How to Improve Your Site Selection Process
The site selection process is full of twists, turns, and a variety of challenges. While there’s a lot to consider, as well as potential mistakes lurking around every corner, there are also steps you can take to put yourself on the path to making an informed and confident decision.
Here are five things that can immediately improve your site selection process:
1. Surround Yourself With the Right Team
Even if you have the final say, it’s important to bring a variety of professionals into the fold. Your site selection team can include the following:
- Executive team
- Real estate professionals
- Logistics department
- Human resources
- Tax professionals
- Site selection consultants
If someone can bring value to the process, consider looping them in.
2. Have a Strategy for Shortening Your List
It’s common to start with a large list of sites, all of which have something unique to offer. However, it’s important to shorten your list as you close in on making a final decision.
There are many strategies you can use to narrow your options, including a focus on details such as: location, population, unemployment rate, demographics, costs, and tax rates (among others).
3. Perform a Thorough Analysis of Each Site
You never know what a site has to offer until you dig around and learn more. Completing a thorough site analysis is a must, as it will help you narrow your options and more confidently proceed with a final selection.
Some of the things to touch on in your analysis include:
- Location and size of competitors
- Historical unemployment rates
- Tax rates
- Local traffic
- Economic health of the area
- Economic incentives
- Utility costs
- Recent expansion in the area
- Infrastructure conditions
Upon completing a thorough analysis of each site, you can work with your team to decide which locations belong on the short list.
4. Spend Time On-Site
You don’t want to make such a big decision from the outside looking in. Instead, once you have a short list, spend as much time as necessary on-site and in the surrounding area.
Maybe you come across a few benefits that you didn’t notice before. Or maybe you find something wrong with a particular site, thus leading to its elimination from contention.
The time you spend on-site will change the way you feel about it, either for the better or the worse.
5. Focus on the Financial Side of the Deal
Unless money is no object, which is very rarely the case, it’s critical to focus on the financial side of each deal. You’ll come to find that financial details impact your final decision, so focus on things such as:
- Asking price (and the opportunity to negotiate)
- Comparable sales
- Tax credits and abatements
- Cash grants
- Utility costs
- Utility rebates
There’s no room for financial errors during the site selection process, as this can lead you to make the wrong choice.
With these tips, you’ll find it easier to move through the site selection process in an efficient manner. In the end, it’s our hope that you can make a final decision that you and the rest of your team agree on.