Office Location Advice—What to Consider When Looking for Your Next Commercial Property
Location location location… We all know how important it can be to the success of a retail business, but is it as important for an office location? I think it is. When looking for retail locations, I’ve identified key metrics in determining the right location; demographics, traffic/traffic counts; ease of access and visibility, competition and zoning. Finding the right location for an office can be just as critical, but owners should take into consideration additional factors before deciding on their office location.
As an executive, it may be tempting to open an office close to your home; however, you are just one person within the company. First and foremost you should take into consideration where your workforce will be coming from. Far distances may deter employees from working at your office, especially in denser metropolitan areas, and in some cases you may have to pay more to attract general administrative help to offset the cost and time of travel. Additionally, if your primary workforce is of a younger demographic, you may also want to consider having an office location close to where they live and offers after work amenities that may be attractive.
Just like retail you may want to see where your competitors are. Many times there are synergies that can be achieved by being near a competitor, whether in the medical space, I.T., computer programing or general office. Many companies may specialize in one aspect of your business field, and by being near them you may be able to create a good two-way referral source with each of you complementing the services that you offer your clients.
Ease of Access and Visibility.
Although not as important then if you were opening a retail location it is something to consider, especially in large metros with high traffic. When I first looked to open my business I thought I found the dream location, one block from the beach, lots of amenities, close to my home, and with ocean views. After thinking hard about it and realizing that it really limited the accessibility for my agents, and clients, adding at best 15 minutes to my drive time to go anywhere out of the immediate area and at worst upwards of 45 minutes. We instead identified an office that was only 3 miles West, but with easy access to two freeways and most of the city. By just moving the office 3 miles, we saved on average about 1 hour of commute time (taking into account both directions) when visiting clients.
Often overlooked, but something to consider are what amenities are close by. Are there a lot of restaurants for lunch and meetings, are there places to go to after work to socialize? Does the building offer ample parking for your employees and clients? Does the building offer parking for alternative transportation (bicycles)?
Long Term Plans.
One area that many companies overlook is if the location and office space fit in with your long term plans. Most office owners look for either a three-year or five-year term. Unlike retail spaces that expand by opening new locations office expansion can be a little more difficult as most companies want all of their office employees in one centralized office. One option might be a larger building or landlord that has the ability to transfer your lease into a larger space if needed. They will most likely require you to extend the lease term, but you won’t have to worry about subletting your old office.