Getting the best deal on your commercial lease: part one

Leasing office space is one of the biggest expenses most small business owners face. But with so much on their plate, many business owners just take the lease provided by their landlord and sign without trying to negotiate for better terms. Even knocking a small percentage off of monthly rent could free up valuable money that could be used elsewhere in your business.

Fortunately, knowing how to negotiate can pay off big when developing a commercial Lease agreement. A few essential tips can put you in a better position to get the space and utilities you need at a cost you can handle.

Know the ins and outs of the lease

Naturally, the first step to negotiating a contract is knowing what it covers. In addition to the basic office space, leases can specify who is responsible for insurance, maintenance and utilities. Whether these costs are covered or not could make a difference for your budget. Knowing these details will enable you to negotiate intelligently.

Enlist an expert to help

Even if you have a head for business, it is wise to work with an expert on negotiating your lease. A broker or attorney should be able to catch nuances that someone less experienced in real estate may miss. Your landlord is likely using one and you want to be on a level playing field, so try to at least have an expert look over the agreement and alert you to any red flags that could cost you down the road.

Next week we’ll discuss some more tips for negotiating an advantage commercial lease, including how best to plan ahead for negotiation and evaluate whether it’s time to find another landlord.

Source: Free Enterprise, “How to Negotiate Better Commercial Leases,” Deanne Katz, Oct. 25, 2012

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