Think for yourself – Work your ideas, not others

Today, I had a discussion with a very bright individual who is seeking new office quarters. He was having difficulty with the math, so he thought. He was seeking to understand the interplay between basic rent, common area charges (charges for maintenance, taxes, etc. that the landlord assesses at the end of each lease year to cover the cost of operating the building, paid pro rata by each tenant), and his actual cost of occupancy (total actual rent!).

I suggested that he walk away from this bottom down thinking. Instead, I suggested he look at the situation bottom up, and get his real estate broker involved to earn his keep.

First, figure out what you want to pay for monthly and/or annual rent. You can do this in a number of different ways. You can say that historically I’ve earned X% profit on Y number of revenue dollars; when I move into new quarters, I will earn more revenue because (better facilities, closer to prospective clients, larger space to hire more staff, etc.) and therefore, with the same percentage for occupancy cost, I can pay more …. and that number is $X.

Or you can say my revenue is likely to stay the same even after the move (or I’m not sure and I want to be conservative) …  and don’t want to pay more than the same rent I’m paying now. That number is $X.

With that number in mind, tell your broker to find you the space you require (with the specifications you want) for that amount. Don’t worry what words are used, whether base rent or common area charges, etc. The lease contract must state that the maximum annual rent will be $X.

If the broker says that you can find plenty of space for that amount, great; if he says you’re crazy, there is no space for that amount, then you have choices to make: Work harder, work smarter to earn more revenue/profit to pay the higher rent, reduce your profit and take-home pay, or join forces with another to share the space and cost of the space.

But, don’t let others dictate how you should think. Don’t let the system force you into a thinking pattern that will confuse you or prevent you from knowing what your cost of operation will be.


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