Opening a Business in Boca Raton – Choosing a Location

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We recently opened a marketing company office in Boca Raton after having worked out of our home offices previously.  It wasn’t as simple as I expected it to be, so I thought I’d share what steps I had to take, the obstacles I encountered and what I had to do to make it happen.

You can’t open a new office without finding a location first. We had to choose where we were going to put our offices.

Boca Raton is known for its volume of unused office space thanks to the square footage unoccupied in T-REX complex. That fact doesn’t make the office space up for lease any cheaper. I live out by Town Center so I was looking in the offices off off Military and around Butts Road. Most of the initial research I did involved calling the numbers posted on vacancy signs outside the locations themselves.

A Time Saving Tip for Getting Phone Numbers

I used Craigslist to search online and  drove around looking for vacancy signs. One little trick I employed that ended up saving me some gas was to “drive around” using Google Maps’ Street View. It’s an effective way to get phone numbers from vacancy signs.

The Advertised Price Per Square Foot and the Hidden CAM

After finding some ads with comparably low cost per square foot I made some appointments. A few of the higher priced office spaces include an additional charge called a CAM. This is a rate that’s calculated per square foot, effectively raising the total cost, and goes towards building maintenance, common areas, and security. There were some locations that advertised $13/sqft advertised but upon visiting I learned that the CAM was also $13/sqft, bringing the total cost to $26/sqft. One feature of many Class-A office spaces are shared restrooms in common areas and a high degree of competition for parking.

Going East in Boca Raton – A Wider Price Range for Commercial Space

We weren’t able to find any space that seemed appropriate for my budget and square footage needs. I didn’t want to go any further west of my house so I extended my search to the east of FAU. There were a few smaller offices along Second Avenue that weren’t bad, but these were more appropriate for one or two people, maximum. I was looking for something I could fit around a half dozen people in comfortably and still have an open conference room.

Class A Office Space versus a Warehouse Build Out

Some spaces to the east included warehouses with office spaces built out inside. There was one space just to the south of Spanish River, off Dixie Highway, that was really nice and clean and had two decent size offices inside. Unfortunately I didn’t follow up with the realtor in time and lost the space to someone else. One bit of advice is: explain in detail to your realtor what your expectations are and the limits of what you’ll settle for. Initially we didn’t explain to the realtor that Class-A office space wasn’t our ideal, so we spent more time than we should have looking at high-end offices when we should have targeted the warehouse/office build out sooner.

After lots of patience and communicating we finally found the perfect place for our offices – right in the heart of the Boca Raton Design District. The next few posts will divulge the details around our experiences getting permitted and licensed for business by The City and County.

 

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