One of the messages I always convey to new clients when embarking on a search for a new location for their business is that it is a process; that is, the search itself serves to bring into focus what is important to them and that it is OK to shift their priorities along the way. Nothing brings must-haves and deal killers to the surface better than actually touring several
properties and their respective neighborhoods.
Sometimes several of the tenant’s stated priorities are in flux and I find it helpful to keep track of the properties we have viewed with a scorecard that rates key criteria on a scale (I like 1-5; 1-100 or even 1-10 risks everyone getting lost in the weeds.) Here is a list of criteria I often rate for my office space clients:
- Budget – budget often evolves from the tenant’s original rent target. When it comes to the economics of a given space, employee satisfaction and productivity trump rent.
- Parking – abundance and security are key parking considerations for some tenants
- Proximity to neighborhood amenities – many businesses want to be in a walkable neighborhood where their employees feel safe and where there is an array food and personal services available.
- Proximity to other company facilities – this factor often goes head to head with the desire for neighborhood commercial amenities. Time (and a little touring) will help clarify which is more important to the tenant
- Proximity to other business in the same industry and industry-supporting services – this matters when you are in the fashion or media industry but not so much if you are an accounting firm.
- Building and premises image and functionality – consider how desirable the expensive Century City submarket is for law firms.
When I introduce a client to the scorecard I make it clear that it is not intended as a tool to choose a property based on the overall highest score; rather, it is a way to consciously take stock of their shifting priorities and steer clear of over thinking what is always a multi-faceted decision.
In the end, the tenant gets the location they want and just as importantly, they know how they got there.