Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do I decide what
business I should go into?
There are numerous books you can
research to answer that question.
Once your decision is made, this website can assist you in the site
selection process. We will help to ensure you have the best
chance for success in evaluating the location, the competition and
the demographics that surround your proposed business location. These three (3) components should always
be considered prior to making any new business commitment.
Deciding whether to
start my own business from scratch or become part of a franchise system is a
tough decision. Can you offer an
A. This decision is a tough one.
The answer lies in your individual skills to date.
Do you have the experience, exposure or contacts that can provide basic
retailer traits, such as accounting,
advertising, inventory management, employee recruiting and hiring, real estate
construction, legal or computer expertise? These are just a few of the areas you
will become involved in as you proceed down the path to opening your own
How do I find potential
franchise and non-franchised businesses?
A. There are numerous books and
magazines to help guide you to the business that will capture your interest and
hopefully your passion.
Listed below are just a few:
The Franchise Handbook
d. Franchise Times
I received the “Franchise
Disclosure”. It looks like a legal document. Should I
have an Attorney review it?
Before you execute and return this document, an Attorney should
review it. In many cases, although the Franchisor
does not want you to, changes may be acceptable if presented
Why does it take so long for
the Franchisor to respond?
A complete credit history has to be
researched on each franchise candidate.
This takes time, especially when numerous candidates apply at one
How do I find out what each
franchise charges in the way of franchise fees, royalty percentage
and advertising percentage?
Any large bookstore has a section
on franchise opportunities.
The magazines or books will list the answers to basic financial
requirements. Many franchise retailers have websites that also
provide this information.
What is a “protected
A protected territory is an area
assigned for a Franchisee to develop.
This protected territory can only be developed by the awarded
What is a “radius
A radius restriction is an area of
no development, normally surrounding a regional mall location for a
regional mall tenant. Typically a Landlord mandates and has
lease requirements of a radius restriction as a condition of becoming part of
their particular mall.
How do I find a
suitable location for my potential business?
The most efficient method is to
identify where your customers live and where they currently shop.
Evaluate the shopping center locations within “X” distances you think
they are willing to commute daily.
Sometimes this distance and the customer profile representing your target
consumer will be in conflict with each other. If this is so, you will have to expand your range or select
another business or relocate your proposed location.
How do I evaluate
can supply the information for a fee. All we need is an intersection, or a street address, city,
state and zip code.
With the supplied information we can pinpoint your location and
place it on a map. Reports containing population,
households, race, and median household income can also be produced. You decide the distance you want us to
“capture”. (Mile radius of 1, 3 and 5 miles, etc.)
Why should I contact 4 to 5
different Landlords for shopping center/malls locations?
Many times your desired space size
may not be available within your desired timeframe.
Each Developer or Landlord has their own “sense of urgency”
in responding to your request.
You will also be very surprised at the range of rent quotes
How will I know what my
location needs should be?
If the business
is a franchise, they will tell you the square footage needed.
They will also provide the desired components you should consider in
selecting a location. For example, the minimum number of
parking spaces, the desirable co-tenants, the minimum store
frontage, the minimum number of cars passing front of your center
and the desired income and density surrounding your location.
A more extensive list of components to consider is included under
New Center Variables.
What if my business in not a
franchise. What type of location needs will I have
A. Our website will assist you as much as possible in trying to define
your needs. We would
advise you to look at the existing businesses in your area that you
would consider competition.
Look at the products and services they provide.
How will your business differ from your competition?
How much more or less square footage will you need for your products and
services? Look at your competition’s ceiling tiles (normally 2x4 or
2x2) and count them. This
will help you in determining how much square footage your business
will need. Then look at the type of cotenants they
choose. This may
provide valuable insight.
How do I find the name and
phone number of the Landlord?
If it isn’t listed in the phone
book under the shopping center name, ask an existing tenant.
If you are comfortable sharing a little information, many existing
tenants are very receptive in sharing information to a prospective
retailer for their center. retailcriteria.com
can also provide you with a list of centers for a fee.
All you need to provide retailcriteria.com
with is the name of the county(ies) you are interested in.
