As a residential property inspector, you may have run your business out of your home for years, using a space or room dedicated to your business activities.  Much of your time is spent out in the field, and you may use your home office for writing and generating reports, for conducting marketing duties, and for taking CCPIA’s online education using your home computer.  And your desk, filing cabinet, computer and printer cramped into an 8×10 room may have been perfectly adequate, until circumstances changed.

Perhaps your business is expanding, and you’ve had to take on a helper.  You may now want to use a commercial rental for enough room for two people to work and to store tools and supplies for the job.  Maybe you’ve expanded your inspection business to include commercial properties, and you feel it would be more appropriate to have meetings in a place other than your private residence.  Or, it could be that your family is growing and their activities are squeezing your workspace out.
Whatever the reasons, consider the following questions when making the decision to move your inspection business out of your home.
  • With the addition of rent, utilities, equipment, furniture, insurance, revised marketing materials and travel, your operating expenses will go up.  Can you afford them, based on the revenue you’re generating?  If you use an accountant (or even if you don’t), find out what business expenses and capital assets are deductible from your income tax.  You may be able to afford more for your offsite business than you thought you could.
  • Can you find a commercial property that is centrally located?  Travel expenses may be deductible, but time is still money, so don’t spend too much on commuting.
  • Is the commercial property owner amenable to negotiating lease items, such as build-outs, rent deductions, early release from the rental agreement, or a break on utilities?  While more and more small business owners are shutting their doors or moving their enterprises into their homes, exploit this aspect of the current economic downturn and negotiate with your prospective landlord on any details you can.
  • Can you share a rental space with another business?  What factors of compatibility are important to you in order to maintain productivity and professionalism?  Also, find out what areas of the premises are defined under your lease agreement, in addition to your responsibility for shared spaces.
  • Dividing your time between work and family may be easier with a commercial rental for your business because you may find that you’re more productive with an offsite office.  But renegotiating family time may be a part of the equation if you’re not as readily accessible as when you were working at home.