The obvious priority when selecting a new business location is Accessibility or Visibility to/from clients, customers, suppliers and workforce.  Consider ancillary services and amenities such as restaurant choices, fitness/gym, banking, airport and mass transit.  Establishing the need for high, medium, low or even remote accessibility/visibility narrows the search considerably.

Look for entities that offer a long list of resources such as the EDA’s, TDC’s, Chambers of Commerce and industry specific organizations in your search region.  Learn about the areas and possibly take advantage of incentives while promoting your business at the same time.

Leased space will likely offer a wider variety of spaces and budgets, as well as less out‐of‐pocket first expense than buying or building.  Look for a space that is as closely configured to your needs as possible with room to grow.   Understand the leases and commitments associated with amortizing build‐out costs, shared operating expense, annual increases and other items that may be buried in the small print, such as responsible party for repairs, maintenance, cleaning, etc.

A new building tailored to your business and workforce is optimal.  Although this avoids dealing with existing problems, new construction generally costs more than remodeling/renovation.   In either case, due diligence for every aspect, inside, out and around is paramount.  Be prepared by familiarizing yourself with at least the basics of design, construction, permitting and all the costs associated with developing new property.  There are a lot of “surprises” that emerge once the process is started, including possible impact fees, DOT access, utility connections, engineering needs, stormwater management requirements and they myriad of associated costs with each to name a few.

A well planned, efficient space can save a significant amount of money over the life of the building.  In addition to the hard costs of first build‐out, utilities and furniture and fixtures, there are the soft costs intrinsic to design that affect the bottom line every day.  Building orientation, daylighting and appropriate room sizes and adjacencies and flexibility for use and expansion are a few design features that impact energy usage, security, staff and operations costs.  Along with compatible systems and materials selections, you can maximize the efficiencies while enhancing the aesthetic and well‐being value.   

Regardless of location, your budget should include furniture, equipment, printing and marketing collateral, signage expense and installations.  If relocating/moving an existing business, consider the logistics and costs of the actual move, occupancy overlap expense, loss of revenue from downtime while relocating or installing equipment and data networks.  Whatever that budget number is, add at least 20% as contingency for the unforeseen.  Underfunding a new location will force choices that end up costing so much more in the long run.

We know the value of “location, location, location”.  Don’t underestimate the ROI on good design for a physical space that is welcoming and environmentally healthy with a productive workforce.  Retaining a good architect is a great start to ensuring your new location maximizes its potential.


Valli Sorci, LEED AP
CEO, Florida Architects, Inc.
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