12 Common Office Leasing Mistakes You Should Avoid

Renting office space doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are the most common office renting mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Renting office space is an exciting time for your business, but it’s also one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make. After payroll, it’s likely to be your largest expense. You owe it to yourself to be as educated as possible to avoid a bad deal.

If this is your first time renting office space, you’re bound to make some type of error. That’s part of the learning process. But it’s best to insulate yourself from costly mistakes as much as possible so you don’t handicap your company’s growth.

Below you’ll find the most common mistakes businesses make when they rent office space and how you can avoid them.

Is this your first time renting office space? Download our free guide that explains the process step by step.

1. Rushing in Without a Plan

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Before you make the jump to your own office you need to have a plan. Sit down with your key employees and figure out what your business needs in terms of office space. Ask yourself some questions.

  • How much room do you need?
  • What amenities do you need?
  • Do you require a specific layout (like open space or separate offices)?
  • Does it need to accommodate clients, customers or equipment?
  • Will you be bringing in your own furniture or do you require furnishings?
  • Do you know what you can afford to spend?
  • Which areas do you prefer?
  • Does parking or security matter?

Companies who rush through the process and don’t take the time to consider their needs objectively regret it later on.

2. Failing to Read the Rental Agreement

It’s amazing how many people don’t read the things they sign. They usually figure they don’t need to because they’ve already spoken with the landlord/property manager/realtor. Sometimes they assume they don’t wouldn’t understand the terms anyway.

“While a lease allows tenants to stake their claim on a particular space, it can also end up trapping them in an environment that doesn’t live up to expectations,” says Ron Bockstahler of Amata Office Solutions, a real estate provider of massive corporate offices. It’s important to read the lease so you don’t get trapped in something unsuitable. If something is incorrect, you could be obligated to honor what you signed.

We recommend turnkey office spaces to our clients because they come with short, easy to understand agreements without hundreds of clauses.

3. Renting an Unseen Unit

Busy people are often tempted to agree to rent a unit without seeing it first. This is always a mistake. Even if you are given pictures, you can’t be sure what you’re renting until you actually stand in the space.

Clever photography and well-crafted ad copy can be deceiving and won’t give you an idea of the area or any odors or noise. Plus, can you visualize what 1000, 1500 or 2000 square feet of space looks like?

If a property owner isn’t willing to let you into a unit before signing an agreement or taking some money, the opportunity is most definitely a scam. Immediately stop speaking to the scammer.

4. Not Consulting Your Employees

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It’s best to have a discussion with your employees before you rent a particular space. Find out if anyone has any problems with the unit, the commute, the parking, or the neighborhood. You can’t please everyone, but it’s smart to ask their opinions in case there’s a problem you didn’t foresee.

5. Not Documenting the Unit’s Condition

At the end of your lease, you’ll be billed for any damages or alterations you caused. Sometimes tenants get accidentally charged for things that were already there.

It’s a smart idea to take photos or video of the unit during your walkthrough or just before you sign your agreement. Even if the landlord has photos, there’s no telling if they’re accurate or unaltered, so obtain your own. Look for dents or chips in the wall, carpet stains, window cracks, or anything that doesn’t work properly.

Send your photos to the landlord immediately so you have dated communication. Explain that you don’t mind the imperfections, but you’re speaking up so you don’t get charged at the end of the term.

6. Forgetting Renters Insurance

The owner of the building will have insurance on the property, but not your belongings. If you have any property or equipment you wouldn’t want to lose (like computers or electronic devices), I strongly recommend buying renters insurance. It only costs a few hundred dollars for the year, yet (shockingly) only 37% of renters buy it, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

7. Only Viewing One Property

If you rent the first property you see, you’re setting yourself up for a bad experience. This is especially true if you’ve never rented office space before. You need to see multiple units to get a grasp of what you like and don’t like. For instance, you may not know you want lots of natural light until you see a unit with big windows.

