Looking for a New Office? 10 Tips for Advisors

Are you expanding? Is your current lease increasing in cost and you want to see what else is out there? Looking for a new office can be a long and sometimes painful experience. Over the years, I’ve helped a number of financial advisors find new office space. Here are a few tips that can help you prepare and navigate all the ins and outs of sourcing your next office.

  1. Location and size – Where are most of your clients located? Being centrally located will allow all clients to reach you easily. Also know how many square feet you will need to staff your office accordingly. Customarily, 250 sq ft per person is a good starting range. That number may have to be adjusted higher if you need more private offices or would require multiple or a large conference room(s). Alternatively, you could adjust it lower if you prefer a large open work area.
  2. Work with a local real estate agent who knows the area well – Working with larger firms will sometimes leave you without the personal knowledge of the area. Don’t be afraid to interview several agents to get the right one. A few tips for finding the right agent:
  • Local Expertise – You really want someone that understands your needs and where that fits in your area.
  • Responsiveness – There is a big difference between an agent who is there to meet your needs and agents who are there for a commission check. You want to make sure your agent genuinely cares about your needs and is available when you need him/her.
  • Marketing – An agent who puts time and energy into marketing is likely to have more access to potential sellers, buyers, and renters.
  1. Handicapped Access / Restrooms – Make sure clients can get into your office. Being on a level above ground will inhibit some clients from getting to your office, unless there is an elevator. If this is not possible, make time to meet those clients somewhere easily accessible. Some restrooms are common or shared between tenants, if that is the case make sure they are easily accessible to your clients.
  2. Parking – Be sure to have adequate parking for clients and staff. This depends partly on the local code but also on how your office operates. Code may be X number of spaces per X square footage. That may certainly be enough, but if you have multiple clients in at a time you may need a few more. You will also need 1 space per employee. Access to handicap spaces will be required as well and is most likely part of the local code. Your town or city hall (or even your agent) can help you find out what the local code is.
  3. Signage – Be sure you can have appropriate signage for clients to find you. Most buildings and towns have signage regulations, and some are quite strict. Be sure to negotiate your signage needs up front. Again, your agent will be able to find out what the local code is on signage. If you are part of an office building with multiple tenants – start with the leasing office for info.
  4. Cost – if you don’t currently have an office, set a price point that you can easily afford. Be sure to include utilities. An average rent to revenue percentage would be rent at about 10-15% of your monthly revenue but it depends largely on how comfortable you are. For an article that goes into more depth, click here
  5. Lease – Have a lawyer review your lease. Sometimes simple leases can be drawn up, but a lot of times they are lengthy and include legal terms, limits, and costs you may not be familiar with. Your agent should have at least a couple real estate attorneys they can recommend, but ultimately the choice is yours. Some states have more complex real estate laws than others, so your lawyer needs to work specifically in commercial real estate and be able to handle all the legal issues that may arise. Don’t be afraid to ask for references or even examples of complex issues that the lawyer has handled previously. And lastly, know what your costs will be and what additional costs you might incur if issues do come up.
  6. Lease Negotiation – Some items in your lease may be negotiable. Such as, negotiating a longer term for a lower rent cost, signage, parking spaces, and negotiating upgrades to the office. Your agent and lawyer can walk you through some of these that you feel are important.
  7. Insurance – Insurance requirements will be in your lease, make sure your coverage is adequate. You must carry—at minimum—what the lease requires. But if you feel you want more you can always carry a higher amount. Your insurance agent should be able to tell you what is customary in your area (if you are in a severe weather area, you may want to increase coverage).
  8. Access – Access to the property may or may not be important to you on weekends or after hours, but if it is, make sure you are granted that access—in writing--when needed.

With these tips you will be well on your way to finding the right office for your business and clients.

 

 

Symmetry Partners, LLC, provides this communication on this site as a matter of general information. Information contained herein, including data or statistics quoted, are from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed or warranted. Nothing on this site represents a recommendation of any particular security, strategy, or investment product. The opinions of the author are subject to change without notice. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may not be reflective of current opinions or positions. All content on this site is for educational purposes and should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any security for sale. Please be advised that Symmetry Partners does not provide tax or legal advice and nothing either stated or implied here on this site should be inferred as providing such advice. Symmetry Partners does not approve or endorse any third party communications on this site and will not be liable for any such posts.

Diversification seeks to reduce volatility by spreading your investment dollars into various asset classes to add balance to your portfolio. Using this methodology, however, does not guarantee a profit or protection from loss in a declining market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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