Franchise Update Media
Franchise Update Media Digital
Conferences Education Videos Subscribe

Measure Twice: Beware of Landlords with 13-Inch Rulers

Measure twice so you only pay once.

I have found that some landlords are over-charging franchisees for more square footage than the actual available space. Are you paying too much?

Unfortunately, incorrect square footage figures are a common oversight in commercial leasing. Multi-unit franchisee tenants often trust the reported square footage of their leased premises. However, the amount of reported square footage can easily be wrong--whether this figure was accidently reported by the landlord or reported by a property owner who has never even seen the site. The result is that tenants could be needlessly paying an increased rent.

I was having dinner one evening with the chief operating officer of a large franchise organization. She shared that her franchise had recently moved into a new 4,400 square foot space. She went on to explain how spacious, beautiful, and comfortable the premises were. When I asked her if she had ever verified the square footage, she said, 'No.' It took me several weeks to convince her to let me measure the space to determine if she was actually getting the 4,400 square feet that the landlord was charging her for.

When I completed measuring my friend's new franchise headquarters, the measured space was 800 square feet short. In this case, this COO was paying $52,000 more than she needed to for space she didn't have (over the course of her lease term). I proceeded to approach her landlord and, through hard work and diligent negotiations, had the problem corrected. She was reimbursed for her previous overpayments and continued to pay an adjusted rate.

Even a smaller space measurement discrepancy can make a noticeable difference. My accountant came to us for a space measurement. After conducting the work, we found the reported measurement exceeded the actual amount of space by between only 30 - 40 square feet. After going through an extensive negotiating process, our company's accountant received a $3,200 check back - a pleasant surprise!

In the world, we refer to mismeasurements as "phantom space." Even the smallest amount of phantom space can grow to be quite large as rates and common area maintenance (CAM) charges increase over time. Even a small discrepancy of square footage can add up when your franchise location is in a high-rent neighborhood. I well remember one retailer who located his shop in a downtown shopping mall; while he leased a smaller space, the rent was quite high due to the premium location. Once again, we prevailed with the landlord and this retailer was reimbursed most of $20,000 overpaid rent.

As one final story, I can share the experience of a shop franchisee (who leased 1,000 square feet of space). She came to us initially to help her with a mid-term rent reduction. While we were successful in decreasing her rent by 30 percent, I also suggested that I could measure her space. After doing so, we learned that her coffee shop measured 900 square feet. Much to the coffee shop owner's delight, her rent and proportionate share of the building's operating costs were subsequently adjusted.

In my experience, many discrepancies are negligent, not necessarily fraudulent. It's never too soon or too late to have your space professionally measured. Nearly all lease agreements state what measurement standard the landlord has used. If you have been taking the landlord's word for the measurement of your premises, you may be overpaying substantially on one, or more, of your franchise locations. Even if you are presented with a "measurement certification," it doesn't protect you from a measurement error.

No one can ascertain the exact size of an area by the naked eye alone. Nor, should a multi-unit franchisee tenant always trust what is stated in their lease agreement. Space measurement can provide peace of mind and can save you thousands of dollars.

For a complimentary copy of Dale's CD, Leasing Do's & Don'ts for Franchise Tenants, please e-mail to

Dale Willerton is The Lease Coach and a Senior Commercial Lease Consultant who works exclusively for tenants. Dale is a professional speaker and author of Negotiate Your Franchise Lease or Renewal. Got a leasing question? Need help with your new lease or renewal? Call Dale at 1-800-738-9202, e-mail or visit /

Social Reach:

Viewer Response:

comments powered by Disqus

Hot Opportunities

Minuteman Press International Franchise Opportunity

Minuteman Press International
Minuteman Press has been the leader in the printing & graphics...

Oxi Fresh Franchise Opportunity

Oxi Fresh
OXI FRESH is a GREEN Carpet Cleaning Franchise and one of Entrepreneur's...

Archadeck Franchise Opportunity

Archadeck is proud to be North America's leading designer and builder of...

Request Information
Doc Popcorn Franchise Opportunity

Doc Popcorn
Doc Popcorn is revolutionizing the way people snack in high-traffic...

Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich Shops Franchise Opportunity

Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich Shops
Jimmy John's franchise success is built upon an unyielding commitment to...

Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake Pizza Franchise Opportunity

Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake Pizza
The world's largest, fastest growing Take 'N' Bake pizza franchise is...

Buffalo Wings & Rings Franchise Opportunity

Buffalo Wings & Rings
Buffalo Wings & Rings is a restaurant brand where everyone is a VIP,...

Bricks 4 Kidz Franchise Opportunity

Bricks 4 Kidz
Bricks 4 Kidz provides project-based programs designed to teach principles...


The Franchise Buzz:

A Franchise Update Media Group Production Franchise Update Media Group | P.O. Box 20547 // San Jose, CA 95160 // PH. (408) 402-5681
Copyright © 2001 - 2015. All Rights Reserved. Site Hosting Provided By: wishVPS on FUMG3
Your Request List:
No Opportunities Saved