Lessons Learned from my First Commercial Office Space

This year has been a whirlwind of changes and with each new day I learn something new not only about running a business but also about who I am and my ability to persevere through it all.

Earlier this year I found the perfect office space for my growing stationery business Oh So Paper.

I was so excited to finally be out of my house and able to set clear boundaries between work and home.

Boundaries were my biggest struggle working at home.

Work seemed never ending and was always there tempting me to sit down and do just one last thing.

Finally had the office laid out the way I wanted and was ready to begin putting the finishing touches on things.

 

I finally had my space and was slowly making it my own. 

About 6 months into my lease it was broken into the first time.

Then a week later it was broken into again by the same people. 

The very next day I made the tough decision to pack everything up and move operations back  to my house.

After the break in my full 900sq ft office was broken down and moved into my garage.

Although all of that was happening I decided to only focus on the positives and keep moving forward.

I figured since the entire experience was a teachable moment and I would like to share with you some of the things I learned about renting a commercial office space.

Location, Location, Location!

Be aware of your surroundings.

Go to the office in the day, in the late afternoon and even in the later part of the evening.

Going up there multiple times throughout the day can help you see what type of people may be hanging around if any.

Also be aware of how far emergency services are from the space such as the police and fire department. 

You never know when you will need them and if you do need them you want to make sure it won't take long for them to respond.

Adjust the thermostat

You may be thinking what does this have to do with anything!  Let me tell you a little story. 

I make paper goods and so humidity is really really bad when it comes to paper and ink.   

If the humidity is too high it can cause ink not to dry and paper to curl.

What I discovered was that whenever I turned on the air condition the air in the space would become extremely wet. 

The humidity was off the charts and I ended up having to rent a commercial dehumidifier. 

This of course could have been avoided if I had spent time adjusting the thermostat and seeing how conditions changed once the temps changed.

I will definitely be paying attention to this when looking at my next commercial space.

Read the lease and all the contracts

Commercial rentals aren't anything like renting an apartment so read your lease forward and backward. 

You may find that you are on the hook for most of the maintenance in the space. 

Which can be quite costly especially to a new business.

One thing I didn't realize when turning on services at a business are the contracts. 

When you turn on cable or internet at your home there usually aren't contracts and you aren't locked into anything.

Business services don't work that way. 

I didn't realize that I was in 3 year contracts with some of the services at my space because I had thought they operated the same as my residential services.  Needless to say I had to figure out a way to fulfill my contract even though I no longer had the space.   

I ended up having to shut off residential service at my home and roll the business services to my residence instead.

Here is our temporary production office at my house. 

I am happy to report that we have found a new office in a great part of town close to the house and much safer.

Here is a little peak at our new office we sign the lease on 9/5 YAY!! Stay tuned for how I transform the new Oh So Paper HQ!!