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Ten Mistakes All Business Owners Should Avoid – Mistake Number 8

T. Randolph Catanese, Esq. © 1998  

Mistake No. 8 – Landlords Do Not Have A Sense of Humor. When it comes to commercial landlords, keep in mind that they are in the business of renting space for a profit. They are not your business partner and generally do not care about your business problems. What they are about is collecting their rent and collecting it on time. Many commercial landlords not only want their rent paid on time, but if it is not they demand late fees and in some instances might even demand attorneys’ fees as well. Should you refuse to pay the late fee and the attorneys’ fees they might even go so far as to cancel your lease, force you out of business and then ask the court to award them future rents, attorneys’ fees, costs, and other miscellaneous expenditures.

A simple rule when it comes to landlords – pay the rent on time. You might say, of course that’s obvious. And that is true, so let’s go back to mistake number 3 which means seeking advice before you start a new business. Most people might tell you to start with a small rental overhead and grow into your business over time. Many times people get in trouble because they take on a very significant rental overhead before they know whether their business will work or not. A good example, are people who open up a retail store in a shopping mall or a strip center. They believe the retail store will be successful because they are in such a great center. But often times what actually occurs is although they are in a good center, shoppers do not go to their store. Then, what happens is the owner gets behind in rent and before you know it the owner is out of business. A simple rule when it comes to taking on space is to construct your business plan carefully and do not take on more rental obligation than you can afford. It is a much better problem to grow out of your space or be bursting at the seams then to have too much rental space or pay more rent than you can afford.