This is a question that comes up a lot during the office leasing process. We’re not talking about your square foot amount, or we’re not talking about your base rent. We’re just talking about the moving costs itself for office space and all those ancillary items so that you really have a full picture of what you’re looking at.
So first let’s talk about furniture. The reality is it’s going to cost a lot to move your furniture out of the space that you currently have. So, in most instances, you buy new furniture. Also, it’s hard to find the configuration that works for you if taking it from one space to a new space. $25 a square foot is a good guide. It could be $15 a square foot, it could be $50 a square foot, but $25 is a sort of back of the envelope.
Then we’ve got to talk about the wiring of the space. When you get a space, think about the wires come to the door. Just like when they come to your house, you’re responsible for everything inside. Same with wiring your offices. Call it $2.50 for low voltage cabling.
One of the reasons why I like subleasing office space so much because there’s inherent value in the sublease, because you don’t have to deal with wiring or furniture, saving massive upfront capital expenditure of $30-40 per square foot.
Moving on, next we’ve got building out/ construction of the space. There are two components to this. One is architecture and engineering. The second one is project management.
In New York City, most likely the landlord is going to pay for your architect and engineering. They’ll do the space planning for you as will a furniture vendor if you ask. Architects will do that for free, just to try to get in and try to help you and win your business. Good guide, $5 to $6 for architect and engineering. You should always, in every proposal that you put in, ask for the soft costs of your build-out to be on the landlord.
Project management is more relevant at 6,000 to 10,000 square feet and larger. You should have a project manager oversee the build-out of your space. Smaller than that, it’s really, the landlord can take care of it. A good project manager is $3 to $5 a square foot, call it $4 just for the exercise.
What’s the value of a project manager? Well, the landlord’s building out the space. They know what the costs are. You don’t know what the costs are. They’re going to try to spend as much of their money as possible getting you as little as possible. Something even as simple as the soundproofing between the walls of offices. You want to make sure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Simply put it’s hiring an advocate who’s working on your side. This is best achieved by hiring a PM, somebody who doesn’t work for the landlord and only you.
And finally, there’s the actual move itself. A good guide, $1 to $3 a square foot.
So you add all that up, $25 for furniture, $2.50 for cabling, $5 for architect/engineer, $4 for project management, $2 for moving, and you’re at about $37-$38. If you took away the architect and the project management agent, you’re at about $27-$28 a square foot.
This should act as a reasonable guide for a budget of your upfront costs.
Any questions please contact me.