A Buyer’s Market for Rental Space

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In a retail or service business, your rent is one of your major expenses. Better control of this expense can lead to more cash on hand for profits or investment back into your business. Several practical tips are presented to lower your leasing costs.

In a sluggish economy, most people are concerned about declining sales. But an economic slowdown can also bring opportunities. Just ask the video store owner who rented a large retail location for barely half the rate that he was quoted a year before.

If you're in the market for new office or retail space, have a lease that is about to expire, or are currently operating on a month-to-month arrangement with your landlord, the following tips can help improve your bottom line.

  1. Assume that any price a landlord quotes is negotiable.
  2. Deal directly with the owner wherever possible.
  3. Approach current leaseholders about subleases.
  4. Find properties that offer several months' free rent.
  5. Ask the landlord to reduce or waive the front-end deposit.

Even if you're locked in to a lease, try talking with your landlord about rewriting the terms, or at least providing you with an enhanced amenities package.

Finally, once you have negotiated the best deal you can, sign as long a lease as is practical. Doing so will ensure that your rate remains low when the economy rebounds and rents go back up.

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Articles in our Entrepreneur’s Resource Center appeared in print and online newsletters published previously by the foundation. More than 1,000 articles can be found in the categories below, addressing timeless challenges faced by entrepreneurs of all types.