One of the messages I always convey to new clients when embarking on a search for a new location for their business is that it is a process; that is, the search itself serves to bring into focus what is important to them and that it is OK to shift their priorities along the way. Nothing brings must-haves and deal killers to the surface better than actually touring several properties and their respective neighborhoods.
Sometimes several of the tenant’s stated priorities are in flux and I find it helpful to keep track of the properties we have viewed with a scorecard that rates key criteria on a scale (I like 1-5; 1-100 or even 1-10 risks everyone getting lost in the weeds.) Here is a list of criteria I rated for a client recently:
- Budget – budget often evolves from the tenant’s original rent target. When it comes to the economics of a given space, employee satisfaction and productivity trump rent.
- Parking – abundance and security were key parking considerations for this client
- Proximity to neighborhood amenities – the client wanted to be in a walkable neighborhood where their employees felt safe and where there was an array of food and personal services available.
- Proximity to client’s manufacturing facility – as our touring progressed, neighborhood amenities moved ahead of being close to the industrial submarket where they manufacture their products and this slid down the priority list.
- Proximity to other business in the same industry and industry-supporting services – this matters when you are in the fashion or media industry but not so much if you are an accounting firm.
- Building and premises image and functionality – they valued a creative office environment and lots of natural light.
When I introduced the client to the scorecard I made it clear that it was not intended as a tool to choose a property based on the overall highest score; rather, it was a way to consciously take stock of their shifting priorities and steer clear of confusion that can derail what is always a complex decision.
In the end, the tenant got the location they wanted and just as importantly, knows how they got there.