Friday, February 26, 2016

Who's the Customer in a Commercial Lease?

It's funny how we can easily lose sight of the big picture when it comes to such an important consideration as leasing a business location. It really requires us to do a 'role-reversal' as we shift our thinking from 'doing everything to please our customers', to realizing that in this instance, 'we are the customer!'

To help us refocus, here are some valuable tips and suggestions from our friends at The Lease Coach! At a time when business owners in many markets are experiencing significant challenges, as well as new opportunities, it can be very helpful to engage the expertise of experienced professionals in those areas where they can add great value.

Thank you Dale Willerton and Jeff Grandfield for once again offering some very helpful insights for our "Business Success" audience!

Dale Willerton
Jeff Grandfield

Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals For Dummies
Commercial Leasing Tips for Commercial Tenants
By: Jeff Grandfield – The Lease Coach

For many business-owners, negotiating a good lease or lease renewal against an experienced agent or landlord can be a challenge. While an entrepreneur focuses on marketing and managing, savvy real estate agents and brokers are specialized sales people. Their job is to sell tenants on leasing their location at the highest possible rental rate. 
As explained in our new book, Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals For Dummies (co-written with my colleague, Dale Willerton), tenants may go through the leasing process only two or three times in their entire lifetime – yet they have to negotiate against seasoned professionals who negotiate leases every day for a living. Negotiating appropriate leasing terms is vital for an entrepreneur as the amount of rent he pays will directly affect the business’ financial bottom line.

Whether you are leasing a new location for the first time or negotiating a lease renewal for your business, these are some money-saving tips for tenants:

You are the Customer: Far too often, tenants act as if they are applying for a lease. If you want to be in the driver’s seat for the lease negotiations, you must remember who is serving whom. The tenant sets the meeting time. The landlord’s agent picks up or drops off documents to you. Shrewd tenants never pick up the restaurant bill if dining over lunch with the landlord or the landlord’s agent. You must always appear to be the buyer … and the customer never pays for lunch. 

Focus on Important Issues: We want to stress that certain issues (such as the rental rate) are deal makers or breakers while other conditions (like providing post-dated cheques) are not. You should never ignore the details but don’t get bogged down over them. Tenants frequently spend inappropriate amounts of time arguing or negotiating where it counts the least. Focus on the most important issues first and foremost and revisit them as the leasing process progresses. 

What’s In a Name? All too often, business owners are tempted to name their company after the building they occupy. While this does create instant location recognition, it also puts them at a disadvantage for initial leases and lease renewals. For example, instead of using the name, Kingsway Mall Jewellers, just call your business Kingsway Jewellers. Try to also avoid street names such as 2nd Avenue Cleaners. Leasing agents often leverage these captive tenants into paying higher rent than necessary because of the likelihood they will not choose or move away from their namesake location.

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

Jeff Grandfield and Dale Willerton - The Lease Coach are Commercial Lease Consultants who work exclusively for tenants. Jeff and Dale 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 or visit

What's been your experience?  

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