For many commercial tenants, negotiating a good lease or lease renewal against an experienced agent or landlord can be a challenge. While an entrepreneur focuses on marketing and managing his own business, savvy real estate agents and brokers are specialized sales people. Their job is to sell tenants on leasing their location at the highest possible rental rate.

Tenants may go through the leasing process only two or three times in their entire lifetime — yet they have to negotiate against seasoned professionals who negotiate leases every day for a living. Negotiating appropriate leasing terms is vital for a commercial tenant as the amount of rent he or she pays will directly affect the entrepreneur’s financial bottom line.

Whether you are leasing a new for the first time or negotiating a lease renewal for your business, here are some tips:

Don’t forget the parking

When negotiating for parking, first establish the availability and preferred locations of parking spots. It’s much harder to negotiate for parking spots after they have all been taken rather than when there is a surplus of parking.

If you can’t get a landlord to come down on the amount of your commercial rent, at least ask for five months of free parking as an incentive. Trust us, parking is worth negotiating on — so that you, your staff, and your customers will all have a place to park.

Merchant & promo funds

No matter what landlords and leasing agents tell you, they do negotiate on merchant and promo funds. The key words here are negotiate on, not toss out.

If you don’t want to participate in the promotion fund, justify why and offer to pay a lesser amount. It is very important to the landlord that everyone pays something — even if it is a lesser amount. Don’t be too soft on this issue.