NOTE: Do not sign a lease until you've checked with the city to make sure the building can be used for your type of business.
Check out the low-cost and FREE courses at SBDC on how to negotiate a lease.
Lease terms to negotiate:
Consider the the time it will take to get your business up and running
If you're planning to make renovations, serve alcohol, or conduct other activities that require a license or permit, keep in mind that there may be delays that are out of your control. Try to build flexibility into your lease in case it takes longer than you thought it would to start bringing in paying customers.
Landlords often have a lease template they use and will fill it in with the terms you agree on. You can meet with a person at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) who can help you review the quality and financial commitment of your lease.
It's always a good idea to consult with a professional or an experienced mentor who can help make sure you're considering all of the angles. Understand the different players in the commercial real estate world and their roles: Commercial brokers, property managers, leasing managers, and property insurance agents.
Commercial brokers work on commission which means they represent you in the negotiations. A professional real estate broker will ensure your interest is protected. Understand the lease terms such as who will be responsible for repairs, taxes, common area expenses, etc.
Brokers are not allowed, by law, to render legal advice, and a lease is a legal contract. It is actually NOT illegal in the state of CA for a broker to represent BOTH the landlord and the tenant simultaneously in the s
Beware of unscrupulous Brokers. Brokers only get paid if & when a lease is signed. They may push you into making a deal that does not serve you well, just so the broker can get a commission. One way to avoid this is to choose a different commercial broker than the one representing the landlord.
Avoid using a residential real estate agent to negotiate a commercial lease for you. Successful negotiation can be stressful. A commercial real estate broker negotiates for a living, and can provide a buffer between the sometimes rocky process and the client. Negotiations can be complex, and it is helpful to have an advocate on your side.
Retail leases are detailed, complex legal documents. Having a leasing specialist look it over will protect your interest. They will help with the lease review, interpretation, and negotiation. Leases are legal documents no one likes to read. They are confusing and full of jargon that often obscures meaning. A good real estate lawyer can read and interpret these legal documents, and help negotiate lease clauses that could be harmful to the client.
They Restaurant Advisory Group advises restaurants. They can put you in touch with all types of service professionals a restaurant needs. Examples: vendors, payroll and accounting people, insurance people, attorneys etc.