Finding a space for you to work out of can be one of the most difficult things to decide on when opening or moving your business. There are so many things to think about beyond the cost of rent, even though rent will probably be your biggest cost as a solo practitioner. Here's a list to help you have some markers for making choices.
1. Location, location, location. Of course! We all hear this everywhere. And it is true. If you are currently doing business 50 miles away from where you are thinking about moving, you need to understand you will loose some of your clients. Probably a significant portion of them. But that doesn't mean you should never move. It just means you need to understand you're needing to gain new clientele. And you've already done that, so you can do it again.
2. What kind of owner do you want? Would you prefer an owner you never see? One that is always available for discussion? Remember when you go to check out a space, you're interviewing them way more than they're interviewing you. Do you have access to the owner during your interview? What do they have to offer to you with their personal wisdom? Do they have experience in your industry? Do they have a network already set up that they can refer you to for help? There's a vast array of owners from the never-gonna-see absentees to thinks-I-work-for-them types. Each has their own sets of pros and cons. It's important to know who you're dealing with, and if you actually want to deal with that.
3. What kind of vibe does the place have? The decor should be slightly neutral or something that is suited to your ideal client. For example, if your ideal client is a male construction worker that comes weekly to get adjusted because of a back injury, a waiting area surrounded in fresh flowers, bright pink chairs, and pictures of lipstick with Marilyn Monroe quotes might make him feel a little bit uncomfortable. Make sure you pick a place that attracts your ideal client, not just you.
4. How much can you personalize your space? Does the owner allow you to paint, nail up pictures, or change out storage? Sometimes rooms will just fit what you need it to look like or function as right away. Sometimes you'll need to do a little bit of decor work. Check with the owner during your walk through for what they allow.
5. Do they offer any benefits that you would actually use? Do they offer any supplies that you use? Pay for internet, phone, or utilities? Offer a front desk person? Schedule appointments for you? Offer any free weeks for vacation? What do they offer that either makes your life easier or saves you money?
6. Do they offer amenities for your client? Do they give complimentary beverages? Have a snack machine for them while they wait? A make up station to put themselves back together after you've given them massage hair? Do they have a relaxation room to utilize? And are these things your clients would actually like or use?
As you can see, comparing spaces is not apples to apples. My advice is to make a great big list for pros and cons for each space you're considering. Remember when looking at finances to include everything beyond just rental rates.
I also highly recommend knowing who your ideal client is before you start scouting places. You need to know where they live, where they work, what kind of vibe will make them love you before you invest a large amount of money into a lease. If you need help with finding exactly who your ideal client is and what they need, download the free workbook to get going on that.
Much wellness-preneur success to you!