How to find the perfect office space for your engineering firm.
As a bastion of education and progress, it’s no surprise that Raleigh is home to over 400 engineering firms. With new firms starting up and moving in every day, this number is only expected to increase.
Given the presence and incredible growth of the engineering industry in Raleigh we couldn’t just sit back and let new engineering firms wander aimlessly looking for an office space. So, we partnered with HNTB’s Associate Vice President, Chuck Johnson, to provide new engineering firms with practical advice for finding the perfect office space.
Below are the 4 tips you can use to find an office space that will allow your engineering firm to thrive and grow:
- Find a landlord who understands your business.
When searching for an office space for your engineering firm, finding a landlord who truly understands your business is key to finding a proper office space.
As Chuck suggests:
Having a local landlord who understands our business and is vested in our success is important to HNTB. [O]ur business and space needs can be a challenge to predict.
Hint: Look for landlords who already work with engineering clients as they will have experience finding and fitting offices for companies like yours.
- Don’t forget about location.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “The 3 most important factors of real estate are location, location, location.” Though this saying is often associated with residential real estate, it holds true for commercial real estate as well.
According to Chuck:
The location of the office is also very important to HNTB. We conducted a study and found that the centroid of all of our employees’ residences was about half a mile from the office, which is extremely close given the size of our municipal area.
[I]t is important to have easy access to major commuting routes, lunch restaurants within walking distance, and nearby retail stores and services. Those amenities help simplify the lives of our employees, and serve to retain our quality employees. Having nearby quality hotels and restaurants are [also] important for business reasons.
Hint: When selecting your office space, remember to keep the relative location of your customers in mind. Moving your office to a new city 50 miles away from your customer base isn’t a smart idea. Even a move of 10-15 miles can cause certain customers to turn away in search of someone closer.
- Think about the future.
Chances are, you need a new office space because you’ve outgrown your old one. Though it’s impossible to accurately predict the future, you should try to look for office space that can support your growth. Almost nothing is as annoying to your employees and customers as you moving your office every 2-3 years because you failed to properly plan for your growth.
As Chuck puts it:
No one has a crystal ball, but you should reference your business plan and think about what you expect to be and how you plan to operate in the future. Knowing that, I recommend developing space that is flexible, functional, and reasonably appointed.
Also, plan to make use of technology in the office. Technology can save time and improve efficiency. Therefore, as the cost of technology drops and the cost of labor increases—leverage technology to your benefit.
Hint: Selecting a space that can meet your future needs is tough. Don’t approach it alone. As Chuck suggests, “When planning your space, you should listen to the professionals such as your designer and landlord—they do that all the time and you probably don’t!”
- Look for a space that will attract and retain talent.
The last thing you want is for potential or current employees to turn away from your company because your office space isn’t properly maintained or designed. Although office space may seem like something that has no bearing on attracting or retaining talent, it actually plays a pretty big role.
As Chuck explains:
We have hired over 20 people in our Raleigh office this year, and our office has been a factor in attracting talent. This includes the quality of our space as well as the location, local amenities, and available parking. We renovated and reconfigured our space recently and were a little surprised to find that it impacted recruiting and client impressions as much as it did. People visit our office and want to work here.
Hint: Look at the companies similar to yours who are attracting top talent. What does their office space look like? How does it feel? What vibe does it give off? Consider this when performing your search.
Finding the perfect office space for your engineering firm can be a daunting process. However, by utilizing the 4 tips mentioned above, you should be able to cut a lot of headache and hassle out of your search process.
HNTB Corporation is an employee-owned infrastructure solutions firm serving public and private owners and contractors. With more than a century of service, HNTB understands the life cycle of infrastructure and addresses clients’ most complex technical, financial and operational challenges. Professionals deliver a full range of infrastructure-related services, including award-winning planning, design, program and construction management.
Learn more at: www.HNTB.com.