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Monday, August 3, 2015

From basement to skyscraper: Clever tips for finding a new HQ

Moving a business is not like moving a house, you don’t get to have the pleasure of sorting through old yearbooks or the joy of setting up your new living room-- commercial real estate comes with a whole new set of rules, tax codes and protocols. However, finding the perfect place to build your empire can also help take your business goals and ambitions to the next level.

1. How to order the perfect brick and mortar

When it’s time to move from your garage or basement into a commercial or office space, or it’s time to upgrade, one of the first issues that springs up is whether to lease or purchase a new space. David Creed, entrepreneur and contributor to Business News Daily notes that there are pros and cons to both, and the key to finding what’s right for you requires an analysis of both your immediate needs and trajectory, but mostly a thorough analysis of the financial pros and cons-- and the headaches that can come along with being your own landlord. Creed suggests that businesses in the market ask themselves the following questions to determine whether buying or leasing is right for you.
  • Do you have the time and temperament to be a better landlord than your current landlord?
  • Does your product or service require specialized equipment or spacial needs that are difficult to accommodate and move?
  • Could your monthly payment be better spent as an investment, what will the market look like in 5-10-15 years?

2. Look to the past, present and future with more than profits in mind

Dollar signs aren’t the only measure of a businesses success, and the commercial space it resides in reflects a lot about the company culture, atmosphere and even trustworthiness and efficiency. Lisa Girard writes for Entrepreneur that, while it’s common sense to want a space that will accommodate growth, we don’t have a crystal ball that will forecast how much a business will grow, but we can negotiate the terms of a lease in case a business fizzles or flourishes within that time. Girard also notes that, in the excitement of finding a “cool” or “affordable” office space, many employers fail to factor in commuting convenience for employees or clients.

A morning trip in a deadlocked traffic jam can be enough to dissuade a recruit or client from making the trek. It’s also imperative to find a space that shows your brand’s identity. Often aspiring businesses break the bank on lavish surroundings, only to scare clients away by giving them the impression they’re paying for the marble floors, not your services. However, one of the most important and overlooked aspects when searching for the perfect place is ADA and EPA compliance. 

There can be a hefty fine if a building is missing the right elevators, ramps and bathroom facilities. Furthermore, many buildings built prior to the 1990s still contain hazardous asbestos-- which could slaughter a small business with a simple lawsuit. Furthermore, buildings built in the 1960’s and before may still contain lead paint. Although it is illegal for a landlord to hide these facts, many of them often do, and unsuspecting business owners learn the hard way to search for the fine print before signing.

Image: Royalty free/licensed to author via Shutterstock, Copyright: xtock