How To Lease A Commercial Space In Black Atlanta
Ever drive by a FOR LEASE Sign in Atlanta and wonder to yourself:
I wonder how much that space is for my XYZ business idea.
Read on for a high level overview of how I approached the situation on multiple commercial space leases that my Wife and I have acquired. We will talk about the first commercial rental and then expand on future articles.
Black Atlanta Business: If it is possible for me, It is possible for you.
Since moving to Atlanta in 1992 to matriculate and graduate Morehouse College in 1996, never before then or after would I have ever imagined that I'd negotiate several commercial building space leases for my own business. The spirit of Black Atlanta is contagious though, and it truly made me want to try a hand at Business.
The only place I know where the entrepreneurial spirit screams even louder is New York City. Every time I visit that city and it's surrounding areas, I get even hungrier and ambitious to come back home to Atlanta to go harder.
Our First Commercial Space : Just the Process
- We drove by and saw a For Lease sign on two different spaces in a plaza on the South Side of Atlanta.
- After calling the number on the unit, we left a couple of messages before getting a call back.
- Once they called back, they asked for two things: Proof of Income and A Concept.
- Typically, they will give you pricing for commercial space also. This may help you judge what your budget would be in your business model.
- They will send over an application.
- After consideration, they will give you a Yes, Maybe, or a No.
Now let's explain a few more details on numbers 1-6.
1. Finding Out About Commercial Spaces
Use commercial space websites like Crexi.com or Loopnet.com Should you decide that a drive-by of all of the streets and areas of your possible business is not possible. These websites will allow you to put in filters such as Type of Business and How Much You Want to Pay etc.
2. Commercial Lease Brokers
Typically, for some reason, most Commercial Lease brokers are VERY slow in getting back to someone inquiring about the space. Commercial Lease Brokers are possibly overloaded by general inquiries by both qualified and unqualified people tire kicking the opportunity. Something that may help you is to get your own Commercial Lease Broker to call/email/contact the property of interest. If you can get an email, then it may be beneficial for you to automatically share a high level concept of your business idea and a hint of your Proof of Income. This may bait them to a conversation.
If you need a Realtor who can help you determine your Residential or Commercial Needs, Check out Kyera Perry!
3. Proof of Income and Concept
Proof of income is straight forward. Typically a Commercial Broker or Landlord wants to at least see 6 months of rent that you'd have dedicated to the space. In addition, they may want to see enough money in the account for a deposit to hold the space, as well as your anticipated Build Out, Inventory, and Labor budget. So, just think high level of all the budgetary items that you will need to operate your business and then be able to provide a glimpse of having that money in your bank account. Get it?
For the Concept, we present a Business Model in 1-2 pages. I suggest this template here: https://www.strategyzer.com/canvas/business-model-canvas
It allows you to outline how you will make money, expenses that you will have, what your customers, partners, vendors will look like, as well as marketing channels you will need to get the word out about your business. It also shows the value propositions for your Business, which make it special for a Landlord or Commercial Lease Broker to see if your business would be a fit for their space. Lastly, while I am not opposed to a Business Plan, this one page Business Model gives you an opportunity to really ideate on what will make your business special. Think of it as an elevator pitch for the landlord to review.
Pricing is straight forward. Either you will know the pricing from Loopnet or Crexi OR the Commercial Broker or Landlord will share with you. Again, it will be imperative for you to know how much of a space you can afford. This is where the Business Model will come into place, as well as an Operating Budget for your Business.
5 & 6: Application and Consideration
Most likely, the Broker has received a lot of interest for the unit. Some of the things that are typical in an application include bank statements for a few months that show the money being there and ready to use. You may also be asked to provide permission for your credit to be pulled. Your personal credit will be used as a Guarantee that should you default, will guarantee the Landlord's investment in you. Get an idea of the application process and the time for an application review and answer. This gives you the opportunity to not drive yourself or the Commercial Broker crazy asking for updates.
In the end, starting a Business in Black Atlanta can be an exciting venture. Knowing the ins and outs of the experience can be helpful. Getting your first lease in Atlanta takes patience and persistence and hard work. However, once you get the first lease, the subsequent ones become easier.
Good luck on your venture for your first lease in Black Atlanta!