You’ve been searching high and low for the perfect office space; a place where you can focus on your business uninterrupted, and it hasn’t been an easy task. But here you are, staring up at a multi-level office building, thinking to yourself: “Yep, this feels like the one.” As if on cue, a ray of sunlight pours through the clouds and shines an almost angelic glow on the building. Could this place be any more perfect?

This must be it, you conclude. It’s the office space you’ve been waiting to rent – the place where you can see yourself doing your best work, where your inner genius will come to life, and where your business success will soar to new heights…except, you haven’t actually looked inside the building yet.

What could possibly go wrong?
But first, let’s discuss what brought you here…

Maybe you’re a single person renter, like a freelancer or solo entrepreneur who wants to branch out from working at home. Perhaps it took you awhile to make this decision, too. After all, working out of the comfort of your home is pretty enticing…in the beginning at least. After a while, it can definitely lose its luster. A potential solution is a business centre, a place where you can have the privacy and solitude you need to work, but still be close to home when your work day is done.

Perhaps, instead, you’re a small company that doesn’t have its own office, and all of your employees work from home. Potentially, one or more of these employees has expressed frustration with the work-from-home set-up and you want to offer them a solution. After all, good talent is hard to come by, and the last thing you want is to lose high-performing people.

Maybe you’re a company with an office in another location, and you know your employees live too far away from headquarters or have no desire to make the commute, so the reasonable solution is to find a space that’s closer to their home. In this scenario, extra technology solutions like video conferencing software will play a big role in keeping you and your satellite employees connected.

You might also be a company looking for a short-term rental fix. Maybe you already own an office building but it’s being renovated. Or perhaps you’re the proud owner of a new build, but the construction schedule has been delayed yet again. You don’t need anything permanent, just a rental space to hold you over for the next three months or so. Many of today’s business centres are fully furnished, so that all you’ll need to bring is yourself, your team, and your laptop, and you’re ready to get down to business.

Whatever the case may be, one thing is for certain: choosing a rented office space is a wise choice for you and your business. The key is doing your homework first. Certainly, not all rental spaces are the same, and you’ll want to know your options.

Here’s our master checklist of the top deal breakers you absolutely must consider before signing on any dotted lines, no matter how tempting the offer. Because when you’re investing in new office space, there are lots of questions to ask, but when it comes to your money and your business, it pays to be thorough.

#1. Pricing
The goal should be to get the most bang for your buck and not be blindsided by hidden charges. When comparing advertised commercial rent to shared workspaces, it’s important to know that you are not comparing apples-to-apples. With commercial leases, the price per square foot does not include “TMI” – taxes, maintenance and insurance, which can significantly increase your overall cost.

#2. Commitment
The thing about tomorrow is that you don’t know where it will take you. The way your business looks today could be vastly different from the way it’s performing months down the road. It’s best to consider an office space that allows you the flexibility to grow. Lease terms and payment plans are important to consider before signing on the dotted line.

#3. Location, Location, Location
Put simply, location matters. If your idea of fun isn’t commuting to and from the downtown core everyday, then you’ll want to consider an office space in your more immediate area. It has to be a venue that’s not only convenient for you, but for your clients as well. That means easy access to highways, public transportation, etc. The location should also project you and your brand in the best possible light.

#4. Environment
Consider tangible and intangible features; of course, you’ll need basics, like a desk and a chair, but how does the office make you feel when you walk through the doors? Are windows and natural light important? Is there a cleaning crew? What about a welcoming reception staff to take care of your guests?

#5. IT Support
The beauty of a rented business centre is being able to bring your laptop, fire it up, and quickly get to work without any hassle or distractions. That’s the idea, at least. Before committing to any office space, make sure that all of your IT needs are covered. Not only should wireless internet be provided, it should also be fast and reliable. Some locations even offer on-site IT support, should you run into any issues.

#6. Added Value Services
Isn’t it great when you get more than you expected? While some office spaces are completely bare bones, others provide added services that can really propel your business. For example, why rent just a workspace when you can rent a workspace plus have access to a range of conference and meeting rooms? And let’s not forget about the free-flowing coffee service.

The search for the right office space can be daunting. But if you’re well equipped, it can also be fun. It’s important to remember the exciting reason why you’ve arrived at this point, and equally important to consider how your chosen space will work for you on a day-to-day basis.

Happy Hunting!