The list of centers will contain the following:
Center’s full name
Center’s address, city,
state and zip code
Contacting person’s phone
GLA (Gross Leaseable Area)
Anchors (if available)
How long should it take the
Landlord to generate a written proposal?
It depends on how many
properties the Landlord or Representative has assigned to him/her.
If you have called and are quoted a number over the phone with the
attitude “take it or leave It”, do not take it personally. The person may be overwhelmed with
calls and/or letters asking the same question.
Try back later or write a letter to the center of your choice with
follow-ups until you get a written or verbal proposal.
After I receive my verbal or
written proposal, what sort of time frame should elapse for me to
provide a response?
response to the Landlord should be made within 3 to 5 days.
Do not respond the same day because it relates a signal of
“too anxious” to the Landlord.
Of course, if you are in a “no-build” area of the county, a same day
response may be appropriate.
This proposal is much higher
than other properties I have spoken with.
especially if there are few vacancies in the area, may ask for
“the sun, moon and stars” because they think they will get it.
What is fair rent for my
Every business is different.
For a fee, retailcriteria.com has the
ability to research your proposed type of business, provide you with
a summary of the typical occupancy structure your kind of business
pays, and provide the average sales volume for your chosen business
based on the kind of shopping center location you are targeting. These variables will allow you to “back
in” to the maximum rent you should pay for the considered space.
I want the Landlord to
accommodate all my requests because I am paying a lot for this
Don’t forget, you are competing
with current and future tenants.
These tenants may be willing to pay more than you for the same
They also may have a higher business margin which allows them to pay
What is the realistic
determined by the “supply and demand” method. Is there an overabundance of new centers
opening in your area?
Has the community your center is in prohibited new growth?
There is no real answer but the more Landlords you talk to, the better
feeling you will have as to “who is chasing whom."
Why is the Landlord so
The truthful answer is, they are
not unreasonable, but maybe you are.
In almost every shopping center there is always one or two tenants
that are considered the “Anchors”. It could be as small as a Starbucks or
as large as a Wal-Mart.
This tenant received numerous concessions as the inducement to
locate where they did. Most small tenants want the “Anchor”
concessions but the Landlord cannot afford to provide them. Remember, keep your expectations
Why won’t the Landlord
respond more quickly to my proposal?
has probably perceived that you have tried to “low-ball” them with
He/she is now “shopping”
your space to other prospective tenants.
This does not have to be a bad thing.
Remember if you had just signed the proposal as it was written, you would
be paying a lot more for the next 5 to 10 years than the tenant that
signing the opening proposal does not guarantee the space will go to
you. It just helps you move to the next step,
We seem so close but the
Landlord won’t concede to these few open points?
What do I do?
potential tenant may have contacted the Landlord for your space.
Reconsider how much you really need the open points.
Are those few open points worth the risk of losing the location? Decide to either “hang tough” or "give
I have a signed Letter of
Intent. Is this space mine or can the Landlord
give it away?
cannot be stressed enough. Only a hard copy of a fully executed
lease with signatures of both parties involved indicates the space
is yours, although there probably are legal exceptions to this rule.
From our experience, a signed
Letter of Intent normally results
in 90% of the leases being executed.
How long does it take for
the Landlord to produce a lease?
will produce a draft lease within 2 weeks of receiving the Letter of
The lease is “X” pages long
and I am not an Attorney.
How do I respond?
We recommend you contact a Real
Estate Attorney to address and respond to the lease.
retailcriteria.com does not provide a legal service at
this time, but we do have attorneys that will negotiate complete
legal comments. When the lease is fully negotiated, the
Attorney will submit the lease document to you for your review and
This service is billed directly from the Attorney and normally does
not exceed $3,000.
Will the lease be completed
in one draft?
It depends on
the Attorney’s involvement and the number of changes.
There are normally two (2) drafts and then the execution copy.
The lease is finally in my
hands and ready for my signature, but some items have changed.
What should I do?
It depends on
how minor or major the changes are. Changes seem to happen with almost every
lease, so don’t place "Grand Opening" ads just yet. The Landlord may be “nibbling” or trying
to get a few more concessions.
How long should I take to
execute and return the signed lease?
The time frame
for returning the signed lease should be within 1 to 2 weeks.
