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Feb 2, 2015

Site Selection Secrets For Commercial Tenants

by Dale Willerton and Jeff Grandfield

The Lease CoachSuccessful site selection means more than location, location, location! As The Lease Coach, we have coached and consulted with many independent and franchise tenants and have found that numerous issues are often overlooked in choosing commercial space to lease. Considering the importance of proper site selection, we have devoted a great deal of attention to this subject in our new book, Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals For Dummies (Wiley, 2013). The following criteria (excerpted from our book) will better

ensure your own business success:

Location Within The Location:

Just because you found a great property to locate your business in, don’t forget that location within the property can be critically important. As an example, a commercial retail unit located at the end of an empty corridor or on the second level of a shopping plaza will not be nearly as busy as one located near the mall’s food court.


Can your business be seen from the street? Or, are there trees or other buildings blocking the view? Visibility by both drive-by and walk-by traffic is ideal.


Typically, there are only so many parking spaces assigned and, once they are taken, they are gone. Negotiate for plenty of parking spots—so that your customers, you and your staff all have a place to park vehicles. Push for parking closer to your door as customers will only walk so far from where they have parked.


What signage is available to you? What type of signage is this? Where is it located? Where would your business name be placed on a common pylon sign shared by other tenants? Would you be charged for any additional signage requested?

Neighbouring Tenants:

Who is doing business next door to you? Will this tenant be conducive or detrimental to your business? Meet and quiz these tenants for yourself. When representing new commercial tenants, The Lease Coach frequently asks pointed questions about neighbours—what you learn may very well surprise you!

Anchor Tenants:

These are the major businesses/retailers which pull customer traffic to a property. How long have these anchors remained in the property? Are they planning to stay or move?


Will your business require a storage area for equipment and/or inventory/supplies? Assure that this area is secure and spacious enough for your needs and entirely usable – pillars and/or additional walls often make for wasted space.


Friend or Foe? Don’t let one agent show you space all over town because this creates commission-splitting. Commercial tenants may believe that the real estate agent or broker is working for them. Note, however, that the listing agent’s commission is being paid by the landlord, and even an outside agent may be sharing in that commission.

Remember, the higher the rental rate often the higher the agent’s commission. Brokers and agents do a great job, but who are they doing the job for and who is paying them to do it?

As The Lease Coach since 1993, we have helped many new and existing commercial tenants negotiate first-time leases and lease renewals as well as choose the most appropriate business location. A good business in a poor location may never reach its full potential. In leasing, commercial tenants don’t get what they deserve—they get what they negotiate.

For a copy of our free CD, Leasing Do’s & Don’ts for Commercial Tenants, please e-mail your request to

Dale Willerton and Jeff Grandfield - The Lease Coach are Commercial Lease Consultants who work exclusively for tenants. Dale and Jeff are professional speakers and co-authors of Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals For Dummies (Wiley, 2013). Got a leasing question? Need help with your new lease or renewal? Call 1-800-738-9202, e-mail or visit www.