From the March 2001 issue of Entrepreneur

Want to start your business in a hip, new office space? Although it may sound more appealing than meeting customers and investors in your home's dining room, renting office space is one of the more tricky steps a young company can take. Sign the wrong lease-on space that proves too small, is too expensive or is in the wrong part of town-and you may doom your business to an early demise.

Knowledge is key, so we provide you with resources here to help you lease the perfect office-or help you realize that this is a move worth putting off.


Pamela Rohland writes about the joys and tribulations of entrepreneurship for a variety of regional and national business publications. Robert McGarvey and Babs S. Harrison contributed to this article.

Office Space 101

To develop some knowledge before touring your first empty box, read up on the basics.

The Commercial Lease Guidebook: Learn How to Win the Leasing Game! (MacOre International) by Thomas G. Mitchell and Warren Jessop. This book offers a walk-through of the leasing maze.

"Searching for Office Space". Written for New Jersey but helpful anywhere, this is a top-notch guide.

"From Home Office to Real Office". Lively advice from editor Lisa Gill, this write-up adds more con-siderations to your list. Is the area safe? Can you get high-speed Net access? You need to know!

Bargain Basement

To develop some knowledge before touring your first empty box, read up on the basics.

Repeat after us: Leases are supposed to be negotiated. Every detail is up for grabs, from price per square foot to tenant improvements.

Negotiate Your Commercial Lease (Self-Counsel Press) by Dale R. Willerton is a how-to manual with plenty of information on getting yourself a good deal on the right office space.

"How To Negotiate A Lease" by Jan Norman from March 1998 Business Start-Ups.

The Price You'll Pay

After payroll, office rent may be your biggest budget item. Can you afford it?

"12 Money-Saving Tips for Finding an Affordable Office" by Jenny C. McCune for Bankrate.com.

The Incubator Approach

The best deals on space are often through business incubators, which make space available to early-stage companies.

www.nbia.org is home to the National Business Incubation Association.