Choosing the perfect office space for your private practice might sound exciting at first. But once you get into the nitty gritty, you realize that you might have bit off more than you can chew.
Renting an office space can feel overwhelming, not to mention scary! But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m here to offer 8 tips for choosing the right space, based on my many years of experience doing so:
1. Don't make any sudden decisions.
Don’t make a quick decision simply because you feel pressured to do so. You want to make sure you feel comfortable and confident about the space that you choose. Don’t listen to the person insisting “it’s too good of a deal to pass up.” Remember that it isn’t a great deal unless you’re ready.
2. Measure the space—don’t take anyone’s word for it.
Unfortunately, sometimes that “2,000 square foot office” turns out to be a 1,500 square foot office. You can’t take anyone’s word for it, so bite the bullet and measure it yourself. You want to make sure that you don’t overpay for square footage that you aren’t getting.
3. Work renewals into the lease agreement.
Landlords know that moving is a pain and an expense! That’s how they get away with hiking up their price after the first year without losing their tenants. The solution is to negotiate these renewal rates BEFORE you move in, not after.
4. Get the right deal.
Typically, you can work the landlord down from what their asking price is. First, you need to find out what’s important to them. Some landlords are fixed on vacancies and worry excessively about not being able to fill their spaces. If that explains your landlord, consider signing a long-term lease with a smaller price. They’ll probably agree to it.
5. Keep an eye out for NNN.
NNN means “triple net” which means the tenant is responsible for paying 1) property taxes, 2) property insurance, and 3) maintenance. These costs certainly add up. And what is particularly frustrating about NNN is that expenses increase despite your rental rate!
6. Consider working with a realtor.
If the landlord has a realtor, get a realtor. It won’t cost you anything, and it’s good to have someone on your side. If the landlord doesn’t have a realtor, getting a realtor might cost you a couple thousand dollars—either in realtor fees you’ll pay, or adjusted rents (so the landlord has money to cover the cost of your realtor).
7. Inquire about HVAC hours.
Some landlords insist that buildings take a long time to cool down and/or warm up. But in my humble opinion, no way. In my personal experience, it only takes an hour or so for temperatures to becomes very uncomfortable. Make sure that the HVAC is available in evenings, on weekends, and on holidays. You don’t want the office building to shut off their heat and air conditioning on you.
8. Prioritize window spaces.
Natural light in a therapy office is super important if you want happy teammates and clients. This might not be at the top of other peoples’ priority lists, but if you’re a counselor, our guess is that it is!
I hope these tips help you find the perfect office space for your private practice. Do you have any of your own advice to offer? I’d love to hear it in the comments!