Renting an office space can be intimidating, especially when it’s your first time. Whether you’re a solopreneur or planning on launching a business from the ground up, finding an office space to rent near you can be daunting. Most entrepreneurs at the startup stage, or solopreneurs, don’t know what their cash flow will be three or six months from now. If you get locked into the wrong lease, you may end up tying up money that you’ll need for growth and business development. This would be a minor setback for larger companies, but for a small or one-person company it could make or break your budding business.
What’s the Right Shared Office Space For Me?
Additionally, once you factor in expenses beyond the cost of your monthly office lease, such as security deposit, furniture, cost of utilities, internet and parking, the office space rental might not look so hot. Here, we’ve outlined seven important things to consider when you’re looking for the right office space near you.
Scalability and options for growth.
Having flexibility is key when you’re growing a business from a side project to a startup. If you start out with a smaller office plan, does the configuration of the space allow you to grow into adjacent or different areas in the same building?
As mentioned above, you’ll want to ask what’s included in your office lease. Are you responsible for internet and utilities? Is the space furnished? What’s the average cost of monthly utilities?
Private meeting rooms.
Is the office space you’re considering functional for your business needs? Most entrepreneurs will need a space to meet with business partners or investors. If you’re leasing an open office plan, is there a place to have private meetings that isn’t in a coffee shop around the corner?
This can be a strain, particularly in larger cities with a premium on parking spaces. Does your office space lease include parking? How many spaces? Will you have room for guest parking? How are the parking rules for your office space enforced? If you have assigned spaces, who is responsible for enforcing towing regulations? And how much will parking cost you now, and potentially cost you when you add members to your growing team?
The diversity of office options.
This is where you’ll want to ask about the flexibility of the leased office space. Can you make modifications to the space, such as adding cubicles or a walled-off conference area? Will you have options when it comes to shared spaces in the office building, such as kitchens and restrooms? Are there larger spaces in the same building and what is the relocation policy if your lease isn’t up when you need to move? Definitely look at multiple office spaces for rent before making your final decision.
Specifically, access to major highways and interchanges. When considering location, also think about your anticipated regular arrival and departure times. Is it a 10-minute commute at 8 a.m., but a 45-minute commute at 8:45? If you’re in Austin and have to travel I-35 or Mopac, you know what we’re talking about. If your commute is killing you now, working out of a space that’s too centrally located in a downtown area isn’t going to help.
Responsiveness of support staff.
Your leasing company should provide you a list of terms and conditions up front (i.e. before you sign on the dotted line), and it should include what your responsibilities are as a lessee and what the leasing company is responsible for. It should also cover timeliness of response to issues like water leaks, air conditioning or heat failure, parking violations, and building maintenance. If it’s not in writing, they don’t have to respond quickly (or at all).
If you’re looking for an office space to lease and haven’t found anything that ticks off all of the boxes above, a coworking space might be a better option for your business. In a coworking space, expenses like office furniture and renovations will be included in your membership, as will electricity, high-speed internet, and other utilities. Another aspect of the attraction of co-working spaces is that they allow you to work in a professional environment without high up-front costs or long-term commitments, like security deposits or strict leases.
Many coworking spaces, like Duo Works, have endless perks – including free parking, common areas, conference rooms, staffed reception area, mail service, food delivery service, after-hours working spaces, support staff, and networking opportunities.
Additionally, coworking spaces offer month-to-month flexibility. If you begin in a smaller coworking office, or even at a single desk in an open area, and you add to your team, it’s easy to move into a larger office area. Coworking spaces get the startup mindset, and they know that flexibility is necessary for a successful business launch.