Our previous blog post raised some of the questions you should ask when considering new office space. This article will cover some of the more specific things you should find out before signing a lease.

Your Office Space

If you are considering renting your own space in a larger building, consider these questions:

Is there a price break for a longer term lease?

Who bears the costs of building out the space to make it suitable for your use?

Are utilities included? Are the building’s utilities pro-rated based on square footage? When are those charges assessed? What is the average utility cost for this square footage?

Is office cleaning and maintenance included?

Are there monthly/yearly fees for security or other building services?

Is subletting the space allowed?

Can you make alterations to the space? (Painting the walls, hanging pictures, etc.) What alterations become permanent fixtures that you must leave behind?

If you are considering sharing office space with an established firm, add these questions to your list:

What do I get to use from the facilities? Copiers/printers/fax machines, library and other resources, receptionist or other staff, conference rooms? Are these services charged individually or included in your rent?

How will your clients know that you are not part of the firm?

Will you have access to the office after regular business hours?

Will you be able to expand, if needed?

What will happen if the law firm needs your space back?

If you are considering an executive suite service, also add these questions:

What is and is not included in the monthly charge – per page cost for making copies, per page cost for sending/receiving faxes, per day or per hour charge for using conference rooms?

Do you have to sign a service contract or can you leave/change/end service at any time?

Will you have access to the office after regular business hours?

Can you customize my services to meet my needs?

In the Building

Is there an option for you to have storage in the building but outside your office – such as a basement or storage locker?

Are there any considerations of after-hours or weekend access to the building?

Other Amenities

Is there parking available in the building? Consider both your daily use (if you drive to work) and short-term parking for your clients. Ask what kind of long-term parking contracts are available and what the cost is (Are contracts monthly, weekly, or daily? Do you have to sign a lease or is it open-ended?) For your clients, find out what options they have (ramp, street, meters, lot) and what the cost is.

If you don’t drive, find out what public transportation is available in the vicinity. If you bike, remember to ask about bike security – will you have to lock your bike outside on the street every day, or is there a rack or some other sort of indoor storage space?

Also remember, the way you get to work isn’t always how your clients will get to you. Make sure you know information about all modes of transport to your new office, because someone will need to know.

What other things are in or nearby your office – restaurants, post office, convenience store, copy store, gym, etc?

These lists are by no means comprehensive, but we hope they give you a good starting point for your office space search. Good luck and happy hunting!

Click here to see how MoreLaw Minneapolis can help you with your law office space needs.

Kimberly Hanlon
Follow me

Kimberly Hanlon

Attorney at Law at Kimberly M. Hanlon, LLC
Kimberly Hanlon is an estate planning and small business law attorney in the Twin Cities. She is also a co-owner of MoreLaw Minneapolis, the executive suite exclusively for attorneys in downtown Minneapolis.
Kimberly Hanlon
Follow me