Questions to Ask Before Signing a Commercial Lease

Whether you’re moving your business out of your home or the office space you’ve been working in is too small for your growing company’s needs, the prospect of looking for commercial space can be overwhelming. You can’t be too careful when signing a lease for space. Choosing the wrong space could hurt your business if clients find it too difficult to access or you don’t get the amenities you require. 

This checklist will help you make the best decision on a commercial lease.

Before you talk to an agent, think about:

lease agreement

  • How large or small an area do you need?
  • Do you need walk-in traffic or simply industrial space?
  • Do you want an anchor store nearby?
  • What amenities do you desire?

Before you hire a broker, ask yourself:

  • Does the broker have a specialization in a geographic area or in a specific type of commercial space?
  • How much experience does the broker have with small businesses? With businesses in your industry?
  • How many other clients does the broker work with at one time?
  • What resources does the broker have for market research?
  • What is the broker’s strategy to find you a space?

Ask the commercial agent:

  • What is the minimum lease requirement? Typically, commercial landlords require a one-year lease, but some require two to three years.
  • Are utilities included? (They usually are not.)
  • Will the landlord pay for fit-up changes to the space, such as layout, paint, new carpet or special electrical needs? (The tenant usually pays fit-up, but sometimes landlords will agree to amortize the fit-up costs over the term of the lease.)
  • What are the traffic numbers? The agent should have car counts and community demographics.
  • Is there room for expansion or the option to move to a larger space in the same building/center if it becomes available?
  • What is the parking situation for both employees and customers?
  • Can you secure a non-compete clause to ensure no similar business can open in the building/center?

About the Author

Canon LogoCanon U.S.A. is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. With approximately $36 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc., is one of Fortune Magazine's World’s Most Admired Companies in 2014. Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest level of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. Learn more at usa.canon.com.