Needing office space within 90 days is like a basketball team being down with only 90 seconds left in the game. You can still achieve your goal, but you need a proven game plan, a strong team effort and a full court press strategy.
Normally, you should plan to give yourself at least six months to move, which is the time frame it will take for a needs analysis, market study, tours, letter of intent, lease negotiation, space planning, permits, construction and moving logistics. A minimum of 12 months is preferred.
However, you can still secure office space on a time crunch.
- First consider the type and class of space, size ranges, price range and geographic areas that could possibly work. Start with a broad range to give yourself more options.
- Be prepared to pre-manage important lease terms. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of lease terms that can have a material impact on your business. Think through the most important ones for your situation. For example, flexibility from renewal options, expansion options, sublease rights and business sale situations. Consider financial terms like personal guarantees, caps on expenses, and potential free rent incentives.
- Prepare your financials in advance to expedite approval.
- Prepare a request for proposal (RFP) outline for your requirements.
- Engage a motivated office tenant rep who will prioritize your move, and pick a real estate lawyer prepared to review a lease.
- Align potential third parties including an architect and space planner, moving company, furniture vendor, and internet and phone solutions.
- Schedule a daily meeting or call to discuss progress and next steps.
Full Court Press
- Your tenant rep should call contacts for all buildings that might possibly handle the size and timing of your requirement. Beyond just searching listings for space, calling can uncover new or off-market opportunities.
- Search online yourself for potential space. If you contact property representatives, let them know you have a tenant rep.
- Search for already-built-out space that requires little to no construction. You may only have time to paint and put down new flooring.
- Look for open floor plans to customize with furniture and movable interior walls. Modular wall systems can be installed quickly.
- Consider sublease opportunities. Be aware, sublease rights are subject to the original tenant's lease. They can only provide rights they have in their lease, and if they default, your sublease may not be honored.
- Consider properties for sale. If a purchase makes sense, acquire the property. It's also possible a buyer will acquire the property based on your lease.
- Consider shared space. Some companies offer excess space to companies in a compatible business.
- Tour coworking spaces. Companies like Regus, WeWork and Servcorp, for example, provide flexible options.
About the Author: Michael Bull
Michael Bull, CCIM is an active commercial broker with 30-years and $5 billion in transaction experience. Michael is founder of Bull Realty, www.BullRealty.com, America's Commercial Real Estate Show, www.CREshow.com and Commercial Agent Success Strategies, www.CommercialAgentSuccess.com.