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Renting space for your blacksmith business

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Anyone renting space to run your blacksmith business out of? If so any advice, lessons learned, do's and don'ts you would share?

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As very wise man once said, if you rent you should have everything ready to move to a new location in 24-48 hours. That way the landlord knows not to hassle you, quickly raise the rent etc.

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Commercial leases often get weird.  But then again, renting space from Joe Average can bite you also--I've known several people who rented space from a Joe and Joe tried to micromanage THEIR business:  Constantly sticking their nose in and wanting X, Y and Z done differently.  So, I guess in terms of landlord troubles, it's probably a wash.

In true commercial leases, expect to be required to have about a million in liability/fire/damage insurance which lists the landlord as an "additional insured" party...you basically are paying to insure them to some extent.  Also watch out for "Triple net" which is sometimes just listed as NNN:  That means you pay the property taxes, maintenance, and general utilities prorated for your percent of space in the complex.  NNN can easily add a couple of hundred bucks to what you thought was your lease payment.

Expect to pay a hefty premium for shorter leases.  Mine are 3 year cycles here and they have no interest in less.  

In commercial space, expect the fire department to come and inspect at least once a year.  They check to make sure you do monthly inspections of the fire extinguishers, aren't storing stuff you shouldn't (technically, you can't even have propane inside in most areas) and that the other basics of fire code aren't being violated (such as blocked exit pathways).  They almost always search until they can find something to whine about but are usually not jerks about things unless you are a big problem.

And then you need to get a commercial dumpster with a commercial space.  You don't "have to" but it's not like home garbage service where you can get by fairly cheap.  If you do get garbage service, it tends to be much more costly and there are some other problems--for example, if you are in a place where people fill your dumpster with their old mattresses so you need to lock it, the garbage company will charge extra.  If a dumpster has wheels and someone moves it so the driver has to get out of the truck to move it into position for pick up, the garbage company will charge extra.

Electricity is also more expensive for just the basic monthly fee.  They also tend to charge more per KWH than home service.

It's a big step to go to a commercial space.  Be darned sure you are ready for it.  If you can find a "Joe" mentioned above who has appropriate space and isn't a jerk, I'd lean that way for smithing space--even with the possible hassles of Joe constantly checking in.  He might be less savvy to the SOP of commercial leases and give you more flexibility with less hassle.  A friend just got dome with one of those micromanaged versions though--the guy was the "sue happy" type who filed small claims suits constantly.  It might be worth doing a search if you don't know the guy to see if he is that type.  

 

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Go find your local small business association or similar and ask some questions. They will tell what the fees are and what the likely pitfalls are.

Here commercial leases are very costly in other fees. Generally they require you to pay the rates (council fees for the land, water, sewage, rubbish bin collection etc), the council charges way more for these services for commercial property than residential property.

They also require you to fit out the establishment, then make it good at the end of a lease. They might even try to charge you for a fitout a previous tenant has left in place.

There will likely be a multitude of insurances you will need to have as well, they should be able to advise you on that as well.

 

 

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