You don’t have to wait until you need space to assemble your team. It takes time to find the right people to help make you successful. So start putting your team together as soon as you can. You’ll probably need the following:
- Broker: to help you find you space
- Banker: to help finance improvements
- Insurance Agent: to help you purchase the right insurance
- Architect/Interior Designer: to help you design your space
- Contractor: to construct tenant improvements
- CPA: to help you figure out how much you can afford and the tax consequences of your decision
- Attorney: to help you negotiate your lease
You’ll first start working with your broker to help you find your space. You should also start putting some of your team into action. They’ll help you figure out what to look for and how much you can afford. If you need space designed to your needs, you can engage your architect in helping you figure out the design and size of your space and help you figure out what permits you might need. You can talk with your CPA to help you figure out how much you can afford and how long of a lease you might need. If you’re going to need financing, you can talk with your banker. You can also require the owner to engage environmental consultants to conduct an environmental assessment (All Appropriate Inquiry) of potentially contaminated property or request a copy of the report if the owner already conducted the AAI. You can also start looking for a contractor.
It’s not a bad idea to let your attorney know that you plan on leasing space. Then your attorney can start drafting a lease that’s tailored to your needs. The landlord often has her own lease and will want to use it. But if you have negotiating power, you can insist on using your form. The advantage of using your form is that you can start the negotiations with a tenant-favored lease rather than a landlord-favored lease.
Once you’ve found a space, you may consider writing a letter of intent stating your terms. Once the letter of intent is signed, it’s time to start negotiating the lease.