You might have started your business in that spare room you had in your home, or might have even converted your whole house into office space. But, whether it is today or tomorrow, it is going to happen sometime when you’ll need to get some kind of proper office space.
Looking for that perfect office space can be one of the challenging situations that any business faces, but the problem can be really tormenting when this search is for a newly sprung startup company. There will be several factors that you will need to consider, from the location to the leasing period, and of course, the factor of affordability, which will decide that perfect office premises.
A wrong decision might not only cost you your customers but may also result in unhappy employees. So, before you jump into the decision-making process right away, take some time to understand some important factors and then take a call.
Is the location right?
This will be one of the first few things that you will need to decide on. Usually, the team is spread out and not everyone comes from the same place, so trying to find a location that might be equidistant for all may not work in reality. However, you can always look for places that have good connectivity in terms of transportation such as bus stops and train or subway stations that will help your employees as well as the customers to commute.
You might also want to check on the area’s reputation because you wouldn’t want your employees and customers to feel unsafe. Also, look out for the amenities that you can avail in the office space and also around it. Check whether there would be sufficient parking space, if there are food places to eat close by and other amenities such as office supplies stores, banks, pharmacy etc., which will help you weigh your options to decide on the location based on your priorities.
Is the building space a good fit?
To save yourself unnecessary hassle, you must check on the condition of the building whether it is satisfactory. How well the building is sustained will tell you how serious the landlord takes maintenance. Talk to the current tenants to understand the quality of work and also how good the customer service is.
You should also check on how secure the building is. Is there any sort of security for the building in terms of guards or CCTV cameras? Are the windows and doors well secure and is there a manned reception?
Other factors pertaining to the building that you may want to check on are is the building has specific open hours and how good is the infrastructure in terms of broadband connection, telephone connection, postal services, and mobile signal? These are some of the questions that you must get answered when you are assessing the building for the office space.
Is the office layout suitable?
The layout is something that often gets overlooked when looking for office space, but it sure is one of the important criteria. For example, if your company often requires brainstorming ideas and the majority of the work depends on collaboration, then an open space plan might be a good choice for you. But if your business is more of a traditional kind like a law firm, or telemarketing then you may want the space divided into separate offices or into spaces for individuals to work independently. The layout must also be conducive to the kind of work you do because otherwise, you might not reap the results that you desire. Other questions that you may want to ponder upon are whether there is enough space and is there any room to expand, how is the floor plan which might not correspond with the area available, and also how are the acoustics like because a space that echoes or the one that brings in the traffic noise might not work so great.
Is the lease agreement right for you?
The problem with startups is that there is no surety about how the business will look down the road in 2-3 years, and hence signing a lease for an office space that is longer than what you need would perhaps not be right for you. Again, at the moment you might have 5 employees and so you might decide on a small space, but what if the number grows to 50 within a year? Hence, don’t get into a lease that you cannot oblige as per your long-term business goals. Explore your options on the terms of flexibility of the lease and the right timeline that will make certain you get the right place. Get your dates aligned, understand who is responsible for what such as if there are any structural issues with the building then who should take care of it, and if you plan to sell your company in the middle of the lease term then what happens then. You must know answers to all these factors of your lease so that you are well prepared for its impact and the actions that you must take.
Is it affordable?
Rather than focusing and calculating the price for space in terms of per person price, look for how much you are willing to spend on a monthly basis. Your budget plays a crucial role in deciding a space that not only suits your pocket but also meets all your requirements. Also, make sure you don’t miss out on any hidden costs such as taxes, office service fees, utilities, furniture and other costs which might seem frugal at the moment but when they add up they can cost you a lot.
While a property might seem affordable to you, it might be difficult to assess whether you are getting it at a good value. Judging a fair market price for a commercial property is often difficult as compared with the residential properties. So, all you need when making the decision is information. Check with your agency or look up online to get a fair idea of how the offer compares with other properties in the same area.
All the above factors are important when deciding on the office space that suits your business’s needs. However, factors such as the price and availability will vary, depending on the location in which you are searching. But, irrespective of that you will need to dedicate at least few months to complete your study of the place before you are all set to move in. So, make sure you have enough time to assess all kinds of alternatives and pick up the best place that you could have for your startup.