Finding the perfect office for your start up is one of the most fun steps of starting a new business. Besides the stress of applying for loans, the endless searching online, and then haggling with real estate agents, once you find your business’ office space it is pretty much smooth sailing from there. You can design it how you want and you can fill it with whatever interesting items might encourage and boost worker productivity. Your first office will be your stepping stone onto bigger and better things. Yet, it is important to know what you are doing before you actually start looking for a space. Here is how to find the best office space for your start up.
First, you have to evaluate how big your business will be in the startup phase. Essentially, this will allow you to determine how many square feet you need to fit all your employees. The golden rule is that you need about 250 square feet per employee. This includes desk space and enough room to comfortably work and do their job properly. So, if you are starting with about 20 employees you will need about 5000 square feet of office space.
After you’ve determined how big of a space you want, your next step is to speak with a real estate agent. Your best bet is to contact a specialized commercial agent who knows the industry inside and out. They will have the inside scoop to all the newest and best office spaces available – usually in the best part of town. Also, before you make a deal with an agent make sure that they accept flat fee deals with property owners, which could save you a lot of money on brokerage fees. For instance, if you are in Texas, look for an agent that advertises “Austin flat fee MLS listing” or “one fee only MLS listing in Houston.”
Next, when you are actually looking at spaces there are a number of things to consider. As a startup, the most important thing to consider is expansion. Chances are that down the line you will need to break down a few walls or join another floor to accommodate new employees. You will also need to look at parking. If your business does grow, can you include another 50 parking spaces? Also, does the new office space come with partitions and furniture included or do you need to purchase all brand new furniture? As a startup it is important to answer all these questions, because your cash flow and bottom line is at stake.
Lastly, try and get the deal of a lifetime. If you have found the perfect space for now and you plan on sticking around for 10 to 20 years, it would be wise to get a lease agreement that extends into the indefinite future. You don’t want to have to deal with constantly renegotiating the lease and paying more money on rent increases every 5 years. Ideally, as a startup you want to find the perfect space and then expand accordingly over the years and as your business grows. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be able to purchase the entire building.