You’ve found it: The ideal office space for your new firm. The next step is to sign the lease, right? Wrong!
“Don’t sign a lease right away,” said Dan Montroy of Montroy, Andersen & DeMarco. “It is always better for us to have a significant portion of our work completed before the lease is signed.”
A firm such as Montroy and Andersen can control and manage the entire moving process for a company, in addition to functioning as an architect. “If you use an architect before you sign the lease, construction can start the day after you get possession of the key,” explained Montroy, “as opposed to you being there for 2-3 months, paying rent, and waiting for the drawings. 12 months before a lease expires is ideal to start a search. Then, if you sign a lease for $40 psf; divide that by 12. You’re paying over $3 psf per month. Our fee is $3-$4psf. So if I save you a month in rent, I’ve paid for my fee.”
For the next step, a company such as Builders Group can play a vital role in the design and construction process. “A client will approach us soon after they hire an architect. It’s best that we work with the client and the architect before the plans are completed,” explained George Figliolia, president of Builders Group. “Once the drawings are done, you’re locked into them and it’s difficult to implement changes.
“We need time to look over the plans; talk over the budget; see the space and get the permits. For a project that involves 25,000 square feet, our fee would be in the neighborhood of $75,000.” Created in 1986, Builders Group currently works on a national-level for many blue-chip firms.
-Engage an architect a year before your lease is up and explore all options.
-Determine if it’s more cost effective to stay in your current space or to move.
-If you move, don’t sign a lease before you determine such factors as space requirements.