Dear Small Business Owner: Before You Sign or Renew Your Lease

Dear Small Business Owner,

If you’re moving from your home office into a commercial space…congratulations! That’s a huge milestone for you and your business. If you don’t know, leasing a commercial space is nothing like leasing an apartment. Oh, the things that are hidden within your 40-page lease agreement! Thinking about the corner office on the top floor? Unless you’re cold natured and like the heat, you should probably reconsider.

commercial lease office space

There are a number of things to review before you sign on the dotted line. And according to Michica Guillory, former property manager, broker, and owner of Commercial Leasing 101, determining where your desk and the smoothie machine go are some of the last things you consider when looking for a suitable space.

Michica suggests hiring a Realtor® even if you’re leasing a single office in an office building. She said, “You’re going to pay those bills. Your share of all utilities, the housekeeping, the trash pickup and the landscaping. You still need someone there to help you negotiate your share. You can be paying a bill every year that escalates beyond what you ever thought you could manage financially. A Realtor® may help you put a cap on that.”

If you’re currently renting commercial space, did you know there are certain things you can negotiate? You can negotiate repairs, and whether or not you really have to pay for recent capital investments. Michica also says, it’s tough but you could renegotiate a signed lease.

Michica and I talked about permits, signage requirements, triple net expenses, capital investment, and percentage rent. She even shared how going to view a space and signing a lease without an agent could cost you.

Renting a commercial space is a major decision and comes with financial responsibilities you may not have even considered. Michica shares her knowledge and gives you what you need to know before you sign or renew that lease.

Click here to listen to the hour-long interview.

Click here for the transcript.

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