10 Tips for Leasing Industrial Space

Most people have some experience with leasing, whether for an apartment to live in or an office for work. Leasing industrial space, however, is really quite different. There are factors to consider that are not applicable to residential, office or retail. Read on for 10 tips that will help you choose the right warehouse or industrial space for your business.

Think Beyond Square Footage

In addition to looking at the square footage available in a warehouse, you may also need to think about cubic square footage. This is where ceiling height becomes important. If you need to stack products, boxes or pallets, then make sure there is adequate vertical space. On the other hand, if you don’t need stacking space, then there’s no reason to pay to rent space under a high ceiling.

Know the Floor Load

No matter how high the ceiling is there’s always a floor down below. If your warehouse operation necessitates using heavy equipment or products, then you need to find out how much weight the slab foundation can handle without being damaged. And for obvious reasons, a level floor is very important if you will be stacking items.

Evaluate the Electrical Capacity

Industrial property is often not wired the same as homes and offices. Therefore, you need to make sure the electrical power is sufficient for the equipment and machinery you need to run. An electrical engineer can be hired to evaluate the building.

Check the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning

Industrial spaces do not necessarily have HVAC throughout the building. Nor do they always have systems that maintain a comfortable 70-degree temperature 24/7. Then again, you may not need such a carefully controlled climate. Ensure that the warehouse you are considering has the kind of heating and cooling system you need. A certified HVAC technician can inspect the units. If upgrades or repairs are needed, then you will want to negotiate those with the landlord before signing a lease.

Consider the Parking Lot

Of course, there must be adequate parking for employees. But also the parking lot must be able to accommodate your operation. If your business depends on tractor-trailer deliveries, then the lot must be large enough for these vehicles to maneuver. Similarly, confirm that trucks and other vehicles may park in the lot overnight if necessary.

Determine Your Loading Needs

Double check that a warehouse’s loading area serves the type of trucks that will be making deliveries. For 18-wheelers, there must be dock-high loading. Will you be driving trucks into the warehouse? In that case, you need grade level loading.

Assess the Location

The location of the industrial space that you’re considering should be evaluated from several perspectives. First, is the building within a reasonable proximity to highways or other road connections? Would a location near a railroad spur be advantageous? You certainly want to streamline receiving and distribution as much as possible.

Secondly, how convenient is the location for your workforce?  The functionality of the space should be your chief consideration, but don’t discount the importance of your employees’ commutes when choosing a warehouse location.

Know the Zoning Rules

Many cities have strict regulations about what kinds of industrial operations are permissible in different areas. Make sure the industrial space you’re considering is zoned for your intended use.

Check the Safety Standards and Security

Worker safety is of utmost importance. Therefore, you need to verify that the building is in full compliance with current state and federal health and safety standards. Security is also important. Is there a system in place to protect your team and your property? If not, this may be something to negotiate with the landlord.

Determine the Operating Costs Before Leasing Industrial Space

As you look at different warehouses, consider what it will actually cost to operate the space. Find out what fees and expenses are your responsibility in addition to rent. Also, determine up front whether you or the landlord will pay for needed upkeep or repairs.

Finally, read over the lease carefully, because a leasing agreement for industrial space is not like one for a store or office. A commercial real estate professional who is familiar with industrial leasing can help you understand all of the terms and avoid unnecessary costs.