Businesses move for all kinds of reasons. Maybe they need more space, an updated image, or a better location. They might be launching a startup technology firm or moving up from a home office. Perhaps things haven’t worked well with the current landlord or property management firm and it’s time for a change.
Whatever the reason, it had better be compelling because moving is a complex process. And, the cost of leasing office space is one of a company’s biggest expenses; second only to salaries and wages. Because the decision about whether—and when—to move to new office space is so critical, it pays to plan carefully and ask the right questions before getting started.
Is an office relocation necessary?
What’s making you want to move to new office space, and are there options for resolving those issues without moving? If you have outgrown your existing office or you need to downsize, your current landlord might be able to accommodate your new requirements. Or perhaps your existing space could be renovated or reconfigured to be more efficient.
If your office space is starting to show its age, investigate options for remodeling, updating signage, or redecorating with upscale colors and furnishings.
Is it time to change or enhance your office image?
Does your business need to upgrade the quality or image of its office space? A new facility designed for your specific needs can enhance productivity and have a positive impact on your company’s overall success.
Would a new location be better for business?
A better location could bring you closer to your customer base or even attract new business. First impressions count, and the neighborhood makes an impression on every visitor before they even see your office. Even if the location doesn’t impact your type of business, it can impact your bottom line—rental rates can vary widely in different parts of town. Also, the right location with the right amenities can help attract and retain key employees.
Are there other issues?
Perhaps you are no longer comfortable working with your current landlord or property management firm and you feel it’s time for a change. Are there seasonal fluctuations or other considerations that will affect the timing of your move? For example, if your operation is busiest during the fall and winter, you may want to try and schedule your relocation during the spring or summer months.
Moving to new office space can be a chance for a fresh start and an opportunity to generate excitement among employees and clients. If you decide it’s the right time to make a move, make sure you have a plan and stick to it. And, use a checklist to make sure your move goes as smooth and stress-free as possible.
The time has come to move your office. Make the transition to your company’s new home easier by hiring the right people to carry all the freight.
This doesn’t have to be a painful experience. After all, there are plenty of moving companies out there. Making a choice can’t be all that hard, right? On the contrary, if you don’t find a trustworthy, experienced moving company to help with relocation — it could be more complicated than you think. It is well worth it to spend time doing the necessary homework to ensure your moving company decision is the right one.
In helping countless business owners, office managers, and corporations with their office relocations, I’ve been able to pinpoint some of the key points that can be easily overlooked when choosing an office moving company. Here’s some of the top factors to look for when choosing the right moving company for your office move.
Proven Office-Specific Experience
An office move is far different than a residential move, given the many moving parts and technical specificities. Before you initiate this transition, ensure that the moving companies you notice advertising commercial moving services truly have that kind of experience. Obviously, you don’t want to wait until moving time to discover you’ve hired residential movers. Ask potential moving companies for 3 references of when they moved a business similar to yours. If they have the experience they advertise, this won’t be a problem to quickly get you this information. If they don’t, you can successfully weed out that choice and move on to the next.
Hourly Rates and Net Costs
Professional movers should offer estimates of the hours they need to complete the task, their hourly rate, and/or the job’s total fee. Many people relocating their business choose movers by comparing hourly rates and taking the most economic option. Beware of low rates and less experienced movers who may work slower or less efficiently, which can add to the costs by adding to the project time and bottom line.
Discuss the Details
After having contacted several office moving companies, select a few who can come out to your office and make an estimate based on your specific needs. There are many items that can easily be overlooked, which include:
● Insurance for the buildings and inventory.
● Parking permits.
● Packing services.
● Packaging such as boxes, padding, including sizes and quantity.
● Handling of fragile equipment like computers, mirrors, glass.
● Storage service if needed.
Be sure to bring up the applicable items with the evaluator, don’t be shy. Ask questions as well as for their recommendations on items you may have still overlooked.
