It costs much less to retain a business center tenant than to find a new one. Let’s face it, extended vacancies can really cut into the bottom line and finding – and qualifying – a new tenant costs time and money.
Coldwell Banker offers several noteworthy tenant retention tips and strategies. Let’s take at look at the first nine strategies and how you can apply them to your business center tenants. We’ll look at nine more strategies in part two next week.
1. Meet your tenant.
Remember, you are in the people business. Coldwell Banker says “going out of your way to meet up with lessees can lead to longer, more meaningful dealings between yourself and your tenant.” Make sure your business center manager stays in touch with tenants, conducts surveys and tries to otherwise meet their unique needs.
2. Don’t get complacent.
Coldwell Banker says a long-term tenant is a valuable asset in a saturated rental market, so make sure you keep on top of all those little jobs that will make it easier for the tenant to feel like they are in a good working environment. Keep your business center equipment up to date, for example, and if the tenant reports a problem with the air conditioner or heater report it to the building’s property managers immediately.
3. Have the right attitude.
“Show that you’re fair-minded and understanding,” Coldwell Banker says. “Don’t act like the tenant is ‘bothering’ you when they call. Be pleasant and show concern for their needs. Don’t ignore their questions or distresses.” If your tenant retention is low, it may be time to survey exiting tenants to find out what their issues are. If the manager is listed as a problem, it may be time to get a new manager.
4. Replace a minor item at least once every year.
Coldwell Banker recommends having a plan to maintain the property on an annual and rotating basis so that you’re constantly generating a fresh appearance. There’s plenty of business center competition in your neck of the woods. Investing in tenant retention means investing in your business center. This will also help you attract new tenants.
5. Tenant improvements.
Requests for tenant improvements should always be considered, according to Coldwell Banker. The firm recommends being open-minded and flexible with the tenant’s space. So if that means painting the wall a certain color so that it stimulates creativity, don’t automatically turn them down. It doesn’t cost much to repaint it later.
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6. Respect their space.
When you meet tenants in their office, be respectful, friendly and informal, Coldwell Banker suggests: “Avoid disparaging comments causing them to be unsettled by voicing possible future plans that are adverse to the current tenancy.”
7. Pro-active problem search
Coldwell Banker recommends performing regularly scheduled preventative maintenance checks. “Make sure the tenants are aware of when such things are scheduled. Performing these checks demonstrates a proactive approach as opposed to a ‘wait and see’ and allows you to find issues before they escalate to a stage where they hand in their notice. Always ask if everything is acceptable or if the tenant has any problems.”
8. Communication is key
Are you communicating with your business center tenants on a regular and consistent basis? For example, if the building owner is repaving the parking lot, let them know so they can plan for the impact. Communicating building maintenance issues is key to good relationships. As Coldwell Banker puts it, “tenants don’t mind being inconvenienced once in a while as long as they are aware and can make the necessary arrangements.”
9. Ask what would make the business center better.
According to Coldwell Banker, speaking to your tenants and inquiring as to what would make their environment better to work in is another way to drive retention: “Tenants may have ideas, but don’t openly present them. Many times, it may be something really small that could make the world of difference. If it is a bigger item, it may be possible to amortize the cost in the general operating expenses if all tenants will benefit from the suggestion.”
Look out next week for 9 more strategies to drive up business center tenant retention.