The workplace grows as your business does. For many startups, working from home is a great option. However, as things begin to take off and you look to expand, a home office just doesn’t cut it anymore. Does this sound familiar? If so, the time may have come to find some office space for your startup. When deciding on whether or not your business needs an office, there are four major factors to consider:
1. Traditional lease vs. serviced office
The traditional leased office, rented from a landlord, is the most popular means of renting an office. For a start, they’re probably the cheapest office space you can find. It’s also quite appealing to have your own property tied down long-term. Of course, these leases may be too inflexible for a startup. Having to manage your own property could also use up your valuable time (and add cost to your monthly rent).
Alternatively, you could consider serviced offices. These purpose-built centers will usually provide all the services you need—everything from an internet connection up to executive meeting room access. This means you generally don’t have to worry about anything other than your business.
This does come at a price. Serviced offices are generally the most expensive. But, if money isn’t too much of an issue, then the support you can receive in a serviced office makes them definitely worth considering.
2. Conventional options vs. going alternative
If neither of these two sound appealing, you could always consider something a little different, like renting a desk in another company’s building. Shared offices are like their serviced cousins, in that everything’s included in your monthly bill. Contracts also work on a month-to-month basis. You will have access to a more basic level of facilities usually limited to internet access, along with a desk and a chair.
As with serviced offices, shared offices may not feel like your space, as you’ll have no control over the working environment or the people you’ll be sharing with. There are also a couple of security concerns: You’ll be sending any potentially sensitive data through a shared network, and you might not get to lock your belongings in the property at night.
3. Inner city vs. out-of-town
Now that you’ve decided what kind of space you want, the next big decision is where to go. If you want a prestige location that could potentially boost the image of your business, then a city-center office is probably for you. Want to show you’re at the cutting edge of the creative industries? Then a place like trendy Soho in Manhattan could well be for you.
Alternatively, prices are often cheaper the farther out of town you go. So if location isn’t all that important, you save some cash and locate away from the town center.
Whichever way you go, make sure you’re easy enough for both staff and clients to access. Is there ample parking or good public transport at your new city center office? Is there a danger an out-of-town space would be too remote for your employees to reach? Transport is a really key concern when you’re choosing where to relocate, although if you find a brilliant space your staff may well manage to find a way there—at least that’s what we’ve found in our own experience.
4. Going solo vs. enlisting help
This is one for startups who have decided to go with a conventional space. Deciding whether or not to get help from an agent is vitally important. An agent could bring knowledge and negotiating power, both of which could be invaluable. However they do charge a fee of around 10 percent, on top of your first year’s rent.
If you were to go it alone, not only will you save a bit of money, you may find it easier to get the exact space you want. After all, who knows your business better than you do? However, a solo office search can be a time-consuming and stressful experience. When we were looking for a new office we tried to combine the two, endeavouring to show our agent what exactly we were all about as a company.
Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board completely if things don’t work out at first. You will find what works for you!
[ Images via IM_Photo and K. Miri Photography | Shutterstock ]