Remember, another tenant may approach the Landlord while you are
“sitting on the lease”. The real estate term “time kills deals”
is a very real expression.
What is the time frame for
the Landlord to execute and return the lease?
Depending on how large the
developing company is, the time frame should be within 1 to 3 weeks.
In some cases, it may take over a month for the lease to be executed
and returned to the tenant.
How soon should I plan my
Grand Opening advertisement?
Until you have
a few more variables addressed and a proposed timeline for each,
such as the ones mentioned below, you need to go a little slower in
How long does it take the
Landlord to complete his part of the construction?
It depends on whether the Landlord
has invested any time in this area prior to the lease execution.
Some tenants “back away” at the last moment, so the Landlord usually
waits until the lease is fully executed before starting his part of the
throughout negotiation process solves this problem.
I just received a certified
or registered “Notice of Turnover” letter.
How should I respond?
The “Notice of Turnover” letter
indicates the Landlord has completed his part of the construction.
Now the site needs to be inspected by the tenant or an professional
contractor. Depending on the extent
of the construction and the experience of the tenant will determine if a
professional contractor should be hired for the “walk-through” inspection. On the walk-through, check off the items
documented in the lease that the Landlord was to complete before turnover could
Do I need a contractor to
inspect the premises before I sign the “Notice of Turnover” letter?
on the tenant’s level of experience this will determine whether a professional
contractor should be hired or not.
Is the “Inspection of
Turnover” similar to a “walk-through” when you are purchasing a house?
Consider this your second home.
Would you overlook that pile of trash in the corner and continue with the
closing? Some people would and others would not. It is up to you how “picky” you want to
be. If you reject turnover for a
very minor issue, it will delay your opening by the length of time it takes for
your Landlord to resolve your listed issues.
Do I have to follow the
format presented by retailcriteria.com?
This outline is just the procedure retailcriteria.com
employees have used in the past and is very successful.
We thought you, as a tenant, would like to know about it.
If everything is OK in the
space, why should I bother with an “Acceptance Letter”?
A. The “Acceptance Letter”
triggers the turnover date and establishes when you will start owing rent (Rent
Commencement Date). Unfortunately, some Landlords will
generate a “Turnover Letter” while their contractors are still working on your
space. In this case, the Landlord will actually
be accelerating our rent start date without your response.
Turnover is completed but I
am not ready to start construction and my rent start date has been established. What do I do?
you did not plan your part very well. Opening a business involves juggling
retailcriteria.com's website is designed to help
guide and aid you in starting a business. Our suggestion is to “hurry up” because
the goal of every new store opening is to open before your rent commencement
I don’t have enough time to
complete my construction before my rent commencement date starts.
What can I do about that?
ensure the tenant, that’s you, has enough time to complete his/her part of the
construction and open the store before the rent commencement date, the tenant
should begin many things when the “Letter of Intent” is signed.
These tasks may include but not be limited to:
of stores plans
process for contractors
Pricing materials and
ads for employees
How much time will I need to
do my part of the construction and open the store?
A. This will vary by tenant.
Allow 1 to 2 weeks of construction time per every $10,000 spent
on construction cost. Then add 2 to 3
weeks after the contractors complete their work for your employees to fixture
and stock the store with products.
What is “free rent”?
A. Hypothetically, the rent commencement date was stated in the
lease as being 60 days after turnover.
The construction took only 55 days.
The store is opened and generating sales but will not be paying rent for
5 days. This should not be confused
with construction time or build-out time, which is when our contractors or
employees are getting the store ready to open and no sales are being generated. This period of time is commonly referred to
as build-out or construction time.
My grand opening advertisement is already scheduled and
in print but my store isn’t ready.
What should I do?
this is the worst situation any new business can be in. Try to speed up your contractors by
offering overtime incentives.
Once my business is opened why would I need on-going
Numerous developments may take place. Your sales may take off like a rocket and
you will need to expand your store, relocate or open additional locations. Then you will ask, “How do I determine how
far apart my stores should be?"
Your sales may take off slower than expected and
you may consider a rent-reduction request.
Each request will have a normal acceptable manner of presentation which
retailcriteria.com's website will expand on.
So look back in the future for more help in your ever-growing