Practice Management

Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals FOR DUMMIES: Commercial Leasing Tips for Veterinarian Tenants VI

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:

Never Just Accept the First Offer: Even if an offer seems reasonable or you have no idea of what to negotiate for, never accept the leasing agent’s first offer. This offer is inflated more often than not. Many agents use a strategy of starting negotiations at a higher rate that allows them to give in slightly. We frequently complete lease agreements at 15 – 25% less that the agent’s opening offer. In one case, the asking rental rate of $18.00 per square foot (psf) came down to under $13.00 psf – simply because we were willing to negotiate for our client.

Ask For More Than What You Want: We remember one tenant who came to us hoping that we could negotiate a $500.00/month rent reduction for her business. During the ensuing months, we met with the landlord and insisted upon a $1000.00/month rent reduction. Eventually, our efforts paid off with an $800.00/month reduction (or approximately 25% less). Ask for more than you want and/or need when negotiating other terms too – such as free rent, signage, leasehold improvement money, parking, etc. The worst the landlord can do is say no!

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