By Brian McGowan

So you finally did it. You took the plunge and decided to become an entrepreneur. Now you need to find a retail space where your business will thrive.

Believe it or not, finding the right space for your business may be one of the hardest but most important steps in starting your business. That’s because finding a location you can afford which is convenient for your clients isn’t always easy.

That’s why working with a licensed real estate professional who knows the trade area, is so important.

Below are a few tips to keep in mind when seeking Staten Island retail space for lease.

1.Know how much space you really need – paying for space that you don’t really need is like burning money in a fire. Even if the retail space for lease is within your budget, you will be paying to heat or cool space that is not producing income. Find a space that is the right size for your business. If you outgrow it, you may want to open a second location in the future.

Several things besides size to consider are:

  • Location: choose a neighbohood that your customers can easily access.

  • Traffic: Both vehicle and foot.

  • Budget: Know how much you can spend on rent.

  • Utilities: People often misjudge the cost of utilities. Make sure you factor them into your budget. When looking at space, ask the current tenant or owner to give you an idea of what the utility bills run.

  • Amenities: Parking, security and fire prevention are just some of the amenities you will want to discuss.

2. Engage a local realtor who knows the target area: No matter where you live, there will be a leading local realtor who has a true understanding of the area.  This realtor will have many resources at his/her disposal which will make your search for the perfet space that much easier.  If you are unsure of who to work with, take a ride around the town you in which you want to locate and take note of which realtor signs are being displayed on vacant retail spaces.  Remember, there is a world of difference between retail leasing and residential sales and leasing, so be sure you work with a reputable commercial real estate expert.

3. Spend time watching the space: What better way to know if there is enough foot and vehicle traffic than to spend time watching the location? Remember to watch during your proposed hours of operation so you get a true idea of the count.

4. Negotiate: It’s true that everything is negotiable, but it takes a skilled and experienced realtor to tell you if your offer is reasonable. Making an offer without the guidance of a skilled commercial real estate agent can cost you more money in the long run as most retail leases have complicated renewal clauses and are often inclusive of taxes and insurance.  Working without the guidance of an expert can be detrimental to your business if you don’t fully understand what you are offering.  A knowledgeable commercial real estate agent will be able to provide you real time value of the space and also share with you future projects that may be in the pipeline that could effect your business both positively or negatively.

If you are opening a business or seeking a new retail location in the New York City area give me a call at 917-886-5304. It is very important to give your business the representation it deserves.