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What to look for when selecting a space for your business

Finding a home for your café, store, art studio or startup should involve tours of several potential properties

A man looks at a clipboard in a garden centre
A man looks at a clipboard in a garden centre

Before walking into the building, take a look the surroundings. Where will customers and employees park? How far is the closest bus stop? How frequent is transit service? Is it accessible to people with disabilities?

Once inside, look at the condition – and sophistication – of the locks on the doors and windows. Also consider whether the common areas and parking lots are adequately lit. Lobbies, elevators, hallways and shared restrooms will make an impression on visiting clients and should be maintained accordingly. Pause for a moment to consider the unit’s acoustics. Do you hear the other tenants or traffic noise? Also consider the lighting. How far does natural light reach?

When you find the right location and are ready to negotiate, experts advise working through a broker and speaking to a lawyer before making any commitments.

Once a deal starts coming together, you’ll want to be sure a lease agreement spells out who is responsible for covering the cost of initial renovations. Landlords will often give new tenants a budget to fit-out their space, depending on how long the lease runs.

The Quartier Vanier BIA has prepared several tools to help entrepreneurs across the city find the right home for their businesses. These include a step-by-step guide to finding a location in Ottawa as well as a commercial space directory.

Visit to access these resources and learn more.