Practice Management

Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals For Dummies: More Commercial Leasing Tips for Veterinarian Tenants IV

By: Jeff Grandfield and Dale Willerton – The Lease Coach

For many veterinarian tenants, negotiating a good lease or lease renewal against an experienced agent or landlord can be a challenge. While a veterinarian focuses on his/her animal patient’s care, savvy real estate agents and brokers are specialized sales people. Their job is to sell tenants on leasing their location at the highest possible rental rate.

As explained in our new book, Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals FOR DUMMIES, tenants may go through the leasing process only two or three times in their entire lifetime – yet they have to negotiate against seasoned professionals who negotiate leases every day for a living. Negotiating appropriate leasing terms is vital for a veterinarian tenant as the amount of rent he pays will directly affect the doctor’s financial bottom line.

Whether you are leasing a new location for the first time or negotiating a lease renewal for your clinic, here are some money-saving tips for veterinarian tenants:

Size Up the Opponent: The fact is that different leasing representatives are motivated in different ways. For example, an in-house leasing representative working on salary will be more concerned with your stability as a tenant. An outside realtor, however, will finish the deal, collect his commission from the landlord, and may never work with or see you again. Sizing up your negotiating opponent and their personal motivation is part of a well-planned leasing strategy.

Meet the Property Manager:  If the landlord cannot personally meet with you, the property manager is usually available. After negotiating your commercial lease agreement and finalizing the lease, you will begin dealing with the property manager. Try to meet the property manager before signing your lease deal. Ask about their experience and their business relationship with the landlord. Confirm any verbal promises (being made by the realtor) with the property manager. Your relationship with the property manager is important enough to start cultivating it in advance.   

Don’t Be Too Assumptive: It’s natural to make certain assumptions. However, when negotiating commercial leases, always get your assumptions confirmed. For example, you might assume that you could remain open at least one evening per week for the convenience of visiting animal owners. Your landlord, however, insists that you must close up at 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. Ask, clarify, and document your assumptions (in advance, if possible) to avoid misunderstandings.

For a copy of our free CD, Leasing Dos & Don’ts for Commercial Tenants, please e-mail a request to


Jeff Grandfield and Dale Willerton – The Lease Coach –  are Commercial Lease Consultants who work exclusively for tenants. Jeff and Dale are professional speakers and co-authors of Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals FOR DUMMIES (Wiley, 2013). Got a leasing question? Need help with your new lease or renewal? Call 1-800-738-9202, e-mail  or or visit

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