Negotiating the Lease

We sent our marked-up copy of the lease to the leasing agent, received the landlord's response, and sent our counter-proposal back to them late today. Our main objective in the negotiation at this point is to limit our maximum possible financial exposure -- the lease, as it is written would have us on the hook for repairing pretty much anything that is broken and or breaks (our fault or not), bringing the facility up to code if there are changes, paying for any required ADA upgrades, etc. You can see how this could quickly run into the tens of thousands of dollars or more in a perfect-storm scenario. We're negotiating a 24 month lease and attempting to cap our maximum potential exposure to $15k over the course of the lease. The landlord offered to cap at $15k per year in his original response. Most of the rest has already been agreed to -- this is the last potential deal-breaker that we have to resolve. We should know something early next week.

Separately, we sent five different bars, all 70% single-origins, off to Martin Christy at 70% in the UK via FedEx for a paid formal evaluation and feedback. Next week we'll be sending three other bars off to C-spot for their similar service. This is the first time that we've had our chocolate impartially evaluated, and we're really looking forward to hearing not only what's good about it, but especially what could use further work. With a little luck we should have at least some of the results back within the next two weeks. Counting air shipping the bars, the total for the paid evaluations will be just shy of a thousand dollars.

This coming week we'll be opening our business checking and savings accounts, getting quotations on business insurance, and dropping off our business laptop to have our accountant set up our QuickBooks software. We've been diligently logging all of our expenditures in Excel up until now, but it's time to 'upgrade' to some real accounting software (and learn how to use it!). BTW, there's another $700 -- computer and software -- these little things add up quickly.

With a little luck when we post at the end of next week we'll be able to share some good news on the lease...

Until then,
David and Leslie