Chapter 1: First Steps — Questions to ask internally before making your first call
Most brokers can take the answers to these questions and make an estimate on size range sufficient to begin the search. If the initial search results/floor plans come back smaller or larger than you need, the search can be refined.
One way to get a more definitive idea of the amount of space required would be to hire a space planner to “program” your requirement. The planner would ask all of the questions above (and more, with additional clarity) and would be able to provide you with a tighter likely range of sizes for your search.
For smaller requirements, this effort comes at an additional cost up front and is usually bypassed. For larger projects (10,000 square feet and up, for example) brokers will often work with a space planner to provide this service at no additional cost (essentially, the broker agrees to take it out of her fee).
Whatever avenue you choose, getting the size down correctly is important. In our experience, companies spend too much time focused on rent per square foot and not enough time on finding the best layout and efficiency.
Consider the example below of two competing spaces: Space A is in a class A building in the perfect location with all of the amenities you are looking for. In addition, it is an efficient building from a space standpoint. The industry measures this with an R/U factor (Rentable/Usable). The denominator (Usable) is the actual square footage of the office suite itself. The Rentable area is the area adjusted for the pro rata amount of common area (hallways, restrooms, mechanical rooms, etc.).
Space B is a class B building with a good location with pretty good amenities and nearly as efficient as Space A
Now, in this example, Space A is obviously still more expensive. However, despite the fact that the gross rent
per square foot for the Space A option is 18.5% more expensive, the actual rent paid would only be 5.5%
more expensive.You will almost always save more in rent by finding/designing efficient space than by negotiating down to the
last 25 cents per square foot on the rate.
Founder Eric Dueholm is a licensed real estate broker and is an agent for The Terrace Group. He is a twenty year veteran of the commercial real estate industry and has completed over 10 million square feet of office and industrial transactions throughout the United states and internationally.