In all the economic gloom and doom, there’s at least one positive trend for entrepreneurs in, of all places, the real estate market. Rents are dropping as vacancy rates continue to rise.
I’ve blogged about this elsewhere recently, but reading this post from Fish on Franchising convinced me there’s even more of opportunity for those in the franchise industry than for independent business owners. (Unfortunately, many of the vacancies come about when independent operators go out of business.)
It’s a buyer’s market right now, something that hasn’t happened for quite a while. That means for those considering getting into a franchise, costs of entry may be lower than usual. For franchisors seeking to sell franchisees in a tough economy, savings on real estate can sweeten the pot. For franchisees considering expanding to multiple units, now could be the time. And for franchisors seeking to expand into new territories or increase their presence in a region, this just might be the opportunity they’ve been waiting for.
Keep an eye on the local real estate market and pay special attention to regional business news. You’ll get a heads up on when a prime location might be going vacant. For example, check out this article from the Gainesville Sun for a look at the mind-boggling pace with which restaurants are closing—and opening—in one region.
If you’ve already got a lease, there still may be room to make a deal. Right now, pretty much everything in your business is up for negotiation—contracts, price points, terms of service. Real estate is no exception. One thing I’ve learned as a business owner is “It never hurts to ask.” So when it comes to real estate, ask for what you want. Now is the time when you just might get it.