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5 Key Considerations When Looking for Office Space

Posted in Office Space Rental, Small Office Advice on August 18, 2014

If you’re thinking of finding office space in Albany to rent, remember that while it’s similar to finding a home or apartment to rent, there are some important differences.

Read below for the five considerations we feel are key when it comes to looking at office space to rent.

1) Just as when renting an apartment, the monthly price you’ll pay for your office lease is important. But unlike an apartment, there may be additional costs in your lease of which you’re not aware: rentable square footage, usable square footage and common area factor.
•    Common area factor is the percentage of space that’s shared in a multi-office building. This is the amount you’ll pay for such areas as a common kitchen, reception area, restrooms, even hallways.
•    Usable square footage is the space that you’ll actually use. It’s also known as “carpetable” square footage.
•    Rentable square footage is the sum of a portion of the common area as well as the usable square footage that you’ll have to pay for.
Office rent most often is quoted as a yearly or monthly cost per rentable square foot. However, rent for such rental spaces as executive suites or other temporary office space is quoted as a total monthly cost.

2) Most small businesses will deal with a building’s landlord directly. If your business is larger and/or more specialized you may hire what is known as a tenant broker to help negotiate the terms of your office lease. A tenant broker often receives from 4-5 percent of the gross value of the rent over the lease’s life. The landlord/agent (the person who markets the space) also gets a commission.

3) Important questions to ask as you search for an office space include:
•    When was the building built?
•    What are the building’s hours? Will I be able to come in after hours? If so, how? What about security after hours? Are there any special keys my employees and I will need to access the building/our office?
•    What about on-site parking? Is there an extra fee (in addition to the leasing fee)?
•    What about conference areas? Do we share with other tenants, or do we have our own? If our own, how much extra do we pay? If shared, is that price included in our lease agreement?
•    Who controls the air conditioning for our office space? Will we be able to turn it up or down ourselves?
•    If I need to expand my space, will I have that option? Can I do so in the middle of my lease term, or do I have to wait until I renew?
•    What are estimated operating expenses of the building and how do you pass these along to tenants?
•    What about janitorial services? Are they included in our lease agreement, or do we need to hire a service ourselves? If we hire, how can the service gain access to our office space?

4) Location is critical when it comes to office space in Albany. How many of your employees commute to work via public transportation? Is there public transportation near the office you’re considering? What is the traffic pattern of the commute to the new space? Will employees now be traveling with congested traffic or against? Is that a big issue for your staff? How secure/safe is the neighborhood? If your employees work after 8-5, will their safety be a concern?

5) Finally, just as with an apartment, understand that you’ll more than likely see gorgeous office spaces – but are they too rich for your budget? Just as Realtors advise clients not to fall in love with a home, so too should you not become too enamored of any one office space. List your must-haves and your wants and if a space with all of your must-haves as well as your wants is too expensive, keep looking. If necessary, go with a space that meets your must-haves.