Planning to expand or move your business? Looking for new office space doesn’t have to be stressful, but you want to do some research beforehand.
Whether you are opening a new office or relocating your current company, we’ve outlined six site selection tips that you should consider before investing in a new office.
In selecting an office, location is extremely important. From foot traffic to worker accessibility, you should take extra care when picking a location for your office space. While moving to a rural area for cheap rent may sound like a great idea, you may want to consider these tips before moving your office space:
Does your business depend on foot traffic or local in-person customers? If so, you will want to make sure your office is within walking distance to other professional offices or restaurants and can accommodate all your local customers. Moving your local business 50 miles outside of town (or away from your current location) would force you to find brand new customers in that area and may upset your current customers.
Location can also be influenced by demand. Does your new location need the services you provide? If you provide specialized services, you need to consider if your new area needs these types of services.
Will moving your office force your employees to have longer commutes to work? Is your new office near public transportation?
You will need to consider the impact that a move will have on your employees. If your employees have to add a one-hour commute each way to their day, you may want to reconsider the move. It may affect employees to the point where they look for other work. You should look for a fair balance between employee accessibility and the needs of your business before renting or purchasing a new office site.
If you are planning a big office move, you’ll need to assess the labor force in your new chosen location. While you should have no problem finding countless qualified employees in big cities, you may have difficulty finding specialized employees in smaller towns.
Basing your business in an urban downtown has a wide range of benefits compared to out of town. Being close to other businesses gives you and your employees access to restaurants, government offices, shops, and public transportation. You’ll also have the opportunity to gain local customers.
Of course, selecting a business center out of town can save you money and the hassle of dealing with busy streets.
Is the new office going to be located in a safe part of town? If not, will you need to hire security staff? Do your customers and employees have access to safe parking locations? Ensuring your new office is safe and secure will make your day-to-day business easier.
After location, price is one of the most important factors when choosing a new office.
Should you rent or buy your office? Renting offers a wide range of perks and allows you to open a new office sooner than if you were buying, and with less upfront responsibilities. A shorter lease means you will have the option to leave and move to a new office if necessary.
Of course, owning the building allows you full control of the property. Whether you want to knock down walls or upgrade the wiring inside the walls, owning your office lets you do what you want with the property. Owning also makes it much easier for you to add branding to the building and showcase your company’s style and aesthetic within it.
Depending on where you live, wages can vary greatly. If you plan to run an office in NYC, you’ll need to be prepared for higher employee wages compared to Georgia.
If you are setting up a brand new office, you can consider relocating to a city or state that has a lower cost of living and lower annual salaries. Businesses that rely on the internet or remote workers can take advantage of lower living costs in many rural areas or small towns.
Just like wages, taxes and government fees can vary from state to state. Cities will often have much higher taxes and fees than rural or suburban areas. From income taxes to payroll taxes, you should understand your city and state tax laws before moving your office and business to a new location.
Many businesses will require various government licenses and proper zoning ordinances to open. Depending on your industry, you’ll want to have a good understanding of the taxes and fees associated with running a business in your city or state.
Of course, some areas offer tax incentives or tax breaks if you move your business to their city or state. You could save yourself thousands of dollars moving to a new city that offers these types of incentives.
Will moving affect your overall utility costs? From internet service to electricity, every business depends on local utilities to run their business. Cities can have widely different utility costs, and these should be factored into the cost of selecting a new office space.
Don’t forget the hidden costs of moving. A move across town can be much cheaper than across state. You may need moving trucks, IT installers, painters, cleaners, and many other professionals during your move to a new office.
You’ll also want to consider how much room you need before renting or buying an office. Stuffing workers on top of each other will stifle productivity and company morale. Ensuring your employees have enough workspace is essential before any office move. Depending on your industry, most professionals agree that you should allocate at least 100 square feet per employee workstation.
Once you have the workplace ready, you’ll want to ensure you have meeting space, break room space, storage space, and IT space. You’ll also want to consider future growth and make sure you have enough room to add more workstations and employees when the time comes.
The infrastructure of the building is critical to creating a functional office. Internet service is essential for almost every business, and you’ll want to check how fast and reliable the service is where you are moving. Smaller companies may opt to include internet service in their lease, while larger companies may require dedicated servers and network lines.
Don’t forget about telephone connections. While a small business may run everything off a mobile phone, larger businesses will need access to plenty of phone lines to run their daily business.
The layout of the building should be considered as well. Before choosing the right office space for your business, consider the open spaces, natural lighting, ventilation, air quality, and acoustics of the space.
While it may not affect your income and bottom line, the style of your office is also important. Finding an office that reflects your company’s style, image, and aesthetic can go a long way with branding your business.
No one wants to come to work and sit in a dreary, dark office all day. Older office buildings will make for long workdays and could deter new customers from visiting your business. Luckily, newer and modern office buildings offer open floor plans, trendy outdoor appearances, and comfortable employee conditions to produce a healthier working environment.
Will you be able to add branding to the office by switching spaces? A new sign or banner can go a long way to identify your office. If you own the building, branding should be no problem. But if you are leasing, you will want to add a clause in your lease contract that allows you to add branding or customize the space.
You should also consider the impact a move will have on your employees. Conducting an employee survey can help you understand the move from the view of your employees and take their needs into account.
Will the new office make it easier or harder for your employees to commute? City offices can provide employees the option of public transportation, but some employees will end up with long commutes if they live in the suburbs. Don’t forget to have ample parking if most of your employees drive to work.
Does the new office make the workday easier or harder? From IT issues to office meetings, you’ll want to ensure your new office has all the tools and equipment your employees need to succeed at their jobs. Ensuring your employees have plenty of space and a healthy work environment can also positively affect productivity.
Does the new office building offer amenities that will benefit you and your employees? From cafeterias to physical fitness centers, It’s possible to find office buildings that provide a wide range of services to make your employees happy to come to work.
Your office space should be a reflection of your business. Whether you’ve outgrown your current space or need a change of scenery, you should have no problem finding office buildings and spaces for rent. The only question is: which one is best for you?
While reviewing office rental listings, we encourage you to keep this list of site selection tips handy. Following these tips when looking for office space will help you choose a space that meets your needs and budget.
Michael is a property manager at Clock Tower Commons. Passionate about real estate, Michael shares his opinions, knowledge, and experience on an array of topics, including property management, marketing, and leasing. When out of the office, he enjoys lake days and gardening.