When choosing the best location for your retail store, the building must support your long-term needs. Take the time now to write down the specific requirements for your facility. You need this list to narrow down the exact commercial real estate property you should purchase. You know that location is vital to building a successful business, but you should balance your other needs with location requirements and budget constraints. Here are some things to consider as you look for buildings.
How Many Square Feet Do I Need?
Your retail establishment is more than just your showroom floor. You must have space for merchandise and your Point-of-Sale landing areas. After that, you need to consider areas that will benefit the overall functionality of your business. Draw a scale map of your showroom floor. Add the necessary operational areas to the rendering. Calculate the minimum square footage by multiplying the total length by the width.
- Inventory staging
- Operations area
- Employee break room
- Dressing rooms
You will also need a designated retail POS system staging area. With an all-in-one, integrated POS software, you can save valuable space that would otherwise be used for multiple pieces of equipment related to the POS process. This way, your hardware, and software can live in one easy-to-access location without losing valuable functionality, including payment processing, customer loyalty information, and inventory databases.
Is the Landscaping Appealing?
Take the time to look outside the building to see what is around you. Does the area look pleasing? Does your store make sense there? A clothing boutique may not thrive in a strip mall where the primary tenants are medical suites. You don’t want to eliminate a location based on the neighbors, but it should be part of your considerations.
Can Customers Park?
Safe and adequate parking for employees and customers is vital to your company’s success. If your employees must use public parking lots, consider paying for their parking fees as part of your compensation package. Make sure the property is accessible using public transportation. Drive to the building to verify your business is easy to access. Don’t forget about vendors. Suppliers with large trucks need easy access to loading docks. Customers get frustrated if a vendor uses parking spots when they want to shop.
How Customizable Is the Property?
If you are leasing, your landlord will have conditions on what changes you can make to the building and the exterior features. You can negotiate renovations into your lease agreement. If you are purchasing the property, the local planning and zoning agency may have requirements on the property. Take the time to learn how the property is zoned. There may be regulations on the type of business you can operate or the changes you can make to the building.
Where Is the Competition?
Know your neighbors. What kind of business do you want nearby? Will they attract or distract customers from your establishment? For example, if you are opening a quick-service restaurant, you will likely want to be in an area with several similar eateries. Potential customers know these restaurants are often located near others.
How Will I Pay for It?
Your business plan and goals should include plans for how you anticipate paying for the facility. If you plan to remain at the location for ten or more years, it probably makes sense to purchase the property. If you anticipate moving in a year or two, or this is a seasonal establishment, leasing the property is a good idea. Even a large building can be an asset if you can afford it. You can build a second entrance and lease a portion to another business owner. This gives you a source of income to boost your company’s bottom line.
What Are Utility Costs?
Ask to see a year’s worth of utility bills. This helps you budget appropriately. You can also speak with a solar power contractor to determine if installing solar panels would save money. An energy consultant can help you find ways to reduce energy costs. Make sure the available utilities meet your needs. Running additional electrical lines or fiber-optic cables is expensive.
Do I Like It?
If the building meets your needs, ask yourself if it makes you happy. Your work-life balance is necessary for a successful business. Is this where you want to spend your work day? Does the building make you smile? You want to make sure you enjoy going to work every day.
Taking the time now to understand your real estate needs is necessary to establish a successful foundation for your business.