Furthermore, viewing multiple properties gives you leverage with the property owners. You get to say something like “I’m seeing five spaces today. I’ll let you know what I decide.” Language like that tells the property owner that he has to compete with other units.

8. Failing to Benchmark Similar Properties

Before you buy anything, you should make sure you’re paying a fair price. Office space is no exception.

The best way to do this is to arrange appointments to view multiple properties and spend a few minutes glancing through ads. Compare units with similar square footage and amenities to the one you like. Is the price reasonable? Does it feel like a value?

9. Failing to Negotiate

Just because you’re renting a small unit with a simple lease doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate. In fact, property owners expect it. In the case of a turnkey space, you be able to negotiate alterations to the space, but you can haggle over your overall rent and which amenities you have access to (like common areas and shared receptionists).

10. Falling in Love

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Sometimes a renter will fall in love with a particular location. They’ll love the lighting, the layout, the furniture (if provided), or maybe the neighborhood. It’s good to enjoy your space, but make sure it serves your business’ purposes. Is it worth cramming into a small room just to have a coffee shop nearby? Are you willing to spend extra to be right on the main road?

“You have to go into negotiations knowing that if you don’t get a fair deal, you can move on and your business will thrive elsewhere,” says serial entrepreneur Melody Stevens. Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement.

11. Miscalculating Growth

When you rent space, it’s important to consider your company’s future size. How many people will you have? Will you be buying new equipment that requires spaces? Will the growth be steady and predictable, or sudden and urgent?

If you miscalculate growth, you might end up in a space that’s too small for your company, or a space that’s too large and waste of money. Take some time to figure out what your company will look like by the end of the rental term.

Career and Workplace Expert Heather R. Huhman recommends anticipating product launches, expansions, employee turnover, industry changes, new business investment, and your goals.

12. Being Picky with Location

Yes, it’s important to find a great location, but there are probably lots of suitable areas within a reasonable commuting distance. Instead of limiting your search to an area you like, figure out what you like about it. You may like the closeness to public transportation or the nearby healthy lunch options. Measure new areas against your requirements.

Don’t begin the rental process without an idea of how it works. Subscribe to receive our free step by step guide on renting office space.

As you view properties and move through the renting process, keep these mistakes at the forefront of your mind. If you can avoid making common errors, you’ll land a quality unit that supports your business’ growth without cumbersome expenses and hassles.

Serviced Offices May Rival Traditional Spaces in 2014

Because of the JOBS Act, Turnkey Office Space’s Jon Bachrach projects a significant increase in companies seeking office suites in the next 12 months.

Statistics taken from a variety of sources including Regus, OfficingToday, and Deskmag were processed by research analyst Jon Bachrach. Bachrach reveals a significant increase in office suite demand for 2014. Office suites (also known as executive suites and serviced offices) are all-inclusive office spaces that typically come furnished. They differ from traditional offices because of their flexible lease options and their built-in amenities, but Bachrach says there are other reasons why these are on the rise.

“What really stands out is the retention rate among current tenants. Companies that initially signed for a 3 or 6 month duration are recognizing the long-term benefits that Executive Suites provide. What was initially a temporary solution for many business is now becoming a more permanent one.

The Americas have experienced a 13% growth in serviced offices this year. In 2014, around a quarter of US businesses plan to increase their staff by 25%, and the JOBS Act of 2013 is making it easier for new businesses to grow. Executive Suites can reduce infrastructure costs by up to 60% and remove leases from a company’s balance sheet.

“It makes sense especially for businesses looking to get started quickly. With a traditional office, you have moving costs, cable and internet concerns, infrastructure build-outs; these office suites are ready-to-move-into on day one,” says Bachrach. “In addition, the highly efficient design of these types of work spaces allows companies to rent less space at lower costs.”

Turnkey Office Space is a countrywide search and consulting services for companies seeking office space. They specialize in office suites, virtual offices, and coworking spaces. Turnkey can be reached via their website https://www.turnkeyofficespace.com and by phone at 1-888-282-8555.

NYC Creates Super Bowl Boulevard, Boosts Businesses!

