Shopping for commercial real estate for your business has its own special challenges. First of all, I can almost guarantee you that you are never going to get exactly what you want. Let me explain. If you list your criteria for the ideal location: square footage, space configuration, ceiling height, neighborhood, suitable parking situation, price range, etc., — that place almost certainly does not exist.
The current economy is good, and there is a limited supply of commercial real estate.
While picking from what inventory is available, there will be trade-offs. Example: you really want 2,000 square feet but you find an amazing site in every other way, only it happens to be 2500 or 1500 square feet….you will find a way to make it work. This is the reality of commercial real estate.
When considering a location for your business there is plenty of public information about things like population density and household income, and that information is important. But when assessing a location, large retail chains, franchise development companies and top franchisors use highly specialized (and enormously expensive) software that is much more sophisticated. These tools allow assessment of locations that take into consideration specific consumer purchasing habits in an area. They also ‘score’ locations based on how effectively other established retail attracts the same target audience that you want. Example: Whole Foods attracts a very similar consumer to most fitness studios, so the existence of a nearby Whole Foods would be a positive in location assessment, regardless of demographics nearby.
The bottom line? Choosing the right location is obviously critical.
Because you will likely sign a long term lease and spend big money building out the space, you cannot “try out” a spot and then move if it doesn’t work out. You are committed. Spending the time and money up front is what the professionals do.