Here's Why Brokers Won't Return Entrepreneurs' Calls

Finding an office space that is right for a startup can be an exhaustive process. Here are a few pointers on how to make it less painful.

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By Susie Algard • Mar 3, 2015 Originally published Mar 3, 2015

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's a common complaint among entrepreneurs looking for office space. Why don't brokers call them back? The truth is that the majority of brokers do return inquiries.

At our startup OfficeSpace, a platform for finding office spaces for your company, we've found that how you phrase your initial request about space has a huge impact on whether or not you get a response. After analyzing 10,000 email requests in the last six months, here's what we've determined to be the top three types of requests that do not get responded to quickly.

Related: 3 Things to Consider When Renting Office Space

The wishy-washy entrepreneur

When inquiring on a space, you have a wide range of what will work for you. You may have a huge range of space that you might need, and you don't say when you need the space. You might need it right away or you might need it in six months. It can be fully built-out space or a wide-open bullpen.

While you might get lucky with a broker who is willing to spend the time extra time talking to you and helping you figure out what you truly need, most brokers won't know how to prioritize their response for you as they fear you are not serious or that you will require a lot of work.

Related: 5 Affordable Ways to Create a Work Environment that Engages Employees

The short-term entrepreneur

You request a month-to-month lease or something short term (less than one year). If you're requesting a short-lease term you might as well be saying please do not call me back as far as a broker is concerned. This is fine to request if you are looking at a sublease or executive suite, but it's not realistic for most landlords, so brokers will not want to waste their time with you.

The secretive entrepreneur

You don't include enough personal information like your full name, company and any further details or descriptions of what the business use is for the space you're inquiring about. The only thing you tell the broker is that details on the company are "under wraps."

Brokers tend to de-prioritize these kinds of inquiries, because it gives them the impression that your business could be dangerous or illegal, which is obviously something the landlord would not allow in their building.

While it's normal for entrepreneurs to want to keep details of their companies private for competitive reasons, there needs to be a balance with providing the necessary details for landlords. They will want to see financials and even a business plan if you are a startup with no track record.

Best practices

Based on our analysis, providing your full name, company name and specific details are ideal. For example, you might say that you are currently in a 5,000 square-foot space and are looking for bigger space, need a kitchen, two conference rooms and access to storage.

You can also count on a faster call back by including details that show that you're an established company or what your timing is. You don't need to divulge all your information, just enough to make the broker know that you are serious. It's not imperative that you sound like you know everything, just that you are serious.

So, the next time you spend the time to make the calls or emails to a broker, remember to give enough details and be thoughtful to get the fastest response back.

Related: How the Color of Your Office Impacts Productivity (Infographic)

Susie Algard

CEO, OfficeSpace.com

Susie Algard is CEO of OfficeSpace.com, a platform that helps tenants find office space and connect with local brokers in their area. She drives the company’s vision, strategy and growth. Prior to OfficeSpace.com, Algard was a senior executive and founding team member at WhitePages.com. Find her on Google+.

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