take to prove you can not only pay the rent but manage the space well. What are property managers really looking for in a good tenant, and how can you prove you’re worth renting to?
Provide references. Hopefully you’ve got a good history of leasing in the past—if so, make sure to extend previous landlords or property managers as references who can vouch for your responsibility as a tenant.
Come prepared with questions and concerns. If you can show a property management company that you care about the quality of their space just as much they do, you’ll seem all the more perfect as a lessee.
Dress to impress. If you’re going in for a tour of a space or to meet with property managers, make sure to dress professionally and act professionally as well.
Prove your financial security. It’s obvious, but make sure you have all of the documentation ready to prove you can actually pay for the space. You might be surprised at the number of potential tenants who don’t come prepared.
Be enthused. When you’re finding a space to run your business out of, it’s important to be positive and enthusiastic. You should be excited at the prospect of a new step in your career and your business—let it show with a smile. A pleasant and engaging personality goes a long way.
When you first move into a space, it should be one of your top priorities to make sure people on-site will be safe in the event of an emergency. If a fire were to break out, do you have all of the necessary equipment and planning in place to pull off a smooth evacuation? You might be surprised to know that a lot of small businesses are not prepared. Preparation, it seems, is much more than having a fire extinguisher handy.
In addition to readily available fire extinguishers, it is very important to have printed, clearly outlined evacuation plans in places where workers and individuals inside the building can access them. A plan should include procedures for accounting for all employees and have specific instructions in place for assisting employees or individuals with disabilities who may require help in the event of an emergency. Train for these situations—delegate certain roles to employees so that if the time comes and there is an emergency, everyone is aware of the steps they must take to ensure safety for each other. Make sure there are clearly designated fire exits. Smoke detectors and fire alarms are also very important for an office, especially one that may have multiple closed-off spaces. Speak to your property manager, they likely have some if not all of these materials available for the building.
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has an on-site consultation service that can help assess what more your small business can do to plan for and prevent fires and other hazards at the workplace. To find out how you can better ready yourself for emergencies, and lower injuries and illness rates, you can find information about OSHA’s free consultation service here.