It’s almost that time again – that special American holiday featuring deliciously unhealthy food, beer, and shouting at a TV.

Hmmm…that could actually be a lot of American holidays. The Super Bowl will commence at 6:30PM EST on February 2nd with the Seattle Seahawks up against the Denver Broncos. In honor of the event, New York City is hosting a number of NFL-themed events along a strip in Times Square.
Super Bowl Boulevard will be located between 34th Street and 47th Street on Broadway. The festivities have already begun.

But what does this all mean for local businesses? We predict great returns. Tourism, location, and the Super Bowl event will all factor into a grand increase in sales. The fanfare is so massive this year that even non-sports-lovers might want in on the action. Expect special deals on drinks and foods, live music, and more.

If you’re a startup business in NYC, you might want to take advantage of this influx in spending and foot traffic. If there was ever a time to hand out promotional material, this would be it.

Are there downsides to the Super Bowlevard? Of course. Traffic jams, heavy drinking, and claustrophobia just to name a few. We want to warn anyone who is looking for office space in Times Square that this won’t be the last of the colossal events held right outside your window.

When searching for offices in NYC, there’s so much to consider. Neighborhoods rise and fall like the stock market, and depending on what kind of business you own, you might want to consider a different location than the all-popular Times Square. Still, some businesses need the Time Square advantage.

Got a thought about the Super Bowlevard? Let us know on our Facebook page. If you need tips on where to find office space in NYC, give us a call.

What to Look for in an Office

If you’re in the market for a new office, then you know how confusing the search can be.

Everybody wants to sell you on their property, and so everyone is going to claim that their office space is the best for you. The truth is that there are so many factors that go into a successful pairing of business and office space. At Turnkey, we know this all too well. It’s not our job to sell you on OUR office space – it’s our job to find you the best office space for your business.

We’re always here to chat with you about what offices might work for your company, but as a general rule, we consider the following three factors when trying to pair a business with the perfect workspace:

1. Location – Location must be taken into consideration when looking for office space even if the bulk of your business is online. If you happen to be in the e-commerce market then you can ease up on high-end locations, but you still need to consider entertaining partners, investors, and enticing potential employees.
There’s also civic pride to consider. Wherever you move to, understand that you are, by default, entering a community. Think of Google in San Francisco and Starbucks in Seattle. Cities and businesses can pair like wine and cheese – or not. So ask yourself where your business NEEDS to have its headquarters. What community do you want to be a part of?

2. Flexibility – Can you build out your office? Can you move easily? What happens when you need to employ more people than the maximum capacity? These are all questions of flexibility. Some traditional office spaces are very inflexible, and so when we’re trying to pair you with the right space we take the future of your company into account. Understand your lease options, as well as your ability to make modifications to the office space. Plan to grow.

3. Proper Amenities – It’s so important to make sure your office has the infrastructure in place for you to conduct your business effectively. Typically we recommend selecting office suites for businesses that need ready Wi-Fi, conference rooms, televisions, and high-speed Internet upon move-in. These services are not always available in traditional offices.

We’re always here to discuss what to look for in an office more specifically. Give us a call or select the Live Chat option. Happy searching!

How the Office Industry is Changing in 2014

The way we do office space is changing. I’m not just talking about razor scooters and beanbag chairs; I’m talking about our entire perception of what an office is. Here are two prominent trends occurring right now that you can expect to continue through 2014:

1. Executive office suites will become standard

Since the birth of the executive office suite industry decades ago, serviced offices have commonly been associated with startups looking for temporary solutions until they are ready to commit to long-term, traditional space. These types of offices are still great for this demographic, however, there is a shift occurring. Workforces are starting to become leaner and more mobile as larger companies are beginning to realize that it is more cost efficient to expand by opening up satellite offices that don’t require a significant investment in new infrastructures. Executive office suites are perfect for this type of requirement and are more often becoming the go-to solution – as everything is already set up and ready-to-go!

