Checklist for Leasing Commercial Office, Retail, and Industrial Spaces

Don't Be Impulsive - Be Compulsive When Checking Out Commercial Spaces to Lease

Starting a Business

General Considerations About the Physical Location of Commercial Business Leased Spaces

Business decisions should never be made on an impulse. When it comes to selecting a location for your business you need to be compulsive. Make a checklist before looking at commercial spaces of all the things that your business needs to succeed and take it with you.

If you have not already written a technical feasibility study, consider doing so.

A technical feasibility study can help you think about, plan, and address all the needs of your business that need to be considered when leasing commercial business space.

If you are looking for commercial space that can serve as store-front operations or for walk-in business services, it is especially important to make note of all the following considerations.

Property Maintenance

Is the park maintained well? Run-down parks not only will make your business seem less established, but may also be an indication of an unresponsive landlord.

Visibility to Your Customers

Can the front of the unit be seen from a main road? If not, does the park have a street-visible sign advertising the businesses in the park?

If you are considering retail or industrial space, or renting in a business park, does the owner advertise on behalf of tenants to draw in traffic?


Is there ample parking? Seeing an empty parking lot during after-hours does not tell you anything about parking. The best way to know is to visit the park several times on different days at different times.

A parking lot filled to capacity during normal business hours may be a good indication of steady customer traffic, but it may also mean your customers will have trouble parking.

Be sure to ask how many spaces you and your customers will be assigned.

Accessibility for the Handicapped

Is the building wheel-chair accessible? Are there reasonable and sufficient parking spaces assigned for handicapped drivers? It is the law in all fifty states that there be designated parking for persons with handicaps, and if there are no such accommodations, ask why not, and if they are planned.

If a landlord has to make updates to the building or other facilities to comply with public access laws, your landlord may be able to pass some of these renovation costs along to you!

Safety and Insurance Issues

In almost all commercial leasing situations, you will not be permitted to move in without general commercial liability insurance. If you sign a lease, and find you cannot get insurance, you may still be stuck paying for the lease.

Some of the safety and insurance-related considerations include: Is the area safe and secure, with ample nighttime lighting? Are lighting fixtures broken or in need of repairs?

Is there an alarm service or onsite guard?

Are police and fire departments nearby? Where is the nearest fire hydrant? Are their sprinklers and smoke/fire alarms in the building?

These concerns not only affect you and your customer’s personal safety, but can also affect your ability to get insurance, the amount of coverage you can get, and your insurance rates.

Advertising Restrictions

Are there any restrictions on signs such as size, color, lighting, or do you have to use a landlord’s vendor?

Restrictions on Business Use

Are there restrictions on the type of retail business you can operate, or how many customers you can have daily, or your hours/days of business operation?

Once you find the perfect space, WIB offers tips and advice on getting the perfect lease in, "3 Questions to Ask Before Negotiating or Signing a Commercial Lease."