Turning Vacancy into Opportunity: 3 Ways to Monetize Empty Rental Space

Rental Space

Picture New York. You probably imagine tall buildings, busy streets, and sidewalks. But the real image depicts a city filled with vacant storefronts and rental. There are a lot of factors that contribute to this, but the fact remains that even in a busy city like the Big Apple, vacancies are abundant. If you’re reading this, it means that your commercial property has a vacant retail or office space for rent that’s collecting dust, despite exhausting all your efforts to attract new tenants.

The Cost of Vacancy

Unfortunately, it’s doing more than just collect dust and serve as an eyesore. A vacant rental space can cost you money in terms of lost income-generating opportunity as well as upkeep. Not only that, but when people notice that your property has a rental space that’s been vacant for a while, they’d assume that there’s something wrong with it (or the property as a whole) which makes it more difficult to rent it out (even at a bargain), and can also affect your other existing tenants by driving potential customers away.

New Opportunities

But, instead of being a costly reminder, you can view the vacant space as an opportunity for you to think outside the box and earn. As such, we’ll be taking a look at ideas to turn that vacancy into a lucrative opportunity:

#1 Open Up to Pop-Up Shops

Commercial and retail space rental often require long-term contracts, which some enterprises can’t afford yet, or wish to test the waters first before committing to long-term operations. So, instead of choosing only long-term tenants, you may want to consider offering short-term deals for pop-up shops. Pop-up shops usually operate between 3 days to 3 months, and they typically sell new products, aim to build brand awareness, get rid of old/overstocked inventory, or simply test the market. If all goes well, some pop-up shops may even commit to a long-term rental. However, you have to ensure that the pop-up shops won’t affect your current long-term tenants’ business, as you may end up with more vacant rental spaces.

Rental Space

#2 Rent Out for Private Use

Continuing with the ‘short-term’ rental option, you can open your vacant space for private events such as parties, company training, meetings, team-building activities, or even performance (dance, theater, etc.), to name a few. If you’re open to renting out your vacant retail space for private events and activities, you’ll need to make a few improvements to the vacant rental space to make it more attractive; ensure that you have optimal lighting, heating/air conditioning, and plumbing (and a working restroom), as well as WiFi. You’ll also want to equip it with the necessary furniture, depending on the types of event you wish to cater to (i.e., long tables and chairs for training, meetings, parties).

#3 Open A Co-working Space

You’ve probably seen these co-working spaces pop-up everywhere, and it might even be a good idea to follow suit. Co-working spaces cater to a lot of people, from freelancers to small workgroups, businessmen, and professionals that need a conducive place to work away from home or at the office/shop and even students. This will be the perfect option if your rental space is already furnished or designed for offices.  If you don’t know where to start, there are franchise opportunities to open your own co-working office space. In some ways, this can be seen as short-term rentals, as you’re renting out your fully furnished space for work.

The Takeaway

If you’ve noticed, the common theme to these ideas is ‘short term rental,’ whether it’s for a pop-up shop, venue rental for events, or as a co-working space. So if you’re having trouble renting out your commercial/retail space for long-term, a short-term solution would be perfect — and you’d be avoiding the costs of having a vacant space, too!