Finding a Location


Once you’ve got a plan, the legal pieces sorted out, and a business name, you might be ready to find a location for your business. This may involve permitting or completing the registration process so you can start operating, depending on the kind of business you plan to run.

Finding a Location

As you’ve probably heard, the right location is crucial to success. Whether you’re looking for a retail storefront, an office with easy client access, nearby coffee shops, and restaurants, or a coworking space to establish and grow your business outside of your home-office, there are several factors that can influence the decision of where to set up shop.

An easy way to simplify the process is to choose a location that was previously the same use, or type of business, you plan to open. This can potentially reduce your costs for fees that are tied to new uses as well as additional permits, and may even reduce the need to make significant changes to the space. 

Depending on your type of business, it’ll be important to look into the dynamics of local demographics, the labor market, supply chain, and competition. You should also be thinking about more basic needs such as: how much space you really need, how much rent you can afford, and what your lease structure should look like.

One other idea to consider is sharing a space with co-tenants who sell similar products or work in a field that is beneficial to your own. This can save you money on rent and potentially increase your customer reach.

If you’re looking for property available for sale or lease, use our Space Available tool. You can enter the type of building you’re looking for, size, and rate, and it will provide a list of available properties along with the contact information for the broker associated with that building. The Space Available tool provides invaluable data tools as well, to help you conduct market research and identify the best locations for your business.

Before you sign a lease or purchase a building, reach out to us to make sure it’s zoned properly for your use. We can pre-screen the property to give you an idea of what the permitting process will look like, including timelines and an estimated permit cost. You do not want to sign a lease or purchase a building only to find out later that you can't actually operate your business there. 

Coworking Spaces

If you’re just starting out and thinking about working out of your home, we highly recommend the coworking spaces located here in Santa Cruz: NextSpace and CruzioWorks (and Satellite coming soon). They provide professional alternatives to the loneliness of the home office or hustle and bustle of crowded coffee shops. These spaces offer a community of startup founders, entrepreneurs, independent professionals, freelancers, and remote workers like yourself. 

Furthermore, these communities provide opportunities to network, people to bounce ideas off of and potentially do business with. They also provide many of the basic necessities needed to run a businesses: access to high-speed internet, 24/7 access, professional meeting facilities, unlimited coffee, and flexible workspaces from private offices to open cafe-style seating.

Lease Negotiations

Once you find that perfect spot, you'll want to make sure you are prepared for the next step: lease negotiations. 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of leases, here are a couple of terms you’ll need to understand:

  • Triple Net Lease: A lease in which 100% of all taxes, insurance, and maintenance associated with the property is paid by the tenant
  • Tenant Improvements: customized alterations to a rental space in order to configure the space for the needs of a particular tenant. These can be paid for by the property owner or tenant.

Finding the perfect location for your business can be very exciting, but before signing a lease there are some important factors to consider.

First, it’s important to know the real cost of renting a space. Will there be tenant improvements needed before you move in or as you grow? Will there be monthly or annual triple net expenses on top of your monthly rent? If you are in a parking district, will there be annual parking fees?

Second, if you’re signing a multi-year lease, you should know if there will be rent increases and calculate whether those additional costs will be manageable for your business down the road. You only want to sign into a lease that works for you and your business, and the time to negotiate is before you sign. It can be a good idea to build in some flexibility so that you have options to expand, renew, or leave early. If you have the resources, hire a broker, they can be a great resource and can often help you during the negotiation process.

Finally, don’t sign the lease until you’re certain that the space will work for your business in terms of zoning, parking, and any necessary tenant improvements you need to make.

Click here for more information and tips on lease negotiations

In the next step, Permit, we’ll walk you through the process of getting your permits and registering with the various departments.