Most business owners locate their businesses in areas that are familiar to them. Many look where they are currently located or where they once lived or went to school. While their experiences sometimes give them enough knowledge to select a location, there are a number of considerations that typically should also be part of a business owner’s decision-making process.
A good exercise is to note all the applicable questions in a document along with your answers. Ultimately, the office location you select should align with your overall business needs. Your tenant rep broker will guide you through the office leasing process but having a clear understanding of your location needs and wants is important. Let’s take a look at some fundamentals that should be part of the process.
Central Business District (CBD) vs Suburban
Is a central business district (CBD) or suburban office a better fit for your business? This is the first task you need to address in your search for the perfect site. A large factor in where you should start your business is directly correlated to the nature of your business:
- Does your office need to be in a convenient location for client visits?
- Will you easily be able to distribute your products or services from the office?
- Will it be easy to receive supplies and packages?
- Does it need to be near your future employees?
- Do you know if there are economic incentives for moving into the areas you are considering?
Proximity to Transportation
Your office should be easily accessible not only by your clients but by your employees as well. This is an especially important consideration if you’re in a highly competitive market for talent. Long, inconvenient commutes are draining, and many workers will reject job offers that involve long travel times. Having team members wasting time in cars, busses, and trains when they could be doing something more productive for the company or for themselves is far preferable. Consider the following:
- What driving, walking, biking, public and regional transportation options are available for your office?
- For your current employees, do you have an estimate for how long it would take them to get to a location?
- If your employees are walking to the office, how safe is their stroll – what is the Walk Score?
- For employees who have long commutes, do you plan on offering work-from-home options?
- Will you need access to an airport?
Proximity to Housing
In some areas, especially larger US cities, there is a lack of affordable housing. If you are striving for short commute times, you have to examine the residential market near the office.
- What are the rents like in the neighborhoods near the office?
- What are they like in neighborhoods adjacent to modes of transportation?
- As for housing inventory, are there a sufficient number of multi-family and single-family units available in these areas?
- What are housing sale prices like in these area?
- What are the property taxes like in these neighborhoods?
For many businesses, it’s necessary for employees to have outlets such as restaurants, shopping and green areas nearby. You’ll also want to consider what services, vendors and providers you will need to help support your business:
- What dining options are available in the neighborhood?
- Are there pharmacy and healthcare services nearby?
- Is quick access to shipping, printing and copying services needed?
- Are there grocers and other retailers close by?
- If you need childcare facilities, are there options nearby?
- If you need storage, are there warehouses in the area?
- If you need an event space, are there options nearby?
Most office buildings have parking options for tenants who drive. In most metros, landlords either have their own spaces or have access to lots adjacent to their buildings. You can negotiate for complimentary or discounted spaces when you are ready to lease. Suburban office buildings have surface parking and lots that in many cases are free. Parking is a very common bargaining item: your tenant rep broker will help you secure the right number of spaces for the square footage you will be leasing. Here are some considerations:
- Are there an adequate number of spaces available for employees who drive?
- Does it accommodate two-wheeled vehicles such as motorcycles and scooters?
- How convenient is the parking area and how much does it cost?
- Does it have valet parking?
- How secure is the parking area?
- Are there support services such as battery charging and car washing?
- Is there a secure area for cyclists to place their bikes?
Beauty Factor & Aesthetics
Your office location should not only offer the interior features that support your business, but also be a surrounded by additional amenities. There are a number of neighborhood characteristics that contribute to a sense of place. These are some neighborhood characteristics with which your employees may strongly identify:
- What is the architecture like in the area?
- Are there green open spaces where your employees can relax and take a break from the business?
- If there’s a body of water nearby, is there access?
- How clean is the neighborhood?
These questions are by no means an exhaustive list, but by addressing them, you will be well down the path of finding the location that best matches your business needs and sensibilities. Being educated about the considerations that go into site selection will make you aware of the factors that will keep your employees happy, boost productivity and help with profitability.
Ready to find that perfect office space? Start your search to compare office and coworking spaces, take virtual tours of spaces you like and save money on your next office lease! Your Truss tenant rep broker will help you answer these and other questions to find the ideal office location.