Expanding your company is one of the most exciting steps in a career. But often, that means entering a new state you may not be very familiar with. This can make it challenging to find the ideal place for your office.
This article should help you make that decision. It covers six tips for choosing an office location in a state you aren’t familiar with. So let’s get into it.
Identify hubs of economic activity
One of the first requirements your new office needs to satisfy is being convenient for clients to access. To ensure that happens, you’ll want to locate the office in an area with lots of economic activity.
For example, a company that sells financial software would do well to locate itself within a city’s financial district. That way, it’s much easier to interact in person with clients and prospects.
If you’re struggling to find the economic center of your state, then consider trying economic mapping. Economic mapping is comparing the various traits of a location to the regional average. It can be a super helpful way to figure out the most convenient parts of a state for your business.
Of course, sometimes the answer is more obvious. For example, if you want to expand to New York, then getting an office space in New York City is a must.
Consider local tax rules
Being in an economic hotspot is a priority, but you’ll only be able to do it if you can afford to operate in that area. Of course, everyone thinks about the cost of renting office space and hiring talent in a new location, but your company should also pay close attention to local tax rules.
The highest-taxed cities in the country have state + local tax rates that exceed 10%. That’s a huge chunk of your annual profits that will just disappear every year. You could save a minimum of 5% annually by picking a locality with a more favorable tax code.
Compare commercial property insurance costs
Commercial property insurance is a huge component of protecting your business against events outside your control, such as theft, fire, and flooding. You can read more here about the types of coverage you can get from commercial property insurance.
We bring this up because the cost of commercial insurance can vary considerably based on the location of the building that you want to insure. So, for example, if you’re located in an area known for having high crime rates, your insurance costs could rise to the point where you can no longer afford the coverage you want.
Another big step in choosing a location for your business is getting quotes on commercial property insurance for each area you’re considering. This may help you decide between two similar pieces of property that you’re looking at.
Looks for areas that are rich with talent
You also want to ensure that you have a rich pool of talent to pull from whenever you need to hire a new employee. It’s going to be easier for you to do this in some areas than others.
For example, hiring a skilled web developer will be much easier in New York City than in rural upstate New York. This is a factor you must consider as you look for the best location for your company.
Nearby colleges can be a good indicator of talent-rich areas that aren’t necessarily in big cities. For example, a place like Ann-Arbor, Michigan, has a much deeper talent pool than its population would suggest because it is home to The University of Michigan – one of the top public universities in the country.
Consider Alternative Office Types
It’s also possible that traditional office space isn’t the best fit for your growing company. For example, if you value flexibility and working from home, it could make sense to give your team some space in a co-working building, such as the ones operated by WeWork and Expansive.
These spaces reduce operating costs because you’re just renting out some offices instead of an entire building or an entire floor in one. As a result, they can be an excellent way to get a foothold in a new state while keeping your costs down.
Perform a cost-benefit analysis
Finally, once you’ve analyzed all of these factors, you can complete the process of selecting your new location by performing a cost-benefit analysis for each of them.
This will involve essentially making a pros and cons list for each option you’re considering and then comparing those lists. Be sure to rate each factor’s relative importance to you so that your decision-making process helps you arrive at the best choice possible for your growing company.