Locate Your Business
Our experts developed this guide to help you find a business location. There is much to consider when deciding on a new business address. The wrong place almost guarantees failure; the right location may determine success.
Permit approval for a business site is made by individual communities.
Understanding the demographic profile of your potential customers is vital to your success. Demographic studies, such as the U.S. Census, report the characteristics of a population; for example, the size, growth, density, age, race and average incomes of a targeted group. Ask us for more information.
Identify who will buy your product or service as they are likely to have similar characteristics. Evaluate these factors:
- Do they need your product or service?
- Age, sex and income of your target market?
- Leisure and lifestyle habits?
- Important values?
- Where do they work and live?
Trading Areas for Retail or Consumer Services
Where is your greatest concentration of customers and how far will they go for your product or service?
Effect of Traffic Counts and Patterns
- Volume of traffic passing location
- What is the speed of the traffic? Can drivers read signs at high speed?
- Do people buy your product/service to or from work? Can customers park close to the store?
- Too often the importance of traffic volume is overstated. Look to trade associations for perspective.
General Considerations in Selecting a Retail Site
- Contact all chambers of commerce and community development offices in desired areas
- Locate and map competitors
- Contact several commercial realtors to evaluate their properties
- Before any type of construction, have the local building department review your plans before committing. As the business owner, you are legally responsible for code compliance even if you hire designers and contractors.
- Anticipate the following when planning your facility:
- Visit similar non-competing businesses and find out if they would choose that site again. Why? Why not?
- Why did the last tenant leave the vacant property you are considering? Ask former tenants and neighbors.
- Have an attorney review your lease. The Oakland County Bar Association can assist. Call 248-398-3937.
- Check out the competition and see what they're doing right.
- Is your neightbor's business good for you?
- Most communities have some form of local licensing except where occupations are regulated by the state. Ask the Clerk's Office about licenses and occupancy permits.
Regardless of your business, you must comply with local zoning ordinances and building codes. Do not rely on interpretations from leasing agents, landlords or contractors. Contact the local clerk, community development office or building department where you plan to locate.
Help in Choosing a Location
Choosing a location has risks so do your homework. You will save money by providing a consultant with pre-selected locations rather than letting them do the search. Bankers, lawyers and realtors can be a resource on possible locations. Ask an experienced real estate attorney to review a lease before you sign.
Oakland County maintains a searchable database that provides you access to available industrial and commercial property in Michigan. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all properties available in Oakland County.