Please note: Canada Business Ontario is now FedDev Ontario Small Business Services.
Our information and services remain the same.
Choosing and setting up a location
There are many things to consider when deciding where to locate your business and how to arrange your office, store or facility.
As a business owner, it is important to know that your store's location can affect the success or failure of your business.
Four factors should be considered when choosing a location:
- Zoning: Ensure the area is zoned for your type of business.
- Demographics: Determine if the demographics of the local population are a good fit with your business (e.g. age of the population, income, family size).
- Traffic analysis: Ensure that you are in a high traffic area and that it is easily accessible (public transit, parking).
- Competition: Make sure that any stores that are close by are not in direct competition with your business.
Here are some examples of things you should consider for specific types of stores:
- Convenience stores (supermarkets, hardware, bakeries, drug stores): If you have a convenience store, you can look for a location in a busy mall or other high traffic area. Customers like being able to make multiple purchases in one place, so being located with complimentary stores can help boost your business.
- Specialty stores (selling unique, hard to find products): If you have a specialty store, your products are more unique and often customers do not mind travelling out of the way to purchase them.
- Retail stores (clothing, major appliances, etc): If your business is a retail store, you can search for a location in a shopping centre that allows the customer to shop around before purchasing. Luxury goods are generally sold at a higher price. Retail stores located in shopping malls provide competition and are usually more successful than those located by themselves.
Check with your city's zoning department for information on your selected locations. Make sure you will not have any restrictions that will limit your operation. You will also want to check if any construction or traffic changes will present a barrier to your operation.
Before entering into a long-term lease, decide how long you wish to stay at that location. The following are some points to consider:
- Do you plan to operate your business indefinitely or for a set number of years?
- Will you be able to expand your business at this location?
- Is your lease flexible so you have the option to renew or seek another location?
- Is your rent fixed or is it based on sales volume?
- Make sure any promises the property owner makes to you are in writing, for example: repairs, construction, decorating, alterations and maintenance.
Help in choosing a location
You may wish to hire a consultant to analyze the locations that you have selected. Because you want the best store location, it is a good idea to get as much help as possible. If you have not found a suitable location, wait until you do before opening your store.
For more information on choosing and setting up a location and other business topics, contact Small Business Services today. Telephone services are available in English or French.