A common topic of conversation when real estate agents meet or get together is what type of clients and areas they typically work. There have been a few occasions when an agent has questioned why I still work with leasing and tenant representation. When this has happened I get the impression that they feel tenant rep isn't worth the trouble. Often commercial agents think the natural progression is to move on to investors and sales/acquisitions (which I have done my fare share as well).
I enjoy working with tenant clients even when they can prove to be challenging in a landlord friendly market. I think this owes itself to the fact that I strongly identify with my clients. I started a bar and grill (Javelina) with a few partners six years ago and the lessons in making the business successful have been invaluable. I've also had the pleasure of investing in two of a client's restaurants that are doing very well. We get along well enough and share the same vision that we are on the verge of opening another bar (Nickel City) with a food trailer (Delray Cafe) as partners. All agents gravitate (or should) in the direction of where their skill-set can provide value.
With my years of experience opening multiple restaurant / bar/ retail locations I can walk a property and quickly discover condition problems, build-out costs, the landlord's position, potential for success, and whatever variables/resources a client needs greater knowledge of to be certain of a decision. On top of this I believe that working in Austin you have to have an intuitive sense of what people want here. There are intangible qualities to location and building/space types that speak to owners, employees and customers to match the culture that fits their vision. A good agent knows the physical, economical and social landscape of Austin.
It's enjoyable to weave this all together to help a client and fellow entrepreneur secure a lease that makes sense for their bottom line and greater goals. Their success is my success and... I'm still into it.