If you have bad credit, finding the right location for your retail business can be a challenge. Without a positive credit rating, your rental applications may be turned down, and you won't qualify for bank financing to buy a place. Fortunately, a little community networking can go a long way to help you find alternative ways to lease or purchase retail space. Ask family, friends and professional associates to refer you to commercial property owners, and to others who can help you find a home for your business.
Find one or more business partners with good credit. Offer partnership to individuals who share your vision for your store. Work with an attorney to negotiate partnership terms. Agree that the partner or partners with good credit will be responsible for negotiating and signing leases on behalf of the partnership.
Rent space from a landlord who does not check credit. Credit checks help landlords determine whether anonymous applicants will be good tenants. If you know the landlord personally however, your good reputation may substitute for your credit rating. Work with an attorney to represent you in negotiations with the landlord. Be sure that you understand and agree to all terms before you sign the lease.
Start small with a table or booth at a community marketplace. Market organizers will review your application to determine whether your business is a fit for the community space, but you probably won't need good credit to get approved. Build a positive credit history for your business with your suppliers. Use your good business credit to obtain a larger space when your business expands.
Purchase a retail space in cash. Depending on the cost of commercial real estate in your community, you may be able to buy a retail space if you have cash on hand. Work with a real-estate agent who specializes in commercial space for small business owners to find a suitable home for your store.