Every business has a learning curve as it grows, and the collective wisdom learned along the way becomes an invaluable knowledge base. This is especially true in regard to your facility strategy. By analyzing what was done right and what could be improved in each new location or lease renewal process, you can develop rules to achieve the greatest return and avoid pitfalls.
If your firm has multiple branch locations, try this simple exercise: Take your annual Total Occupancy Costs (Rent + all Operating Expenses) and divide by an annual revenue metric such as Adjusted Gross Profit or Gross Sales. For example, if a location has $240,000 in TOC and AGP at that location last year was $5M, then your real estate costs represented 4.8%. Now do that for each site.
What you’ll find, of course, is that each location has a different real estate cost as a percentage of revenue. The magic question is: WHY?
Some locations will be more efficient than the others. You need to dig out the reasons behind that efficiency. Likewise, some locations will be grossly inefficient. You can also learn from them what not to do.
If you are a sales organization, perhaps one facility has more seats/SQFT than the other. If each sales person brings in an average of $200K per year, then every 5 extra seats in that facility represent $1M in revenue. Fit them in without increasing the square footage, and you’ve just added some real value for your organization.
You can be certain that there are more savings to be had by developing best practices for your unique business operations than in negotiating another $1/SQFT off of the rate.
The same is true when it comes to using a real estate representative. While local market knowledge is always important, it is more critical that they have a detailed understanding of these nuances of your company:
- WHY renew or relocate?
- WHERE is the ideal location?
- WHO will use the space and in what way?
- HOW does the space compare to your competitors?
- WHAT makes a layout efficient? and most importantly,
- WHAT is the long term objective for this part of your business and how can you structure a lease that will help accomplish those goals in the most cost-effective way?
Using metrics like the one described above, and taking the time to understand what makes your space efficient for your operations or not, will ultimately deliver more cost effective space solutions.