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How to Find the Perfect Small Office Space

Chelsea Cain
Updated March 28, 2016

Whether you are about to lease your first office or considering moving your small business, the process of finding the right space can be time consuming and full of hidden expenses. We created TenantBase to help you find the perfect space efficiently and cost-effectively, but we know the task can be daunting. Here's how we break it down:

  1. Make a Timeline
  2. Assess your Needs
  3. Determine your Budget
  4. Research your Options
  5. Talk to an Expert

Follow these steps on how to find the perfect office space for your small business.


Step 1: Make a Timeline

Here at TenantBase, many clients come to us with a timeline that is either too long or too short. Timing is critically important when finding an office. Start too far in advance, and you’ll be touring spaces that won’t be available when you actually want to move. Start your small office search too close to your move date, and you’ll be frantic, waste time, and ultimately might end up missing opportunities, losing money, or moving into a space that you don’t love.

Here’s the TenantBase timeline for success:

  • 6 months - 1 year from lease expiration: do a needs analysis (see below)
  • 3 - 6 months from lease expiration: start browsing and determine your budget
  • 3 - 6 months from lease expiration: start touring with an expert broker
  • 1 month from lease expiration: have a new lease signed and start packing


Step 2: Assess your Needs

Think through your daily activities. Consider your ideal office - commute, access to the space, and “must haves” for your operations, are good places to start.

Here’s what you should consider:

  • Location
  • Parking
  • Access to major highways
  • Number of private rooms/offices
  • Number of workstations
  • Conference Room
  • Kitchen/Breakroom (in the space)
  • Bathroom (common or in the space)
  • Internet Providers

Generally, you need 150 - 250 square feet per employee for comfortable use.

***Remember - parking for the building may be at a different ratio!


Step 3: Determine your budget

At the end of the day, your budget will make many of your office space decisions for you. Knowing your budget in advance will save you time that you’d otherwise waste drooling over a space with panoramic views that just isn’t practical for your business.

Here's how you should think about your budget:

  • Ask us about average rate per square foot in your area
  • Determine desired square footage
  • Think about your cost of utilities - here is a pretty cool estimate calculator

***Remember - not every quoted rate is the same!

  • Full Service Gross - includes all utilities
  • Modified Gross - tenant pays electric and typically janitorial
  • Triple Net - tenant pays all operating costs separate of monthly rent


Step 4: Research your Options

Cost varies greatly by location and type of work environment, so do your research to determine your space requirement. Take the time to evaluate different types of space in your market. For instance, if you have 0-4 employees, a coworking space or executive suite might be a good fit for you!

If you have more than 5 employees, you can use TenantBase’s robust search platform to see and compare prices across all the different spaces in your market. 

Typically, office space falls into three broad categories:

  • Coworking spaces
  • Executive suites
  • Traditional offices
...and usually, you'll decide between three main layouts:
  • Open floorplan
  • Mixed use "team" floorplan
  • Traditional cellular floorplan (mostly office)


Step Five: Talk to an Expert

After steps 1-4, you should know what you need.

There are many resources for small businesses needing a coworking space or executive suite (and we can certainly refer you if you need guidance)!

If you’re looking for a stand-alone office space for your small business, our team of experts can guide and advise you through the lease process, free of charge. Our experienced local real estate advisors negotiate on your behalf only, so our goals are aligned with yours.

We exist to help you find the best office space to fit your needs. We hope to help you soon!


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