Leasing your first commercial office

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For a lot of start-ups and small businesses there comes a point when working from the kitchen table just won’t cut it anymore. With clients tripping over kids toys and constantly moving your ‘desk’ to make way for dinner, you start to dream about the perfect commercial office.


Is it light filled with fresh flowers delivered every day? Will you have a reception area (and receptionist) or what about a gym downstairs that you promise you will visit three times a week?


Taking a lease on a commercial property can be a big commitment but it doesn’t need to be daunting so before you pack up that laptop and head out on a search for your new office, here are some things you should consider:

What type of property do you need?

Do you need a private office? Do you want a shared receptionist? What about meeting rooms? Perhaps you need some warehouse space? Be sure to determine your requirements before undertaking any searches.

What size property do you need?

In commercial real estate we use a ‘rule of thumb’ of 10sqm – 15sqm per person with the latter being for separate offices. Is it possible for you to work in an open plan environment? Remember to include room for future employees and the growth of your business in your planning.

Where do you want to be?

Be realistic when determining a location for your new office. It might be nice to be five minutes from home, or next door to your children’s school, but what does the area say about your business, your brand and clients? Would the area attract and retain new employees? Consider things such as proximity to cafes and amenities, car parking and public transport.

How much do you want to spend?

You may have a budget in mind of how much you want to spend on rent but how does that sit with market rental rates? What are similar properties renting for? It is imperative that you know this information before negotiating a lease on a commercial property. Your budget should also include outgoings costs, the cost to fitout the property (desks, partitions, kitchen, cabling, etc.) and a security deposit (this can sometimes be the equivalent of 3 – 6 months rent).

What lease term can you commit to?

Most Landlords will want you to sign a lease for five years, but consider if this length of lease is right for you. A lot of first time tenants want to take a lease for one year initially, and if this is you, be sure to discuss this with the Landlord from the very start of negotiations. A Landlord must provide you with a minimum lease term of five years however this can be made up of lease options.


It’s an exciting time in any business when you lease your first office, and having the right advice and support will ensure that it is a smooth transition. Consider your options, seek out professional advice and you will be popping the champagne at your office warming in no time.