Whether you’re buying a shiny new Range Rover or a solid Toyota for the family, you’ll get to test drive it before you drive off with it for the next 3 to 5 years. Even when you’re buying a R300 bottle of wine at a restaurant, you’re able to taste it first to see that it’s not corked.
Yet when it comes to investing in an office lease – which could mean hundreds of thousands or even millions of rands for your business – you can’t “test drive” anything to do with your new office before you move in! With this in mind, we’ve got four pieces of solid advice on how to get the best out of your new office lease…
- Make sure you have flexibility
As the tenant, you may be able to redesign your office space to suit your brand, make sure that you are allowed to appoint the designers and contractors that best suit you. Some landlords may, for example, insist that you use a certain office fitout company that they designate – but this company may not share the same vision as you do for what you want your office to look like. Negotiating flexibility in this area means being able to appoint the right fitout company to match your company vision.
- Negotiate budget for “blank slates”
Whichever site your landlord rents to you should come with a suitable budget to enable the space to be turned into a comfortable, functional office space that works for your specific business. For example, if your new office space currently is a blank grey box, make sure that you have enough allowance for things like new air conditioning, ceilings, lights and power – over and above an allowance for your fitout.
- Make sure there’s room to adapt existing installations
If you’re renting a new office with an existing installation from the previous tenant, make sure that your landlord is “making good” the installation – in other words that its quality suits your needs and is worthwhile keeping. If not, you may ask your landlord to cover maintenance or improvement to an existing installation that needs work, for example, or for them to cover other minor changes to the existing fitout that will work better for you.
- Don’t forget about escalations
While negotiating your rental amount per square metre for your new office space, don’t forget to consider the escalation percentage. In other words, make sure you know what the increase in rental will be year on year. These escalations can quickly snowball and have a significant effect on what you’re paying overall, especially over a three or five year period.
Moving into a new office is exciting: it’s a breath of fresh air that marks a new chapter in the life of your business. But it’s also a huge commitment, with no “test run” beforehand as with buying a set of shiny new wheels, for example. So, before you seal the deal on your office space for the next 3 to 5 years, get savvy with your lease negotiations, so you can ensure the best possible outcome for your business for the next half a decade.