Renting a space

When choosing a location for your business, you may decide to buy or lease space, or even work from home. Other options include sharing an office, or renting a workstation or meeting room at a nearby business centre when the need arises. If you are starting small, you may be able to make do with a modest space or less conventional setting.

Here are some factors to consider when making the decision to rent.

The space: How much room do you really need?

You could aspire to an office, a store or a restaurant with all the bells and whistles, but you may have to consider less expensive options when starting out. Operating from a booth, a cart or your basement might make the most financial sense until your business grows. If you don't need a lot of storage room for inventory, materials or merchandise, take advantage of the situation by renting only as much space as necessary. Online office space calculators can help give you a rough idea of what type of unit you require for your business.

The rent: What costs are involved?

In many cases you will pay a fixed rent that could include some common operating costs, but if you are in the retail business your rent might include a percentage of your sales. There may also be upfront expenses that you cannot defer, such as the payment of a security deposit along with the rent. Keep in mind that many things that are normally included in a more permanent retail lease may not be available to a temporary (pop-up) business.

While negotiating your rental agreement, make sure that you find out about any upcoming renovations that could hinder your business operations. Will there be any limitations on your business hours or anything else that could prevent your customers from having easy access to you when they need it? You may also want to find out if any of your competitors are renting space nearby.

The lease: The importance of legal advice

Your lease or rental agreement is a binding legal document. Whether you are familiar with legal terminology or not, make sure you have legal advice before signing any leases. Seeking legal counsel could also help ensure that your business needs are met by the rental agreement.

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