Because our company finds executive office suites for companies of all industries and sizes, we are experiencing this shift firsthand. With the newest evolving office cloud technologies and the highest-speed internet connections being integrated into the infrastructure of these offices and included in rents, it is very likely that this trend will continue, as well as catch on to companies in all markets and of all sizes.

2. More companies will opt for Co-working Spaces

A conceptual offshoot of the executive-office-suite-type framework, coworking space is designed for small companies and business-minded individuals who want to work in a collaborative environment that fosters productivity and creativity. It is the definition of shared space, as companies not only share open-plan space with each other, but also ideas.

A recent global coworking survey shows that 96% of people said that “community is an important value among members in their coworking space” and 85% of coworking space operators believe that membership numbers have “risen sharply” in 2012. Coworking space is a great option for new companies that are looking for temporary, modern office space and want to increase their networks.

Top Five Signs You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Office

Think of Roy Scheider causally chumming the Atlantic Ocean when Jaws suddenly surfaces – gnashing his terrible teeth.

Roy walks backward slowly and makes his way to Quint, the captain. His eyes fixed on the water. His cigarette hanging on his lips. Finally, he says, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Now think of what this moment was for you. Perhaps you were with a few colleagues, enjoying the view of the vacant lot from your second story office, and suddenly your inbox went from 10 unread inquiries to 300.

In case your own personal Jaws hasn’t reared its head yet, we’ve got some tips for you concerning the warning signs that you may need a bigger office:

1. You’re turning down clients – the biggest indicator that you need more office space is a simple one: If the demand for your product or service has surpassed your ability to provide, you need to bite the bullet and move on up. Hire more and get a bigger space. Congrats, you’ve just reached level 2 in the game of business.

2. You literally bump into your employees multiple times per day – humans need personal space. If you find that you can’t get to the copy machine without an “excuse me”, pack it up and get a bigger office.

3. You can never find anything – a small office does not mean a more organized office. A larger space can give you more room to store important things (instead of shoving everything on top of the filing cabinet).

4. You’re ashamed to bring clients back to your office – this should be a giant red flag. Whatever your business is, you should never feel ashamed to bring anyone back to the office. Now, your car, on the other hand, is different. Why are there so many unfinished diet coke cans? I don’t know, just move them to the side and sit down.

5. You can’t stop fantasizing about being in a bigger office – listen to your gut! It’s telling you that you’re too big for this space. And if you’re thinking about it, you can bet your colleagues are as well. Making the move into a bigger office might seem daunting at first, but in the long run it’ll improve the morale, organization, and overall functionality of your business.

The Number One Reason You Absolutely Positively Need an Office

The issue of whether an office is necessary in the 21st century has sparked a lot of debate and while many factors influence the decision, ultimately the best course of action is to get yourself an office. Now, here’s why…

In 2012, Bank of America changed its policy regarding working from home and required its employees to spend more time at the office. In 2013, a Yahoo! executive, Marissa Mayer, wrote an internal memo to the company. Within the memo was this sentence:

“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

But these are industry giants. Does a startup company in the 21st century really need an office?

Prestige and trustworthiness definitely plays a role in the startup world. Nowadays, customers and clients get an impression of who you are as a company mostly through the Internet, but with the Internet comes boundless competition. Provided your web presence is the same as your competitor’s, why would someone choose your company if your competitor is in an executive suite on Madison Avenue?

Still, for the best reason, we go back to Yahoo! and Bank of America. It’s all about communication and interactions – and that doesn’t change whether you’re a small business or a giant. The New York Times reported that employees who work remotely have a more difficult time getting promoted. This may have to do with the fact that the interactions and happenstances you share with co-workers in an office are invaluable. Great ideas happen over lunch. If an office space is off the table, the next best thing to consider is a virtual office, which will allow you to build office-like relationships with your co-workers remotely.

Bottom line, don’t take the risk. Building a great business means building it right. Follow suit with the industry giants and get the team together in a space you’re proud of. You’ll be boosting collaboration, integration, and prestige.