Donating Old Office Machines
Invariably, companies moving to a new office find outdated computers, printers, phones, and other unwanted or obsolete items. Prepare for offloading these by donating to recyclers, schools, and employees. It can minimize how much actual waste will be on your hands when the move wraps up.
Use Sturdy Boxes
You know the saying, the right tools for the right job. And moving is no different. Take note of a number of options for containers and don’t skimp on quality; choose moving boxes with strength and durability in mind. In the end, you want safe, protected office materials so that unpacking produces no unpleasant surprises.
Naturally, you’ll want to pack efficiently, and use clear labeling or marking tools to identify where and to whom each container should go. You can easily purchase these supplies or ensure your movers bring enough for the job at hand.
Have a Checklist
I’m going to tell you a secret. Experts at relocation never make a move without a thorough checklist and sticking to it. Although they have the expertise and knowledge of what to look for, they know it can still be easy to overlook a thing or two. Don’t let that happen to you, and use the checklists, forms, and templates the experts use:
If you’re researching commercial moving companies, it means you’re in the home stretch of the office move. Congratulations! Although you are almost there, making the right choice in movers is critical to protecting the overall cost and success of the move. Do the research and you’ll have far less to do after the move is completed.
Considering a move into a new office space? Maybe your business has blossomed and needs
more space, or you simply need a change of venue to impress clients and attract talent. Time to
dream of new amenities or a better location — the possibilities seem endless.
Be prepared to minimize anxiety and stress for yourself, managers, and employees, often a very
avoidable part of a thrilling time for everyone. Consider as many factors and potential pain areas
to make informed decisions. Everyone you ask will have an opinion on where the office should
be, as well as what it should come with or cost. Experts agree that today’s office spaces benefit
most with these 10 must haves. At least, you can consider them when you’re ready.
1. Talent-Attracting Location
There are many things to consider with regard to location. Obviously, the price is a factor, which
can lead managers to move the office further from desirable city hubs in order to save money on
the lease. Yet this decision can cost the business long-term, in a harsher way than you may
realize. To attract the most talented employees, your business needs to look like a desirable
place to work. You can dazzle with great benefits packages, growth opportunities, or maybe a
free gym membership — but if your office is located in a scrappy part of town, that could instantly
be a deal-breaker. Top talent wants to work in top areas, so find an office that is well-located to
attract the best and brightest that can propel your business forward. A bonus here is, a trendier
location can have a positive effect on how potential clients view your company, which can
attract more business directly.
Everyone loves a space with amenities, especially millennials. There is a reason everyone
wants to work at Google because the place is a playground of desirable amenities. This keeps
their talented workforce so happy they are willing to work long hours and on the weekends —
because it doesn’t feel like work! There are many things to consider with regard to amenities,
but some of the basics to lock down include a relaxing eating area, decent restrooms, and some
sort of engagement facility for team building. Additionally, find a space that is well located to
local attractions is a must. Check that there are decent restaurants nearby to entertain clients.
Find someplace close to banks, post offices, or shopping areas so staff can get errands done
3. The Ideal Layout
Every business needs a unique space for their unique business. Consider how many walled
offices there are for senior staff, and if they are suitable for your respectable talent. From there,
how are the open areas if cubicles are part of your model? Would an open layout make more
sense or something more sectioned off for a privacy-sensitive business?
4. Let the Light Shine in
Face it, every office space can’t have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking oceans, mountains,
and breathtaking cityscapes. But indirect sunlight can enhance employee productivity and
improve well-being, so be mindful of how to take full advantage of what light exists. Skylights
help in a big way, as do interior offices with window panels which allow natural light from
external windows to the outside.)
