San Francisco is a great place to be. There’s tons of great restaurants, beautiful scenery, and most importantly, a large population of creative and passionate people. It’s no wonder why individuals as well as companies move here. Given that real estate is limited, finding an office space can be complicated. Here are a few points we learned from finding our space:
1. Consider working with a broker
If you’ve never gone through the leasing process before in San Francisco, it can be overwhelming. Brokers not only know what spaces that are on the market, but they also communicate with the landlord, or landlord’s broker, for you— talk about a time saver! The best part is that the landlord, not you, foots the bill, meaning their services are free of charge.
We had help from the amazing team at Jones Lang LaSalle. If you’re in the market, do yourself a favor and get in touch with either Hugh (hugh.scott (at) am.jll.com) or Travis (Travis.James (at) am.jll.com).
2. Don’t expect to move in right away
Unlike renting an apartment, it can take anywhere from 1-4 months to complete the leasing process for an office space. The least time consuming aspect is actually finding the place you want. After that, there’s a lot of back and forth to negotiate terms and specifics (where the broker comes in handy). Be prepared to work out of a temporary space while documents are finalized and signatures are collected.
3. Know your budget and timeline
Before you get started or speak to a broker, project a budget that covers potential employee and revenue growth for the next 1-2 years. This should give you an idea of what you can and cannot afford and how much space you’ll need. It’s also not uncommon for landlords to require a 2-3 year lease, so knowing your growth plan will come in handy when you’re actually looking at spaces. If you think you’ll expand quickly, and need a bit of flexibility, look for a shorter sublease. It seems like common sense, but avoid signing a long lease at a rate you’re unsure if you can pay or not. Of course it’s hard to say no to a gorgeous office space but remember, you can always upgrade as your company grows.
4. Location, location, location!
It’s important to remember your employees as well as your customers when choosing an office space. Is the location safe at all hours? Will it be a hassle for commuters to get to work? Are there nice restaurants in the area for client lunches? There’s a lot of hype surrounding office spaces in SOMA. Just make sure it’s right for you and your company. If your customers are there, it might make more sense to pay the extra money to be close. If not, try venturing out to nearby, cheaper neighborhoods.
Now for the fun part, pictures of our new space:
(A bit of the conference room)
(Our co-founder Mike hard at work, resisting playing the Wii)
(The snacks, of course)
(Our view from the 6th floor)