It’s no secret most people don’t like moving and an office move is no different. The packing and unpacking, negotiating leases and searching for the perfect spot is never fun. But, leases expire and firms outgrow their space so sometimes it’s unavoidable. Although I can’t help you with the actual logistics of moving, I can help you identify and choose the best office location.
First things first. The location you choose is absolutely, positively crucial. I repeat, crucial. Two important factors to consider: You need to be within 20 minutes of where your client base resides and it should be easy for people to find your office.
Now to make this a little easier on yourself, you might consider working with a commercial real estate agent. Not only can they tell you what the rent will be like in various areas but they can also find specific locations in town that fall in your criteria and would be of interest to you. In addition, they can even view the property for you thus saving you valuable time.
You’ll also want to keep these other suggestions in mind when choosing your next office space:
- Steer clear of downtown. Typically these locations are high traffic areas with limited parking making it inconvenient for your clients and prospects.
- One-way streets are not your friend (are they ever though?). You’ll want to avoid areas that require clients to use one-way streets to get to your office.
- Location, location, location. Choose a “known area” like a shopping mall, doctor offices, medical centers or other notable landmarks. Plus, by doing so, your clients will be able to find your office even easier.
- Freeways are the way to go. Select an area that has easy access to a main mode of travel, like freeways, highways or well-traveled routes.
- Free parking is a must. The building should have plenty of free parking in a non-gravel lot for its guests or you should provide validation. Note: parking should be in close proximity to the building to accommodate for bad weather. And, don’t forget your client base is older and might not be able to walk far.
- Choose ground level or an office with an elevator.
- Ensure wheel chair accessibility. If your office isn’t accessible for everyone, you might be losing business before they even visit your office.
- Select an area with clean, maintained common areas and grounds, not necessarily a “high rent” location. First impressions and appearance go a long way.
Remember: keep your clientele in mind while looking at facilities. What kind of office would they like to come to? A large portion of your clientele may have come from the depression era and might be more sensitive as to what you spend their fees on. Believe me, office facilities that are “too nice” can actually work against you sometimes! So, ditch the idea of a flashy, overly expensive looking office and go for something that you and your clients can call home.
Moving is never easy, but I hope by writing this I’ve at least made this part of the process just a little easier and more manageable for your next office move.
Practice Building Consultant
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128