If you’re an entrepreneur looking for office space to house your new startup — congrats!
You worked really hard to become one of the 30+ million small businesses in the U.S. that employs 47.5% of the workforce.
You’ve registered your business, wrote your business plan, and have all your budgeting and expenses figured out. Except for one.
You know how much you can afford to spend on rent, now you need to find the perfect space to start working toward your goal. Finding the right office space may not be as easy as you think.
If you care about your bottom line — and we know you do! — and not getting in over your head, we can help. It all comes down to what questions you ask before you sign on the dotted line.
We’re giving you the 10 questions you need to ask when you’re looking to rent office space in Grapevine.
1. Do We Need Office Space?
The first thing you need to ask yourself is “Do we really need office space?”
Your follow-up question should be “How much do we need?”
This is important for several reasons. First, you need to know how much square footage you can afford. The cost of office space gets charged per square foot.
In the Dallas area, the average price is $26 per square foot. But, in Houston, the cost jumps to over $30.
Where you rent matters. You know what they say: “Location, location, location!”
But if you don’t need that an entire office and you don’t have plans to expand in the next year or two, a co-work space may be better for you.
2. Do I Understand all the Costs?
The property manager or landlord will let you know how much the rent is per month, but what do you need upfront to move in?
You’ll likely need a security deposit that could be anywhere from one to six months’ worth of rent. They may also insist you get commercial liability insurance.
Don’t forget you should get an attorney to look over the lease before you sign it, too.
Suddenly, the cost of rent may be doable, but getting in the door may be a little out of your comfort zone.
3. What’s Included in the Price?
Some buildings may cover some utilities like water, garbage, and electric. They recoup these costs in the monthly rent.
Ask about WiFi and, if needed, a landline. You need to know what you’re going to be responsible for in addition to the rent.
Some property managers or landlords may charge you for these separately. Others may require you to get these all billed to your own account.
4. What Amenities Are Included?
Depending on the office building, they may have amenities that you and your employees can use. This could be a gym, conference room, or meeting space.
If you’re looking at a large building that houses restaurants, coffee shops, or bars, ask if tenants get discounts at these establishments.
5. What’s the Parking Situation?
Parking is always an important factor and sometimes it doesn’t get realized until it’s too late.
Does the building have a parking garage or does it partner with one in the city? How much does it cost for tenants? Where do your guests and clients park?
Finding this out from the get-go will make budgeting for you and your employees a lot easier.
6. Who Handles Repairs?
When you rent a residential space, repairs and maintenance are always included. But when you’re looking at an office rental, it’s not always the case.
Unless the agent tells you, don’t assume they’re responsible for these costs. It’s okay to ask them who handles repairs.
7. Who Are the Other Tenants?
This may seem a little intrusive, but you want to know who you’re sharing a building with. Aside from the obvious eateries or businesses with signage, ask the agent or property manager who the other tenants are.
If you’re looking at a co-work space, this is even more important. While renting a co-work space is better than a coffee shop, it can still get loud and even distracting at times.
This is especially true if your business needs a quiet space to focus or meet with clients. Remember the amenities? If you’re considering a co-work, these extra rooms will mean a lot more to your business.
8. Will the Rent Increase?
A lot of landlords are including “escalation clauses” in their leases now. As you can guess, it means they can escalate the price of rent. This is where you’ll get your money’s worth if you hire an attorney to look over the lease.
You may start out with a short-term lease, say, for six months at one price. But if you choose to renew or extend it, you may pay a much higher price.
The rent could also fluctuate based on tax and insurance increases on their end. It’s crucial you find out if your lease includes an escalation clause and what it entails.
9. What If I Have to Break the Lease?
Many startups opt for a short-term lease for this reason. After all, the cold, hard truth is that only 50% of startups make it to their four-year anniversary.
But if a short-term lease isn’t available, ask what you’ll owe if you have to break the lease. You may be on the hook for the balance of the term or if you paid a higher security deposit, this may cover it.
If you opt for a co-work space, you may not have a lease at all. Instead, you may have a service agreement or occupancy agreement. These are usually more flexible and lenient if you need to move out.
10. What Happens if the Building Gets Sold?
Two things that worry tenants are: what happens if the landlord goes bankrupt or sells the property?
Look over the lease for a “non-disturbance agreement.” This ensures the tenants can stay in their leased spaces for the duration of the contract if the lender forecloses on the property.
This can also cover you if the current landlord sells the building. You have to read the fine print very carefully or have an attorney explain the specifics to you.
Wrapping Up: Renting Office Space in Grapevine
Whether you decide to rent office space in Grapevine or choose a shared office space, you’re now equipped with the questions you need to ask.
Asking these questions may be uncomfortable or even awkward. But, it’s important that you know exactly what your expenses will be moving forward.
Getting into a lease you can’t afford will put you in a terrible position. In fact, it’s almost guaranteeing your business will fail.
The good news is, there are options. Visit our blog to find out what these options are and how we can help.