Finding the Perfect Office Space in New York City

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Startup Office Space In NYC

So, you’ve taken the first steps in creating your startup company. Whether it’s your first venture or your twentieth, finding the perfect office space in New York City doesn’t get any easier. Luckily, we have a few tips to help you along the way.

two people discussing their plans in front of a whiteboard

Location, Location, Location … and Accessibility

Your office space needs to be close to or easily accessed by your team. If your startup has clients, consider how accessible the space is from main streets and the subway. You should also keep in mind that the space should be easily reached by potential investors. Is there parking for an investor that wants to bring their team? 

Keep Your Budget Reasonable and Stick to It

Startups bear many extra costs that more established companies do not, and some of those costs may come as a surprise to you. The best way to skim and save for a company emergency is to keep the budget low for your first lease.

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Beware of Bad Landlords

The greatest city nightmare for commercial and residential renters alike is getting stuck in a lease with a bad landlord, but it's avoidable. If you’re feeling sketched out by a landlord, it is in your best interest to ask NYC housing groups on social media if anyone has had a bad experience with this individual. A wronged New Yorker is often more than willing to air his/her grievances to any stranger who asks, especially when you’re talking about leasing.

Once you’ve found a space you love for your startup, you need to speak directly with the landlord or property manager, not just a realtor. You must make sure you won’t encounter any hidden fees or miss out on any advertised amenities. Don’t wait until you’re about to sign the lease to look over it. Ask for a copy as soon as you’re considering renting the space, and compare the terms to those advertised.

If you think your company may stick with this space for a while, ask about compiling a contract or an added section of the lease that caps the rent for the first few years. We all have to make money somehow, and property value in the city tends to yo-yo, but your prospective landlord might be willing to to work with you for a long-term lease.

You can’t always tell in the beginning if a landlord is going to be a bad fit, so try searching for spaces with shorter leases. Six months is reasonable, but if you’re really unsure of your company’s future, you may want to look into coworking spaces (many of which are startups themselves) that rent office space, shared and unshared, for short periods of time.

Cut Corners Wherever You Can

Many companies opt for office space that allows upwards of 200 square feet per person, but your startup could do with less. It's important to sit down with your team and decide what is necessary at this point in your company’s growth and what isn’t. Do the founders really need their own space for work or is that just a vanity at this point? How much furniture do you really need? How many people need their own desk and how big do those desks need to be? Do you need a lobby? Do you need an isolated conference room?

Being realistic in this stage of the game is crucial, but it’s just as crucial to be charitable to your employees or small team. Remember that attracting and retaining talent is extremely important and employees shouldn’t have to work elbow-to-elbow.

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