User Needs Analysis

After the need for space has been established, a user needs analysis must be conducted. This process captures vital information such as the user’s physical, geographic, budget, timing, and various subjective requirements. The analysis should differentiate between must-have requirements and wish list items. When combined with the financial analysis these criteria ultimately shape the space acquisition decision.

The information that should be incorporated in a needs analysis includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  1. Overview of the business
    • History, business plans, objectives of the tenant’s/purchaser’s company, etc.
  2. Space requirements
    • Space/square footage is needed?
    • Proposed use?
    • Contiguous or noncontiguous space? Can employees/departments be on different floors or even different locations?
    • How many offices, what sizes, windowed, etc.?
    • For industrial users – power, clear height, bay depth, proximity to freeways, railways, etc. requirements?
    • Corporate-required standards?
    • Open area? How many/what size cubes?
    • Length of lease term?
    • Space/employee layout?
    • Growth/contraction projections?
  3. Above-standard requirements
    • Above building standard improvements, i.e. private bathroom?
    • Above building standard finishes, i.e. paint, flooring, etc.?
    • Above building standard security, janitorial services, etc.?
  4. Location
    • Market, submarket, trade area, part of town, etc.?
    • Location of business owner, employees, customers?
    • Building class, type, etc.?
    • Building amenities?
    • Any state or local incentives?
    • For retail users, demographics, traffic counts, zoning?
  5. Timing
    • How quickly does the user need to occupy the space?
    • Existing lease expiration date?
    • Condition of space – as-is or build out required?
  6. Flexibility
    • Termination right?
    • Expansion right?
  7. Parking
    • Required parking ratio?
    • Paid vs. Free parking?
    • Visitor parking?
    • Reserved space?
    • Covered vs. uncovered parking?
    • Specific parking requirements, i.e. trucks, vans, etc.
  8. Budget/cost imperatives
    • Acquisition budget? Annual/monthly rent budget?
    • Financing vs. cash purchase?
    • Factors influencing budget
  9. Deal breakers
    • Personal guaranty required?
    • Major competitor located in same building/area?

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