Many manufacturing businesses start out of the house or the garage. As your customer base grows, so do your space needs. Desperate to get out of the garage, you find space anywhere you can find it. You’re happy to find space that is bigger, has a separate office for an employee or two, and room to store your products or equipment. But a few years later you realize you need several features you don’t have in this space. Perhaps it is higher ceilings, multiple doors that trucks can back up to, doors wide enough to fit palettes, air conditioning, private bathrooms, more parking, the list goes on…
In order to help you get the right space to meet your needs, here is a list of my top three things to consider before starting your property search.
Determine The Ideal Square Footage Needed Now, and 10 Years from Now, if Possible
There can be a lot of investment costs involved in building a manufacturing or industrial-based company, including expensive fixtures and equipment that may not be easy to move. Try to think ahead, making projections of how you think your business will grow, and how much space you will really need to support that growth. Take this into account when computing your budget, as well. Perhaps you choose space that is slightly larger than your needs right now, but is still affordable, and will give you the freedom to grow without much added rental expense in the future.
Make a List of Your Must-Haves
Write down everything you really need to make the space work efficiently and effectively for your business. This includes size, style, and placement of doors, loading docks, room width, ceiling height, parking needs, office space, wiring, utilities available, highway access, etc… For example, I recently met with a client who owns an auto body repair shop and their current shop only has one access door. Everytime a car is finished and ready to go, they need to move all of the cars in front of it to get it out of the garage. If they had a door in the back of the building, and a door in the front, they wouldn’t need to do this time consuming and annoying task. Point is, know what you need and give that list to your agent. He/she may be able to help you create this list, as well.
Know Your Max Radius for Location
You may find after determining your budget and ideal criteria, spaces meeting your needs can be hard to find. Start by determining the ideal location for your business, then draw a circle around it, and go out as far as you’re willing to go away from that spot. Perhaps the equivalent of a half-hour drive, or whatever works for you. You may need to be flexible with the location if there is a need to find space sooner rather than later, or if budget is very important, and/or you need to stick with your list of must-haves.
In summary, think about current and future needs regarding space, budget and location, know what you need and what you don’t, and remember your commercial real estate agent is there to help you find the right space for your needs.
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