From a one-(wo)man show to a small business owner, business growth is likely among the list of main objectives. Signs of growth may be inclusive of increased sales and revenue, demand for products or services, and the need to hire employees.
Another indicator of growth is the need to lease a small office space, which can be quite a daunting task.
In comparison to other rental experiences, leasing office space can be complex and stressful on various levels. There are overhead costs and other expenses, lease negotiations, putting forth the effort to search and find office space, planning for future growth, and the list doesn’t stop there.
Keeping this in mind, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and companies looking for office space must be patient, and take the time to research and plan before signing on the dotted line.
Finding the right balance between affordability, location, accessibility, and amenities is crucial. Why? Once everything is said and done, your business will have to live at that location for the life of the lease, so do your due diligence.
The excitement surrounding the search to find office space is understandable, but don’t let that blind you into prematurely signing the wrong lease. Empower yourself with as much information and as many details as possible. The more prepared you are the more leverage you will have as you begin looking for small office space.
Below are some of the major considerations that go into finding a location to meet your business needs.
Find a Small Office Space
- Ask yourself, “Do I need an office space?”
Assess the requirements of your business, and the needs of your team and clients. This includes evaluating the amount of space needed to accommodate a specific number of team members, office equipment, and possibly housing your own technology.
Also, think about the type of office model your business operations require – a traditional office setting, a co-working space, or a fully serviced office suite. To gain more insight before making a decision, it may be helpful to find similar businesses and discuss what swayed their choice in office model.
Lastly, nearby amenities, travel, and commuting conveniences, for both employees and clients, should also be factored in.
- Budget concerns
Thinking beyond your monthly rent is paramount, as there are numerous influences that will affect your budget.
Aside from examining current expenses, it’s a good idea to get the price per sq. ft. for office space in your geographical location and calculate your estimated monthly rent.
Additionally, account for costs such as, office furniture and supplies, office infrastructure (i.e. hardware/software, security, phone, internet), moving expenses, insurances, maintenance, and various utilities.
- Your growth trajectory
Think ahead – what does the future hold for your business? Are you looking to expand within a specified period of time? Does your determined square footage include expansion or will you require less space in the future?
- How to find office space for small businesses
Whether using traditional methods or technology to your advantage, here are some of the common ways to search for office space:
- Word of mouth
- Local and/or community newspapers, mailers, and guides
- Take notice of ‘for lease’ signs on buildings in your areas of interest
- Use online resources like, Craigslist, traditional real estate sites (i.e. Remax, Long & Foster), real estate portals (i.e. Loopnet.com, Officespace.com), local community forums, and of course, Google
- Enlist a reputable and trusted commercial real estate agent like Thomas Mensendiek, who has a vested interest in the reputation of his company, which ensures the delivery of quality, personal service
- Narrow down, view, and choose
Gather all of your research and/or the information from your agent, create a list of your top 5-8 locations, and begin outreach and scheduling tours. Other tips include:
- Create a list of questions for the landlord
- Take notes and photos during each walk-thru for later reference
- Take notice of the office space itself, common areas, and amenities
- Evaluate the surrounding area – nearby storefronts, restaurants/cafes, financial institutions, parks, available street parking and garages, etc
- Be aware of your competitors sharing the same building
- If possible, visit the locations of interest multiple times, at the beginning and end of the workday
- Inquire with other tenants about their experience in the building and their relationship with the property manager or landlord
Once a location has been chosen and before you negotiate lease terms, organize your business financials. Where possible, locate 2-3 years of tax returns, bank statements, a list assets and liabilities, P/L statements, balance sheets, as well as references.
To find office space is fairly easy. The challenge starts with determining the specifics, and ends when all documents have been signed and you’re moving in.
In closing, this guide is designed to make you aware of things to consider when scouting for office space. Everyone’s situation is different, thus, everyone’s process will be different.
If you have any questions about San Francisco offices, landlord services, or are in the market for a small business office space, feel free to reach out to Thomas Mensendiek – your go-to San Francisco commercial real estate rental expert!