The ChooseWhat Newsletter

How To: Lease Office Space

by: Jen Udan |

office spaceIf your business has grown bigger than you and your partner, you’ll need office space large enough to accommodate your operations.

As we described in our STARTicle on Choosing the Right Office Space, there are several different ways of going about leasing office space.

However, if you apply to be part of a startup incubator, such as the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), you’ll receive guidance on your office space needs and an opportunity to obtain a flexible space and/or lease at the incubator’s location, which we highly recommend.

In addition to office space, ATI offers many benefits to entrepreneurs who are accepted to the incubator program, such as help with acquiring funding, a community of peer entrepreneurs and advisors, and useful startup resources.

ATI focuses on four main startup sectors:

  • IT
  • Wireless
  • Bioscience
  • Clean Energy

You can check out the full list of companies that are currently part of ATI’s program here.

Before you lease office space, you should:

The steps above will ensure that you have the necessary information with which to fill out your lease agreement and pay your monthly rent.

Leasing Office Space from ATI

Around 60% of all companies in the ATI program are housed at the incubator’s location, most of which are in the IT and Wireless sectors. Biotech companies and Clean Energy companies in need of scientific labs, machinist space, or warehouses are assisted by ATI with finding the best commercial locations. These commercial locations are chosen from ATI’s “Trusted Partners” list, which includes professional service providers such as law firms, financial firms, public relations firms, and commercial real estate providers.

You’ll be able to discuss your office space needs upon acceptance of membership into ATI. ATI rents out office space in Northwest Austin at market price, which is now $20 per square foot, but rates can vary.

A company accepted into the ATI program is not limited to a minimum or maximum number of employees to qualify for office space. Although each office at ATI cannot hold more than four employees, a company can opt to rent multiple offices in order to accommodate their needs.

Apply to be part of the ATI community of entrepreneurs.

Exiting the Incubator & Finding Office Space

office spaceBefore you decide on where to rent office space, you should evaluate (or re-evaluate) your needs and how much you’re willing to spend. Ask yourself the following questions: Will you see clients in the office frequently? What would your ideal office space look like? How many rooms will you need, and how many square feet? How many employees need parking spaces? What part of town do you want to be in, and does your location matter?

For a detailed guide on how to evaluate your office needs, read tips from ChooseWhat co-founder and former commercial real estate broker, Gaines Kilpatrick, on Everything You Didn’t Know about Leasing Office Space, which addresses:

  • How much it costs
  • How much space you need
  • Using a broker vs. making a direct deal
  • Type of office space you need
  • When to look for office space

ATI provides support and guidance for companies graduating from ATI by directing them to commercial real estate providers on their “Trusted Partners” list, in the same fashion that they do with Biotech and Clean Energy companies. The providers on the list are personally recommended by “a fellow entrepreneur who testifies to the quality and value received from the service provider.” With ATI pointing you in the right direction, you can avoid searching for a broker and focus on working with a trusted provider to fulfill your office space needs.

Apply to be part of the ATI community of entrepreneurs.

Fair Warnings

We have yet to discover any alarming steps in this process. Proceed without fear!