For most businesses or startups, leasing your first office always appears to be one of the most challenging tasks. Not only it’s an critical task, it’s also an financially straining and even an frustrating one. Let us help you with drawing up a list of what you should look at, so that it can help you to solve most of your headaches going forward.
1. Is an physical office really essential ? Decide if you really need one.
To a lot of business owners, they may think that a good physical office space is a must to commence business and operations. However in today’s environment, through technology and some creativity , many businesses have seek viable alternatives like co-working, serviced offices or even home offices.
2. Choose a location
Location is always the top most factor when considering a real estate decision. Locating your team near or easily accessible to them is one of the most important criteria when selecting a office location.
Certain kind of businesses may require to operate in a particular district of a city , probably due to the zoning requirements the city authorities may have laid down or due to business and traditional cultural reasons. Its a established fact that all banks and financial institutions have to be located in every city CBD. Start up businesses may need to be located in certain buildings or districts due to special incentive rental schemes given by the government for aiding startups’ growth. A very good example is the MSC scheme in Malaysia.
3. Business Address
For certain kind of businesses, the business address reflects everything that the business has to offer. An prestigious office address may help to attract the kind of clients or businesses that it desire.
Transport links, supermarkets, cafes, banks. hotels are considered necessary for the modern office and your team. It spells extra convenience as well as to create a more balanced and holistic working environment. It is common knowledge that commercial buildings developers have began building lifestyle components line, a gym and pool within the office buildings.
5. Monthly rental budget
Perhaps the top most important consideration of your office search. Do you have a realistic budget for a office space for your team ? Are you aware of the market price of the city you are setting up an office? Therefore, Its always much preferred to speak to a professional office consultant, than to entrust to a automated online marketplace.
6. Extra expenses- Utilities , Internet , Telephone- Inclusive of one bill- Are you required to pay all these? Or is it under the responsibility of the office landlord or operator? If its covered , make sure that it’s well documented in your office lease agreement.
7. Lease agreement- Length of lease/ early termination
Take a good look at the agreement. Its something that most people will overlook when signing up a premise. Some companies will have their own legal department to assist them in going through all these , while some can always seek their own office space consultants to help.
In today’s fast paced world of business, expect businesses and headcount to scale up fast or even dwindle. Ensure that the lease agreements had enough flexibility for such scenarios.
Another important factor pertaining the lease agreement is , is there any provision for early termination should things do not turn out well? If there are penalties or legal liabilities , you should be made well informed of.
8. Repairs- Under whose’s responsibility should it be if something is damaged or malfunctioning within the office premises . Always make sure that its documented properly in your lease agreement. Make provisions for costs that you need to come out with for unexpected repairs
9. Safe & secure premises- Is the building or office in a safe and secure location? Its better to to lease an office of tight security if you have products or documents of high value or commercially sensitive information, so that security will not be easily compromised.
10. Insurance- Ensure that insurance is readily available and check under whose costs, should the office premises and your properties within the office are damaged or lost due to events beyond your control , i.e fire, floods. Again confirm such clauses are properly documented in the lease agreement too.
11. Choose a space with size that your team really needs.
This is one of the most important and also challenging factors in every checklist. Common mistakes include selecting an office that’s too small to accommodate your headcount and operations. However in most times, we have seen most businesses selecting space that were deemed too huge for their actual needs, therefore resources and money were wasted in the process. This however happens to most businesses leasing conventional office space.
12. Room and flexibility for growth
If you lease an office with a certain size, do always have provision for growth. Always discuss with your Landlord or premises operator on the available options for growth should you business scale up accordingly to your goals sort even faster than that.
13. Layout of your office
Depending on the nature of your business , you will need to arrange the layout of your office space. A lot of startups favour the round table seating layout as it can accommodate the maximum number of persons within a office suite. Some businesses may require a few managers’ cabins within an office.
Parking is always considered one of the most precious things to have in a office building. Generally in a first tier business city, car parking costs are very pricey. If there’s a need to drive to work, always take into account of the monthly season parking. Some office operators have also managed to include the season parking into the month rental bill for easy accounting for the tenants.
Does your business require a lot of storage space? Is it an worthwhile option to store your stuff inside your office? Some businesses have opted to place their huge and bulky stuff in alternative storage space. It does not make much logical and financial sense to store plenty of stuff inside the office. If it’s a must to store your stuff inside your office , always ensure that storage space are provided for , whether on a permanent or ad hoc basis.
How essential is a professional image for your business? It’s common knowledge that one needs to pay a premium to be located in a office or district that projects a professional image that you need to have for your kind of business. To some businesses, its mandatory, especially if you are in the financial services industry.
17. Customisation of your space
How much customisation does your landlord or office operator allows you to do in your office? Do you need to pay huge amount of money to get them reinstated to the original condition when you return the space upon expiry of your office lease? It’s always highly recommended to avoid huge customisation works , especially in short term leases, to avoid hefty reinstatement costs.
We are always readily available to speak and discuss with you on any or all of the above when you need to lease an office space. With multiple locations across all cities in Asia Pacific, we are ready to lend you our local support and professional consultation , absolutely free with zero obligations.
Contact us today for a no frills and friendly discussion !