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Three Questions to Establish Your Office Planning Checklist

Updated February 22, 2017
Finding a new office space for your new business is exciting, but it can also be a daunting task. When starting up a new business or relocating an extisting company, it is important to establish the right space within the limited budget of a small business or startup. We have learned that the initial planning phase is what can help businesses save time and money during the office space search and lease process.
The commercial real estate market today is very favorable for landlords, which means higher prices and less inventory to browse for options. To help you out, we’ve created three questions every small business or startup needs to answer honestly to best prepare their office planning checklist. We recently put these to the test looking for our own office space in Dallas and found it quite effective to guide our priorities.

1. How important is your location?

When approaching a search for a new office space it is crucial to evaluate how your location truly impacts your business. We all fixate on that cool office we saw in the recent business journal article or at an event, but is that really what you need? Think through the following before making a decision on the exact location of the office:
  • Are the majority of your clients and customers from around the area?
  • Do you have clients come to visit your offices? If so, how often?
  • Are your employees out of the office salespeople or do they only make a daily commute from home?
  • What do you want the area you office in to say about your business?
Ideally the right office space will be in a safe, accessible area – one where customers will want to visit and your employees want to be, but focusing your location in a "hot spot" can also drastically limit your options and increase your costs. For this reason it is important to consider the above questions to make sure that if you are focused on a specific neighborhood or building  it has a positive impact your culture, recruiting and client retention. If you let your business goals help guide you in establishing your location, you have a better chance of finding the pefrect office space for your business. 

2. How does parking impact your search?

Parking is becoming a major issue for many small businesses and startups to overcome. This is due to the discrepancy in how businessses utilize office space today vs how parking was allocated when most buildings were constructed. The industry average in commercial real estate is three to four parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of space that you lease.
With the open office space concept being the preferred layout for most businesses, this pushes the boundraries of parking capacity. Most starups and tech firms tend to be dense users of office space. We see the majority of this type of company forced to conduct a search in more urban or downtown areas where there may be alternatives for commuting or parking available outside the building itself. 

3. What appearance and layout fit your operation?

Last but not least, to finalize any office space planning checklist you need to understand how make the space's appearance and design fit your business and add value to your operation. Your options may be limited based on the existing layout of space on the market and lease term you are willing to commit to. Unless you are signing a five year or longer lease, you are probably not going to completely customize your space from scratch. However, you can look for the opportunity to transform an existing office space by removing walls, adding new flooring and paint to match your business use and culture.
As noted above, the open office space environment tends to be the draw, but it is important to factor in how much private space you really need. Even if you do work openly the key to making that space functional may be the right office furniture, constructing phone rooms, conference rooms, and othe private areas that are necessary. 

These questions should help you think through areas that could have caused you to wasted a lot of time and energy searching for the wrong space for your business.
 How can TenantBase help you? TenantBase specializes in finding office spaces for small businesses that fit your business goals by combining technology and local expert Advisors.

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