You are looking for a new premise on rent for your small business. You understand that buying an office is a costly affair and means blocking a substantial portion of liquid cash which could otherwise be used for meeting other pressing needs of your business. Your need is urgent, and you want to accomplish your objective with minimal of cost. One strategy that you can pursue is to visit online property portals that are popular in your country, city and make searches that exclude brokers. For instance, you are fresh in Kolkata and want to rent an office within a week or two. Not a problem. Choose Google search engine by typing www.google.in (if you are from Australia, you type google.com.au). By default, Google opts the result for your region by itself and so you need not worry. You can just type www.google.com on the browser address bar. Next, type keywords like property portal, rent, office space, kolkata. You can obviously try other keywords based on your imagination and requirements.
You get ads (most probably on the top and/or sidebars) related with your search keywords by Google under heading:
Ads related to property portal, rent, office space, Kolkata.
There were three ads during a sample run (this will obviously change on different search instances):
These three portals have paid Google for the keywords entered by you and must have something relevant to your needs. You can also click on the organic search results (10 by default displayed on the first page). You are advised to click on the ads first because of the commercial nature of the real estate business under which almost all established players spend money on Google AdWords, a kind of paid advertising. Also, organic search results may take you to the web pages that has little to do with a property portal. The point stressed here is that organic search results give priority to contents. While that may be good for someone say willing to learn more about the future of property business, real estate portals tend to excel in providing a platform for bringing together buyers and sellers. Many such portals prefer to keep their websites brief and to the point. In such scenarios, contents posted will be limited and so there is little chance of them appearing on the top pages of organic search results by Google. Consumers too have a tendency to click on ads rather than links that appear on the organic search results if they have decided to buy a product. In case they want to do a research before buying, then obviously reverse would be applicable: ignoring ads and clicking links on search engine results (most probably of internet forums).
Coming to the main discussion, once inside the portal, choose the option which shows that it is the owner who has advertised which means no middleman involved. For instance, magicbricks.com
You are advised to sort results in terms of latest first. The reason is obviously competition. There will be many more like you with similar needs and so timing is important. Contact the owner directly over phone/email/SMS (phone is recommended) and set an appointment at the earliest. If you want to rent for the next three or four months (or rather not sure of the time duration), one month brokerage which appears to be a norm while dealing with a broker is quite a sum. This situation can be faced by someone new in a business with uncertain business prospects for the coming 12 months. By eliminating the middleman, you reduce around one month of rent which is really a smart saving under constraints.
These does not mean that brokers are a waste of expenditure. Being insiders, they can help you locate a property at location and price at amazing terms in addition to taking care of litigation needs. You need to do a cost-benefit analysis. If buying a property, yes do consider brokers as well.
Buying a new house like buying a new office means blocking a substantial portion of liquid cash which could otherwise be used for your business (if you are an entrepreneur) or invested in other asset classes like equity or even investing in learning. So, if you are young and willing to work hard making the best use of your skills, it appears you can postpone the decision of buying a house (Why Warren Buffett Didn’t Want to Buy a House to Live In) in the greater interest of your life’s pursuit by opting for a rented apartment.