21 Tips When Renting Your First Office Space


Renting your first office space can be an exciting turning point for your business. But choosing just any office would be a mistake. You need to make sure that your office is one that will support your team and allow you to grow and thrive. Below are things to consider before renting your first office space.

Tips for Renting Your First Office Space

Decide If You Really Need One

Businesses used to need dedicated offices in order to survive. But plenty of entrepreneurs today do just fine working from home offices or even co-working spaces. If your business could function in one of these alternative environments, you could save yourself a lot of time and money.

Choose a Location Near Your Team

If it is absolutely essential for you to have a dedicated office space, then the location is likely your most important consideration when renting your first office space. You first need to ensure that the office will be close enough for your team members to commute. Or if you don’t have a team just yet, choose an office that close enough to an area that’s populated with potential talent.

Ensure That it is Easily Accessible for Others

You also have to keep clients in mind when choosing a location. Is the office building you’re considering easily accessible from freeways or public transportation? Will they be able to find it easily?

Think About What Amenities You Want Nearby

Another factor when renting your first office space that could impact your location decision is the nearby amenities. Your team will likely appreciate an office that’s at least somewhat close to restaurants and coffee shops. And if there are certain places you need to visit regularly for business purposes, like meeting spaces or banks, you’ll want those to be nearby as well.

Have a Strict Budget in Mind

After location, cost is likely your next big concern. Don’t choose an office that is going to put your business too far into debt and stunt its growth. Crunch the numbers before you even start looking to find a budget that will allow you to operate comfortably.

Account for Extra Expenses

There are a lot of expenses that go into renting an office space. The actual rent is just part of it, when it comes to most properties. And those extra expenses can really add up if you don’t account for them in your original budget.

Paul Miller, brokerage vice president for Office Services Group in Dayton, Ohio said in an email to Small Business Trends, “Make sure you understand what is included (and not) in the quoted rent. Does the Landlord want you to pay for your utilities? Phone and data? Snow and ice removal? Make sure it’s clear, and that it’s spelled out clearly in the Lease.”

Make Sure the Lease is Clear

Just knowing what’s included is one thing when renting your first office space. You need to also make sure that all of those provisions are clearly spelled out in the lease. You don’t want to just take your landlord’s word that some utilities are included only to be charged for them later since that wasn’t officially stated in your lease.



Find Out Who is Responsible for Repairs

Repairs for your space can also represent a significant expense. If your landlord is responsible for those expenses, make sure they are willing to take care of them in a timely manner. But if you are, make sure there’s some wiggle room into your budget.

Get Help From an Expert

The process of looking for office space can be overwhelming for a newbie. But if you find a commercial real estate agent or broker who is familiar with the properties in the area, they can make the whole process a lot easier. Ask around or search on an online portal like Colliers International to find someone in your target community.

Find a Secure Building

The building itself should offer some amenities as well. To keep you, your employees and your equipment safe and secure, find out if the building has a security guard, manned entry way and after-hours security.

Choose a Space That Fits Your Team

Of course, you will need a large enough space for the members of your team to each have a desk or place to sit. But you don’t want something so large that you’re paying for entire rooms that you never use.

But Leave Some Room to Grow

However, a bit of extra space can be a good thing, especially if you plan to grow within the length of your lease. Even a few extra cubicle spaces or some room to add a few desks can be helpful.

Decide How You Want the Office Laid Out

Do you want an open concept or more closed-off work spaces? Different bosses and teams have different preferences. So think about what style would suit your team best and choose an office that lends itself to your preferred layout.

Know Exactly in What Condition You’ll Receive the Space

Some offices don’t always come as advertised. And some might require a bit of work before you actually move your things in. If you want to know exactly what the space will look like if you actually decide to rent it, you have to ask those questions. Miller says:

“Make sure you understand how the space will be delivered. Do you require improvements like paint and carpet, or do you need walls and doors moved or added? Who will pay for these improvements?”

Consider Parking and Bike Storage

Parking is another important factor that might be overlooked when renting your first office space. You need to make sure there are enough parking spaces nearby so that your team can actually get to work on time without much hassle. A secure parking lot or dedicated area is a plus. Or if you’re in an area where there are more bikers, make sure there’s a rack or enough space somewhere in the building for employees to store their bikes.