5. Reduced Traffic – Commuter-friendly
Have you ever endured an hour and a half commute? Oh pardon me, that’s an hour and a half
both ways, totaling a 3-hour a day commute. Over a 5-day work week, that’s 15 hours of your
life sitting in the great parking lot that is the busy freeways in the United States. It can be
maddening, and so insufferable even happy employees will look for opportunities elsewhere just
so they can get 10-15 hours of their lives back. Find an office space that is reasonable to get to
traffic-wise, or is at least in an area where public transportation can get your employees to work
in a timely manner.
6. Realistic Square Footage
Don’t take on more office space than you need. Perhaps the entire purpose of your move is to
get more space, but be careful in your projections for growth. A crippling lease price can stymie
that growth, choking the entire purpose of your move in the first place. Make sure that your new
office is suitable for sustained growth, without consuming an excessive chunk of your resources.
7. Avoid Hidden Costs
When comparing any sort of real estate, price comparison is an obvious must. Yet not all
properties can be compared apples-to-apples, as some present their price as an inclusive total
while others surprise you with hidden costs you’d assume should be included with rent. Have an
upfront conversation with the landlord or leasing agent to ensure you are truly getting everything
you need at the price presented.
How big of a pain in the face is the parking situation? The second most annoying thing about
getting to work after traffic is hunting for parking — and the last thing you need are disgruntled
employees who have spent the first part of their day grumbling. If the space is in the center of
the city, check if there are parking passes you can provide for employees, or at least give them
discounts for. If not, public transportation is another option and something you could provide as
part of a benefits package to keep your commuters happy.
9. Secure Building
Everyone wants to feel safe, especially your employees. There are several ways to approach
this important factor, and it all depends on the location of the chosen space. If the building is in
a low crime area, safety could be easy to overlook, but is absolutely not something to forget
about. For example in more remote areas, make sure the parking lot is well-lit and the building
is reasonably secure with alarms and security surveillance. In more urban areas, higher security
precautions should be taken. Is there a security guard on duty, or ID-required building access?
Whatever the area, make sure to ask questions. Have there been any recent break-ins? Are the
windows and skylights secure? A safe environment makes for an at ease labor force.
10. Room to Expand
As previously discussed, make sure you choose the right square footage for your space. But
remember to think ahead at the possibility of rapid growth. How difficult would it be to expand
your business to more space in this building? Could you easily rent the office next door? Or is
there enough space in the larger areas to section off for more employees? It’s never too early to
In the hunt for a new office space, there are clearly many things to consider. Yet the juggle of
possibilities is well-worth the effort, to ensure your decision is an improvement on your current
space, which will lead to a happier, more motivated staff.
For more ideas, check out our Office Relocation Checklist.
What do NNN, FS, FSEJ, and MG stand for?
These acronyms refer to the way that building operating expenses are paid for. The components that make up operating expenses include property taxes, common area maintenance, property insurance, utilities and janitorial service.
The most common types of leases are:
NNN (triple net) – the tenant pays for all of the operating expenses in addition to the rent
FS (full service) – the landlord pays for all of the operating expenses, which are included in the rent. Phone and internet are paid by Tenant.
FSEJ (full service excluding janitorial) – the landlord pays for all of the operating expenses, except for janitorial service, phone, and internet.
MG (modified gross) – the landlord pays for all of the operating expenses except utilities, janitorial, phone and internet.
Move Your Office can help you analyze each prospective property to determine the actual cost of occupancy, based on how the operating expenses are handled.
Why does my company need a tenant representative?
Landlords and their representatives negotiate leases on a daily basis, while the typical business tenant does so once every three to five years, if ever. Given those odds, who do you think will come out ahead at the bargaining table?
Engaging a tenant representative ensures that your company’s interests are protected and that you find the best location at the best terms. A tenant representative will not only level the playing field, he or she can even create competition among landlords to win your business.
What about cost: how are tenant representatives compensated?
Your tenant representative’s commission is typically paid by the landlord. Just as the seller pays the realtor commission in residential real estate, the landlord pays the commission in commercial real estate.
