Interview with the Lease Coach Dale Willerton

In case you don’t know my full history I worked for landlord’s managing and leasing commercial properties for many years only to realize it was Tenants that needed my help, not landlords. 

In 1993 I quit landlords and switched over to Team-Tenant as The Lease Coach now 27 years.  The difference between The Lease Coach and traditional commercial brokers is they get paid hefty commissions by landlord’s while often making it seem like they are helping the Tenant. (clear conflict of interest to most people). 

While The Lease Coach only works for Tenants and only gets paid by the Tenant. I’ve written 3 books on the subject and speak to Tenants about 30 times per year on the subject, including some martial arts shows.

Because The Lease Coach has 8 offices across North America we have the good fortune to work with Martial Arts school owners ALL over the country, not in just one region.  So I don’t think it would be universally accurate to say the economy is booming and rent is skyrocketing.

The truth is it’s mostly a Tenant’s market and always has been.  My point is if a Martial Arts school closes there could be many reasons, but high rent is not normally one of them.  Yes, that is correct.  Martial Arts schools close because their sales are too low, not because the rents are too high. 

When a martial arts school owner comes to me to negotiate his lease renewal I ask what capacity the school is running at.  Most are at less than 70% capacity and many at 50% capacity. So there is plenty of room for more students and more revenue to offset the rent.

Don’t even get me started on the poor locations they select.  The best retail plazas were built for “retailers” not the martial arts industry to occupy.

I really enjoy working for Martial Arts school owners.  The vast majority of Martial Arts school owners are extremely hardworking honest, good people, but lacking in some business skills. 

Most of them are notoriously bad at selecting the right location for their school. They are terrible at negotiating the lease deal terms.  And they are equally poor at marketing their classes (hence the lower enrollment). They are not lazy. They simply lack the tools, contacts, experience, and training they need to do better, to excel.

80% of the lease renewals The Lease Coach negotiates for Tenants result in a rent reduction.  Most new lease deals we do are below market rents with generous free rent periods and Tenant Allowances. 

Nobody does their own dental work or makes their own shoes but everybody thinks that they can suddenly hold their own negotiating a real estate lease.  Not once did I give my kids a martial arts lesson but I paid thousands of dollars for other professionals to train them in the various arts, through the years. 

Want to pay lower rent, want a better lease – get professional help from someone who is an expert and who is only working for and being paid by you. So let’s not blame the economy and rents, let’s do what we need to do to make your business profitable.