Where you build your business is as important as what you’re building it for. The wrong storefront location or warehouse site can create confusion for your customers, hassles for your employees, and costly operational inefficiencies for your business. Here are five tips on how to find the perfect space for your startup.

Determine What Your Business Needs

Businesses have different needs depending on what product/service they are offering and what business model they are utilizing. A shipping company, for instance, will have different needs in terms of space, accessibility, and cost compared with a technology startup. To get a cost estimate and idea of what type of work space best fits your startup, research where competitors are setting up camp. Understand what the pros and cons are to leasing at these locations.

List Your Questions in Advance

Preparing your questions in advance ensures that you understand all the leasing terms and conditions of each option well enough to make informed decisions in the end. You do not want to end up with a 3-year lease only to find out that the building needs repairs or does not meet your layout requirements. Key questions to ask your broker, your landlord, or yourself include how big is the space exactly, what amenities are included in the rent, crime rate in the said location, and the demographics of people living in the neighborhood. You’d want to know if there are enough people in the neighborhood to either hire as employees or market to as customers.

Work With a Commercial Real Estate Broker

While it’s definitely possible to find a business location on your own, having a real estate broker assist you every step of the way can simplify the process. One of the many benefits of hiring a commercial broker is that they have access to exclusive listings that you don’t have. In addition, they are more experienced in negotiating lower and more flexible lease terms with landlords. To find a trustworthy commercial broker, ask for referrals from local business owners who’ve used the services of a commercial broker before.

Consider Private Rentals

A private office rental in Utah location for example, is ideal for startups since these locations are designed to house small teams and individuals. It offers more privacy and room to store sensitive files while also keeping monthly leasing rates low. Private offices also come furnished with a break room, secured mailboxes, high-speed network, and security solutions. Compared with shared work spaces, a private office rental emanates a more exclusive and prestigious presence for your brand in the eyes of potential investors and customers.

Accessibility to Commuters

Imagine renting a retail location in upstate New York. While it may work out for your business, chances are that your customer base will be limited to people who own and drive a car. Choose a location that is accessible to train and bus commuters. The more foot traffic that comes along a location, the better it is for your brand’s presence. Of course, the more bustling an area is, the more expensive real estate become as well. Try to find a balance between cost-effectiveness and exposure.

Finding the perfect space depends on many factors, many of which are in your control. Timing and negotiating it perfectly can lead to lower rent, favorable lease terms, and a highly conducive environment from which to grow your startup in. It sounds tempting to just sign up with the first work space you stumble upon, especially if you have the budget to do so, but from a long-term perspective, it makes sense to meticulously assess each property for both structural and contractual flaws.