Location, location, location.
Location is famously what real estate is all about. However, when you’re looking for commercial space in Buffalo, there are so many good locations – from trendy, up-and-coming areas to bonafide historical landmarks like the Ellicott Square Building – location alone probably won’t be the only determining factor when it comes to finding the perfect place to hang your shingle.
Putting together a list of important questions and issues to consider is a great way to prepare for finding commercial space for your office or business. Your list can help you clarify what you want in a space, and it can also prepare you for conversations with your potential landlords.
Who is bringing traffic to the area?
If your business relies on a high volume of foot traffic to be successful, take a look at the other businesses who are already clustered together in your zone of interest. For example, if you’re hoping to open a restaurant with an avant-garde concept, you want to be in an area that’s popular and well-trafficked by locals and tourists alike.
Being clustered near boutiques and other high foot traffic areas can help you receive drop-in business and can position you as a trendy and unique place to try. Businesses like marketing agencies can also benefit from this type of location even though they don’t need a lot of walk-in traffic because they’re increasing their name recognition and visibility among companies that may need their services.
What’s around you?
Even if you’re not planning a business that’s dependent on high traffic counts, the options around you still play a factor.
For example, if you have a business with a large staff, you will need to consider parking and how reasonably your team can find a space to park their vehicles. And, being near coffee shops, affordable restaurants or a gym can be a big perk for employees trying to make the most of their lunch hours.
What other expenses will you have?
The cost of your lease isn’t the only expense that needs to be factored into your budget when looking for office space.
You will likely be required to have insurance on your space to protect your investment and to protect your landlord. You also need to consider the cost of utilities and whether they are included in your lease.
Internet, water, electricity, garbage pick up, security systems and more – if they’re not included in the lease rate, they can quickly add up and take a big chunk of your commercial budget.
What’s the competitive landscape?
Have you noticed that when you see a Walgreens, there’s usually a CVS or another pharmacy in close proximity? It’s typically because when a customer is looking for a pharmacy they’re likely to remember the general proximity and prioritize their convenience above name recognition.
Being near a competitor means you may be able to tap into some of their business. Why? Because people who are in the market for your particular line of service may be searching online or driving by looking for a florist or an attorney or whatever business service you happen to offer.
It doesn’t have to be a cut-throat proposition either. For some businesses, like accounting firms or law firms, officing with other professionals in the vicinity isn’t always a threat. In some cases, several similar businesses clustered together increases the opportunity for everyone to benefit from the traffic and to share referrals if client work is outside their area of specialization.
Are there opportunities for collaboration?
Just like you should know where your competitors are, it’s important to know where you can find some synergy with colleagues as well.
For example, you may have noticed when you go to the doctor, their office building might also be located near a clinical lab, a pharmacy or an ultrasound or radiology office. Medical field professionals have learned that clustering medical businesses together makes life more convenient for clients/patients and improves opportunities for referrals within the group.
Securing commercial space is the first step toward making your plans for a successful business a reality. With the continuing growth taking place in Buffalo, there are many spaces, including those managed by Ellicott Development, that may be a perfect fit and give your business a great start on the road to success.