There are different types of physical locations in which to conduct your business and varying regulatory requirements depending on the property type. Some businesses, such as restaurants, need a commercial property. Other businesses can be home-based or mobile. Look at the options when deciding on a property type. Keep in mind it can be easier to use a location where the former business was the same type of business and there is no change of use. For example, opening a restaurant in an former office space can cost more and take longer than opening your restaurant in a space that was a restaurant.
This is a business you operate out of your home. A home-based business may have fewer costs compared to a business located in a commercial property.
If you choose to be a home-based business make sure your business type is allowed in your home. In Minneapolis, many business types are allowed in your home as long as you do not have more than one employee who does not live with you, do not make significant alterations to the inside or outside of the living space, do not generate excessive customer traffic or create excessive noise, etc. You can find more information about what is allowed here.
Coworking spaces provide a professional alternative to the loneliness of a home office. These spaces offer a community of startup founders, entrepreneurs, professionals, freelancers, and remote workers. You may find opportunities to network, share ideas, and gain new business leads in a coworking space. Such spaces supply many basic business needs: access to high-speed internet, conference rooms, and flexible work spaces from private offices to open seating.
Check out these local coworking spaces to see if they might be right for your business:
A mobile business is one whose business model requires moving from place to place, such as gardening, housekeeping, and food truck operation. If you do not have an office as a home base for your mobile business, your home address can be used as the business address. Some benefits of owning a mobile business may be fewer business expenses than a commercial property and the ability to work at multiple locations throughout the city.
A commercial property, also known as “bricks and mortar”, is a physical location such as a storefront or office building. Many businesses require a commercial property to conduct their business. You can purchase commercial property, but most businesses start by renting. There are a lot of things to take into account before signing a lease or owning a commercial property. Consider the following as you select a location for your business:
Consider the size of the property you need for your business: How much square footage do you need? Is there room for expansion? Check the city rules and fire codes to see how many people are allowed per square foot. What is an appropriate-sized space based on your expected customer volume and equipment?
The City of Minneapolis does not have minimum off-street parking requirements for commercial properties, but does have maximum parking limits. When looking at properties, consider whether your customers will need places to park and whether those needs are met by the parking available at the property.
Minneapolis is bike-friendly, so you may also want to consider bike parking. There are no City requirements to provide bike parking if your property is less than 1000 square feet, but if your space is larger than that, you may be required to provide bike parking, generally 3 spaces. Learn more about bike parking requirements here.
If you will need Internet access to run your business, or if you plan to provide wifi for your customers, consider the internet connectivity of your location. Is the connection fast enough to support your business needs?
Pick a location that your target customers can easily reach. Check out walkscore.com to assess your property’s walkability, bikeability, and access to public transit.
Make sure that you can afford the rent based on the revenue and cost expectations from your business plan. See our section on negotiate your lease to learn more about opportunities for negotiating with your landlord.
Keep in mind how much money and time you might need to spend before you can open your business. The building your business occupies will need to comply with State and City building codes and have a Certificate of Occupancy before you can open to the public. The City of Minneapolis reviews construction plans, issues permits, and conducts inspections for a variety of construction work that may need to be completed to bring your space up to code. Visit the Minneapolis Development Services Customer Service Center for guidance on all building regulatory requirements.
Mon - Wed, Fri: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM (sign-in by 3:30 PM)
Thursday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (sign-in by 3:30 PM)
Federal and State standards require businesses to be accessible to people with disabilities; this is what “ADA compliant” means. Depending on the specific property and your renovation plans, you may need to make accessibility upgrades from widening aisles to changing bathroom fixtures. Ask your landlord if the space is ADA compliant and discuss who will be responsible for any costs that are associated with accessibility upgrades. You may also consider hiring an Access Specialist to inspect the property and identify what changes are necessary to make the property ADA compliant.