Before you jump in the car and start driving around town looking for your next office location, you should have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. Putting together a game plan takes some time and effort, but it will pay off in the long run. That’s because while many business mistakes can be corrected, choosing the wrong space for your business can be an expensive mistake that’s particularly difficult to fix.
Top things to consider when scouting for an office location
Here’s a list of the top seven factors to consider when choosing your next office location:
#1 Your client demographics
The office location you choose isn’t just about your needs. Where you decide to reside should also take into consideration the market segment your clients come from.
If your client base is made up of millennials, mixed-use office space in the central business district might be a good choice. On the other hand, a suburban space with plenty of parking may be more suitable if your customers are baby boomers or gen-Xers with kids.
#2 Easily accessible
Maybe you’ve found an office space that doesn’t break the budget. The only problems are parking is tight, mass transit isn’t anywhere to be found, there’s no foot traffic, and it takes forever to get to. The harder it is for clients and staff to get to your office location, the tougher it will be to attract new business and retain your employees.
#3 Total cost of renting
The true cost of renting office space can vary widely from one location to the next. In addition to the base rent, taxes and zoning rules and regulations can make a seemingly affordable location unexpectedly expensive. Also, don’t forget to investigate potential economic incentives the local government offers to help offset your costs.
#4 Safety and security
Bright exterior lighting, direct access to the building from the underground parking garage, a reception area staffed 24/7, or keycard access are all great safety features. However, take some time to investigate a little bit more before signing a lease. Research local crime data by going online or giving the local police precinct a call, and speak with other business owners in the area to learn more about break-ins and vandalism.
Competition can be bad, but sometimes it can also help your business grow. For example, if your business is social media marketing and there are three other firms that do the exact same thing in your office building, odds are you’ll lose some existing clients and staff to a competitor.
On the other hand, if a neighboring business compliments what you do, it’ll help your firm grow and prosper. That’s why car dealers are usually located side-by-side. They all sell cars, but the make and model of the ride are completely different.
#6 Amenities and infrastructure
Nearby amenities like great restaurants and clubs can be important if you frequently wine-and-dine your clients. Onsite daycare can also be important if you or your staff bring their kids to the office.
Infrastructure needs for your new office location include factors like floorplan layout and the environment the space provides. Some businesses want an open plan, while others need private offices for confidential client work. Other key infrastructure features include phone and internet, mail and delivery services, and kitchens and bathrooms.
#7 Your business image
It helps to think of your office space as a marketing tool. Does the location match the business image that you’re trying to convey?
Look at your new office location from the eyes of your clients and staff. If you’re in the high tech business, a warehouse that’s been rehabbed into loft office space could be the perfect match. However, if you’re targeting white-collar clients, a traditional office building or downtown coworking space might be the better choice.
Factors that are often overlooked when choosing an office location
Now that you’ve found an office space that checks all of the above boxes, take time out for a reality check. Here are a few more factors to think about when choosing the right location for your office that many tenants – and even their leasing brokers – forget to investigate:
- Extra meeting room space: because sometimes it’s better to have a few smaller conference rooms than a single big one;
- Speak with other tenants: learn if the landlord or property manager is responsive or impossible to get a hold of once the lease is signed;
- Flexible options: as your business expands with freelancers or staff, determine the needs of temporary space when they’re not on the road;
- Parking isn’t just for cars: employees who bike to work need a place to store their gear;
- Hidden move-out costs: returning the office space to its original condition can inconvenience a new business that is trying to expand.
Choosing an office location – key takeaways
There are a lot of different factors to think about when choosing the right location for your next office space. Some are obvious, and some aspects might not come to mind.
- Look for a location that’s easy for your clients and staff to get to;
- Think about the image your new office location projects to your target market;
- Taxes, rules, and regulations can add extra costs to renting a space;
- Business-friendly incentives can make office space more affordable;
- Competition can be complimentary and help your business grow.