If you work exclusively with your landlord’s representative, that individual earns the entire commission. However, if you engage a tenant representative to look out for your interests, he or she will split the commission with the landlord’s representative when the lease is signed.
How does tenant representation work?
Working with a commercial real estate broker as your representative means that your best interests are driving every step, from the facility search to lease negotiation. It also means you and your staff can focus on running and growing the business while your tenant representative handles the relocation research and legwork.
How does my tenant representative discover the best properties?
Your tenant representative will scour the market to turn up any and all properties that meet your requirements, regardless of which brokerage firm has the property listed. In contrast, the landlord’s representative is obligated to promote their clients’ buildings.
Your tenant representative will also know about unadvertised opportunities and creative alternatives that would not occur to someone unfamiliar with the market.
How can my company be sure we’re not overpaying for office space?
Working with a tenant representative is the best way to make sure you’re getting the most competitive lease terms available in your market. For example, part of a tenant representative’s strategy will be to create a bidding war between two or more landlords by sending out a well-crafted Request for Proposal (RFP) to each one. Even if you’re really only interested in one property, your representative will choose one or two similar properties to negotiate against, thus encouraging landlords to compete for your tenancy.
Can a tenant representative help with renewals as well as new leases?
Absolutely. Tenant representatives frequently negotiate renewals on their clients’ behalf. In addition to analyzing the renewal terms, your representative will also show you what else is available on the market to ensure that you’re still getting the best available terms.
Why tenant representation is crucial to getting the best lease possible
Driving around town, anywhere you find vacant office, industrial or retail space you’ll also find a sign emblazoned with the company and contact information for one real estate broker or another. These brokers represent building owners, but there’s another type of commercial real estate broker – one that provides tenant representation.
A tenant representative caters to the businesses looking for a place to set up shop. It’s a specialization many tenants appreciate when approaching a lease negotiation. Landlords and their representatives usually bring one distinct advantage to the table: They negotiate leases on a daily basis, while the typical tenant only enters into a lease once every three to five years. Because tenants negotiate leases so infrequently, they’re not as practiced with the strategies that lead to the best outcomes for their needs.
A commercial real estate broker experienced in tenant representation can level that playing field for you with their focused history in negotiating for tenants. Not only that, these representatives know how to comfortably guide you through the whole process of finding and securing a new space or new lease – a prospect that can seem daunting to the average tenant.
The key to successful tenant representation is knowledge. Your broker should know your business goals and thoroughly understand the ins and outs of the local commercial real estate market.
A tenant representative will:
- Assist you in developing a strategic real estate plan that is consistent with your larger business vision.
- Help you determine your particular office space needs, including the type and size of your space.
- Analyze the market and identify potential properties that meet your specific criteria.
- Provide a comparative property and financial analysis to narrow the list of alternatives.
- Work with the landlord to maximize the tenant improvement allowance available to design or reconfigure the space.
- Negotiate as much flexibility in lease terms as possible.
To find a good tenant representative, interview several brokers and ask the following questions:
- Do you specialize in a particular property type?
- How long have you been working in commercial real estate?
- Have you worked with other companies like ours?
- Do you have more experience in certain parts of town?
- How do you find available space?
- Can you provide references for recent lease transactions?
Also ask about their education and credentials. Hiring a broker with the CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) designation will ensure you are getting an experienced tenant representation professional with a proven track record.
Many tenants don’t realize that a tenant representative can also represent clients when it comes to lease renewals. Having tenant representation on your side of the negotiating table will help ensure that your renewal terms are in line with the market and that you are receiving competitive concessions that many renewing tenants don’t realize are available.
In larger markets, the majority of tenants utilize the service of a tenant representative in their initial search for commercial space and a significant number also use them to negotiate lease renewals.
So next time you find yourself looking for either new space or a lease renewal on your current space, consider having tenant representation on your side. Engaging a tenant specialist ensures that your company’s interests are protected and that you find the right location at competitive terms.