How to Find Affordable Retail Space

How to Find Affordable Retail Space
  • Opening Intro -

    You have been renting vendor space at a popular flea market for years.

    More than a year ago you upgraded to permanent space inside, where you have enjoyed increased foot traffic.


Still, limited flea market hours mean that you cannot be open all the hours you want.

For flea market vendors and budding entrepreneurs in need of dedicated retail space, a brick and mortar location of your own is in order. While some people thrive by selling goods and services online, you’ve carved out your own niche in physical space and are looking to expand your business. Read on for some tips on how to find affordable retail space.

Determine your budget.

You’ve been renting space for a small amount each month. Perhaps your shop is in your garage and you’re looking to move to your very first off-site location.

In moving to a larger location, you can expect to pay much more than what you are paying now. Not just rent, but electricity, water and heat may be charged separately. You need to determine your budget in a bid to find out what you can afford. Then, shop for a place based on that budget.

Search for locations.

Most retail shops put a big emphasis on location, especially where ample foot traffic ensures regular and repeat business. Consider the areas where your customers live as places to look. Then, narrow it down by finding a location that is suitable for you.

Retail shops should offer ample street visibility. Other concerns, including off-street parking, access to public transportation, competing stores and footprint flexibility.

Contact the landlord.

If you find a place that interests you, contact the landlord or the leasing company that manages the property. That information is typically posted on a sign or featured in an ad.

Get basic information about the site before arranging a tour. Even if the rent is too high, touring the location can give you a feel for what space is available, enabling you to project how you would set up your business. You may find much flexibility in lease terms, so don’t allow the initial price to scare you. Repeat this process for other retail outlets that interest you.

Choose a location.

With a location in mind, you are ready to negotiate your lease terms. Of importance are the lease terms and your projected growth. Choose a shorter term lease if you expect much growth. You can always negotiate automatic renewals that favor you.

You should also know that the longer you commit to leasing retail space, the more likely you will find the landlord will to negotiate terms. The more leverage you have, the better you will do when asking for concessions.

If your retail space is to be occupied “as is” then you will be responsible for making improvements. Otherwise, your landlord may make those improvements and charge you for the service. Still, you will be responsible for shelving, counters and storage racks, a cost that must be factored into your rent expense.

Speak With an Attorney

A lease, like any contract, can contain variables that you may not understand. It is good practice to have that lease reviewed by an attorney before signing it.

Not all attorneys are experts in commercial leasing. Find one that is, then have her review your contract. She will make recommendations or may insist that certain clauses be removed, updated or added before you sign the lease.

Complete the Leasing Process

Before you sign a retail outlet lease, your landlord may request a background check. Wait for the results of that check before proceeding.

Once your lease request is approved, you are ready to begin modifying the space as you prepare to welcome your first customers. Your attorney may have negotiated some free time for you to set up shop, so take advantage of those rent-free days to get ready.

Open for Business

As you prepare to open for business, set a date and time for that opening. Notify your current customers of that change and advertise accordingly. Invite local press to cover your move, details that can smooth your transition. If beneficial, join the local Chamber of Commerce or business association to network with other retailers and business operators.

See AlsoHow to Get Out of a Rental Lease Early


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Categories: Business Management

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".