As a business owner, negotiating sales terms, purchases and service contracts is part of your day-to-day life. But when it comes to securing retail space, an office lease or industrial workshop, you may not feel as confident in your negotiating skills. Here are some guidelines to help you navigate negotiations:
EDUCATE YOURSELF ON THE CURRENT MARKET VALUES FOR YOUR AREA. Research the average rates for the type of commercial space you need (retail, office or industrial) using websites such as CIMLS.com, CityFeet.com or LoopNet.com. A commercial real estate broker can also show you historical data for the region.
KNOW WHAT YOU NEED. Create a checklist of your needs regarding space, utilities, infrastructure, parking, storage, accessibility to major highways and more. Note which are “nice to have” and which are essential. Be sure to confirm what uses the property is permitted for and that there are no zoning regulations or laws that could adversely affect your business.
UNDERSTAND ALL OF YOUR COSTS. In addition to the cost per square foot, some leases may expect you to pay Common Area Maintenance (CAM) costs, property taxes, insurance, trash collection, repairs and utilities. Depending on the lease terms, you may be expected to pay some or all of these costs directly, pay them to the landlord or have them built into your rent.
ENLIST THE HELP OF A PRO. While a real estate broker can offer a lot of useful information, remember they are working on commission. Get the terms in writing and review with an attorney experienced in commercial real estate who can fully explain the terms, advise you on the length of the lease, subleasing options, remodeling allowances and help you negotiate before you sign any contract.
For help negotiating a commercial real estate lease for your business, contact the Economic Development Collaborative-Ventura County. Conveniently located in Camarillo, California, we’re here to help.