Lower Your Rent
The best of times? The worst of times? That depends on which end of the lease you're negotiating. Before the recession Stuart Skorman, CEO of Empire Video Superstore, a small chain of video-rental stores based in Keene, N.H., had his eye on a large retail location that was renting for $85,000 a year. Today, he says, the rate has dropped to $45,000. Retailers and other storefront or mall businesses can take advantage of the recession to lock in lower rents, add more space, or grab a new location they couldn't have touched when landlords weren't so desperate.
Burt Hochberg, general manager of a Jackson Hewitt Inc. tax-service franchise in the Baltimore Washington, D.C., area, offers the following advice:
* Assume any price a landlord quotes is negotiable.
* Deal directly with owners.
* Approach current lease holders about subleases.
* Can't rewrite the terms of your existing lease? Ask the landlord for a spruced-up amenities package.
* Look for deals that give you free rent for several months; maybe the landlord will reduce the front-end deposit.
-- Tom Richman* * *