Much like when you make a choice for where your family will live…the
choice of selecting an office space for your practice is equally important.
This office will be a reflection of your work and is the place where you
will see clients, work each day and hopefully, grow your business.
Every practice has different needs, landlords have different
requirements and the market varies based on region.
Last week, we took a look at the difference between subletting and
leasing with a focus on helping you determine which one will be the
best fit for you at this stage in your practice growth.
This week, we will take a look at a few key considerations you need to
keep in mind when negotiating a lease with your landlord:
Location, location, location…
Is your new office conveniently located with ease of accessibility for
your clients? Better yet, is the location convenient for you and your
commute from home? Is the office located on a busy street that might
compromise the sense of privacy your clients may enjoy when visiting
Be sure to inquire about any costs above and beyond the fees associated
with your lease. You want to be completely aware of how to budget your
Wheelchair accessibility is a requirement in our line of work
Snow removal if you live somewhere where that kind of thing matters
How do we deal with emergencies, breakdowns, power outages and
Should there be a power outage or a mechanical breakdown is there a
maintenance team in place to handle those concerns? Depending upon the
size of the operation you are leasing from, there may be a significant
delay for repairs. Take an honest objective look at the condition of
the space you are considering. Is the space already in good
repairs…or do you foresee various breakdowns that could be
disruptive to your business?
What about availability/accessibility?
Are there days/hours when the office will not be available? Private
practices can sometimes keep non-traditional hours such as evenings and
weekends. If your business will need that flexibility, be sure to
inquire about accessibility after hours. This may also mean ensuring
that you have 24 hour access to the HVAC system. If you are working
late in the evenings or on weekends, you will absolutely want to have
access to climate control.
Who else is here? (Who Are Your Neighbors)
Inquire about the kinds of business that your landlord typically leases
to. My first landlord frequently rented to small churches. That was
good during the week because it was very quiet when no one was there.
But on Bible study night…there was a full accompaniment of
drumming, singing and foot traffic that was quite disruptive to my
clients. Get to know the other neighbors that will be sharing the space
with. Do they have businesses that are likely to be loud or have high
What about security?
Speaking of those non-traditional hours…if you are going to be
alone in the building, you may have questions about security. Make a
point of becoming familiar with the office during the day, evening and
weekend hours. Before signing any leases, visit the neighborhood at
various times of the day.
What about your future plans?
While you are preparing to sign a lease is the perfect time to be
thoughtful about your future plans. Where do you see your business
in the next 3-5 years? Most landlords prefer long term leases and
are willing to provide a few additional perks like sound proofing
or preferential leasing terms if you are willing to commit for
longer time frames. Try to position yourself in the most
advantageous way without taking on too much risk…especially
if you are just starting out.
On the other hand, if all goes well and you are growing…can
you easily expand your office should you need additional space for
your practice? Inquire how the landlord will feel if you decide to
sublet your space. Just like subletting space may have worked for
you early on, it may work well for other business owners and can be
helpful as an additional source of income for the times when your
office is not completely in use.
Will you have creative freedom?
Will the office space you are considering allow you the creative
freedom to furnish, decorate and paint your space as you see fit?
Creating the environment in your private practice is key to setting
the tone for the work you will do with your clients. When properly
done, your office space has the power to help you establish rapport
with your clients.
Stay tuned next week for more information on how.