Think About How the Office Will Appear to Others

Like it or not, your office sends a message to others about your business. If you choose a building that’s falling apart, that could tell clients that you’re struggling. But if you overextend your budget with a lavish space for your first office, they could think that they’re paying you too much.

Have a Place to Meet

Aside from just desks or cubicles, you’ll need to think about some other spaces that could be useful to your team. Do you need a dedicated conference room or a few smaller meeting rooms? Do you need a kitchen or any other specific types of spaces?

Know What You’re Allowed to Customize

You likely want to make your first office your own. But most landlords probably don’t want you knocking down walls and completely changing their buildings. So before you sign anything, see what you’re allowed to do to the space without them charging you for damages.

Consider the Lease Length

The length of your lease can be another important factor in your decision when renting your first office space. For your first office, you might not want to get tied into a really long-term commitment. You don’t want to be stuck with an office space if your business folds, sells or outgrows the space.

Have Confidence in Your Business Moving Forward

For that reason, you really have to think about where you see your business at the end of that time period. If it’s a five-year lease, where do you see your business in five years? And do you have an actual plan to get there?

Have Provisions in Place for an Early Exit

Just in case, you should know what might happen if you have to break your lease. Make sure that you’re comfortable with any fees or other penalties just in case something changes throughout the course of your lease.

Office Space Photo via Shutterstock

13 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

13 Reactions

  1. Well stated and good advice. I’ve spent 40 years in the commercial design business and this in good advice.

  2. Hi Annie,

    I like that your 1st point was to, make sure that you need an office before diving in.

    Also as a possible money saver… occupied offices may rent out space to you within their own space. It can be a lot cheaper and a temporary solution whilst you business grows.

  3. I’m looking for an office space now as my business is growing, and this is very helpful. I’ve signed a few bad contracts before, and the “early exit” point is absolutely critical. That also gives you an out in case you missed one of the other points and you’re stuck with a 3-5 year lease.

    Thanks so much Annie! Glad I found this article, it was quick but thorough.

  4. Great tips!! Renting an office space is an exciting time for any small business owner.

  5. These are all great tips. Renting an office space should be planned strategically, considering all factors that might affect the company, both on either positive or negative ways. Seriously, if companies really want to assure themselves of having the most appropriate available office spaces for them, seeking professional guidance will be a great choice. There are lots of companies offering office space for rent, but companies should really invest a lot of time finding the right company to assist them, and be able to acquire an office space which is business ready and designed for overall success.

  6. I am a massage therapist and am needing to rent out an office space so I can massage my clients. I like how you mentioned to make sure the office space is easily accessible for my clients. I will definitely keep this in mind when finding the perfect space. Thanks for the information!

  7. I like your tip about leaving room to grow. Sometimes, it is difficult to remember how things change and get better with time. I tend to think that how work is right now is how it will always be. Leaving room to grow in an office space will allow you to really reach your full potential. Thank you for such a helpful and applicable article!

  8. Hi Annie,

    Your tips are very helpful! office space can be one of the most exciting and important challenges for a business. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I wanted to know more about the process of renting office space. It is good to know that questions should be asked before sealing the deal. I like the point about knowing exactly in what condition the space will be received. Something else to consider would be to ensure that a reasonable cost is being paid for the location.

  10. I really like that you point out to leave some room to grow when renting office space. I agree that this would really important, especially if you plan on your team growing. Should I ever be in this situation, I’ll definitely keep this in mind.

  11. I agree that when choosing an office space you need to consider the location you want. It makes sense that keeping this in mind can help you get the services you need to make sure your business is taken cared of. I would want to make sure I consult with a professional to find the best deal I can.

  12. A well-written article indeed! It is a big decision for every business organization to choose an ideal office space. It covered almost every aspect related to renting an office space.

  13. Simple and clear pointers. I’m going to make it as a checklist for my use. Thanks a ton. I’m on the verge of renting a serviced office in Bangalore, India. As per your pointers and in my view, Evoma serviced office is fitting in perfectly. Hope I succeed.

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