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“Loopholes” to Renting Industrial Space for Free

Shhh…Don’t tell your landlord I told you this!

If you’re looking for industrial space for your business (or if you’re about to renew/move), you might not actually need to pay for every square foot you plan to use.

Here’s three quick and creative suggestions for getting industrial space for free:


Unlike Europeans (who rent by cubic foot), North Americans are lucky enough to rent their industrial space by the square foot, which doesn’t take height into account.

With new concrete tilt-up buildings often sporting 24+ feet of ceiling height, and with modern racking systems able to stack/retrieve inventory equally as high, consider renting a space with a smaller footprint and higher ceilings. You won’t pay for the extra height and you can pocket the savings of smaller square footage.

You’ll pay the same for a 2,400 SF industrial unit whether the clear height (the height to the lowest-hanging ceiling obstruction) is 14 feet or 30 feet, so it makes total sense to stack your inventory higher, rather than pay for that space at ground-level.


Many industrial units on the market have mezzanines, most often used as office space that sits above a warehouse. If your business requires some office space in your unit, consider taking something with a mezzanine, because many landlords don’t count them in the building’s chargeable footprint.

Would you rather pay for an extra 1000 SF on the ground, or get it free in a mezzanine? You’ll also have a great view over the warehouse (perfect for micro-managers!), where concrete floors provide great cooling and save a ton of air conditioning costs during the summer.


If you plan to store product/machinery for long periods of time, see if your landlord will consider giving you some yard space for a container.

Rather than renting extra inside space at $7.50 per square foot, you could negotiate some unused yard space for…well…nothing!

Of course, this only works for items you won’t be needing every day, but it can save you a lot of money and even allows some businesses to cut 1,000+ feet from their unit size requirements.

If your landlord won’t let you have it for free, they’ll often negotiate the space at a drastically reduced rate (I’ve heard of people getting it for $1 per square foot).

James Collins, located in Cushman & Wakefield Atlantic’s Halifax Office, assists clients with all matters relating to industrial sales and leasing. James offers all industrial tenants a free lease review service, providing feedback and market information to assist in formulating a lease renewal plan, with no obligation.