Location, Location, Location: Counting Down the Top 9 Tips Before Signing Your First Commercial Lease

Maybe you’ve had your business for a couple of years. Perhaps you’ve been doing it as a side hustle or hobby but now you are taking the next steps to become legit, by exploring locations for your business operation! Congratulations!  Here is a countdown of the top nine tips to consider when looking at commercial space for your business.

9. How close is the space to amenities?

It is important to think about this from a client and employee point of view. What are the food options surrounding your location? What is the parking situation? Are there sidewalks near your business? Do employees have walkability?

8. Think about the businesses nearby your ideal location.

Look at the other businesses that surround that space you are considering. Do those businesses complement what you are offering? Do they attract your target market? Are they your competition?

7. Is the location visible from the road?

Depending on the type of business, visibility from a road can be a major success factor for the future of your business. Are you close to a main road, or pushed back in an industrial park? Are you allowed to have signage on the outside of your space? Do your clients feel safe accessing your facility? Your business model should match the feel of the industrial park, strip mall, or historic location you want to be in.

6. Safety first!

This may seem silly but take into consideration businesses with late hours such as restaurants or fitness centers. Would your employees feel safe leaving late at night or opening in the early morning hours? If clients and employees don’t feel safe, that won’t be good for anyone!

5. Check to see if the space is located within town limits.

In Loudoun County, we have seven amazing towns where you can open a business but keep that in mind! You are subject to operate by each town’s zoning ordinances. There are many benefits to opening your business in town such as walkability, a tight-knit business community, and more opportunities for community involvement. Also, make sure you are aware of any town taxes or assessments you may be subject to pay and ask about benefits you may have access to.

4. Talk to your future neighbors

Hit the streets and talk to the existing businesses surrounding the location you are considering. This is a great way to know your potential neighbors and find out how long they have been located in that space. Ask about the pros and cons and other information that may be relevant to the location.

3. Is the space already built out?

When touring a space, check to see if the layout is what you envisioned for your business. If it’s not ideal, then you will need to start thinking about and planning for permits and a construction budget.

2. How will your clients access your business?

Do you rely on foot traffic or are you a destination business? Your business model should help guide your location decision.

1. Check the zoning before signing your lease!

Zoning is the act or process of partitioning a city, town, or borough into zones reserved for different purposes (such as residences or businesses).

Your business location will be zoned a certain way. Be sure to identify the appropriate zoning to ensure the type of business you want to run is permitted “by right”. Meaning you can operate out of that space without any extra permits.

It’s a lot but don’t be overwhelmed. You are finally taking that scary first step of going into a brick and mortar and this is an exciting time for you and your business! Loudoun Economic Development is here to help you every step of your business journey and will help guide you as you look towards the future of your business.

Our team can help you with zoning, permits, and location assistance. As always, if you have more questions, you can email me!

Headshot of KC Tregoning

Department of Economic Development
Title: Business Retention Specialist
Phone: 703-771-5427