We’ve all heard it before: location, location, location. Yet, office real estate, particularly in downtown and high-profile areas, is often costly. If you own a small company and want to save money, you might be tempted to move to the suburbs or an industrial park where rents and related costs are significantly lower.
There are many factors to balance when deciding where to rent office space. For instance, an office in a prominent business hub typically offers easier access to public transportation, industry contacts and other resources. This is important because being closer to public transportation and other urban amenities can also help attract a larger pool of job applicants.
Here are six key questions to ask when deciding on an office location.
Is your business growing?
If your business isn’t growing, doesn’t plan to grow, and if your customers don’t typically visit your firm, then your office can be located in a less-popular area, says Bruce Ailion, an Atlanta realtor. However, if yours is a growing business that holds weekly customer meetings or monthly networking events, then image can be very important. A convenient and prestigious location can make all the difference.
Can your employees work off site?
Some companies have an easier time tolerating smaller office space than enduring inferior office space, Ailion says. Consider allowing your employees to work from home to save money on rent rather than moving to cheaper space. Instead of assigning a desk to each employee, he suggests offering office hoteling, where employees sign up for a desk on the days they need to be in the office for a meeting. This arrangement works especially well for companies with a sales team.
How visible does your company need to be?
Location is critical for some businesses, and the signs on their doors or buildings are their primary sources of advertising, says Lon Bruce, a realtor in Berkeley, California. Ailion agrees, saying, “Most of the clients I work with will later comment that their location has been critical to their success.”
Do you sell a service or a product?
If your business offers a service, location may be less important, Bruce says. In fact, some businesses may benefit from a location that is more industrial and closer to freeways and transit hubs. If there is little need for clients to visit your office, it makes sense to locate in a less-expensive area and save on overhead costs.
Where do most of your staff and your clients live?
If neither your staff nor your clients live downtown, there is no reason to have an office located there, especially since traffic and the cost to park a car can add to the stress of commuting. Also, keep in mind that if you locate in the city but opt for an “edgy location,” the crime rate could be higher, Ailion says. An office in the suburbs might make more sense and be more affordable.
Don’t rule out condo space
If you’re considering locating in the suburbs, Bruce says you might want to look at new condos. Many newer condos offer retail space at the street level, making your signage visible to potential new customers.
Before signing a contract for office space, consider the options and what works best for your business, staff and clients.