If the entrepreneurial dream has finally come true and you are ready to launch your startup, one thing you’ll need is office space to make everything run smoothly. Most startups also have a tight budget, so you’ll want to consider the cost of any location before making a final decision. Randall Castillo Ortega, an entrepreneur and business expert from Costa Rica, provides insight into how to choose the best places for a startup to use as an office.
While space availability varies from year to year, some 40 million square feet of space were opened in the fourth quarter of 2020. Most of the job losses were due to the pandemic, with vacancies increasing by approximately 17.1%. The abundance of rental properties may be good news for new brands looking for a deal in the space to house their businesses. With so many options to choose from, it may sometimes be difficult to select just one.
If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to convert extra space in your home at first. You can always move on to something more formal later. Park your cars outside for a while and use your attached garage to house your business activities. Adding some loose vinyl planks, insulting walls and muffling the sound are great first steps to running your business from home.
If there are empty warehouses in your neighborhood, that could be another option. “You may be able to get a short-term lease to use the office space,” explains Castillo. “Some companies even partner with others to share co-workspaces.” If you plan to place any employee in open spaces in the building, consider acoustic treatments to dampen the echo. Reduce reflection and reverb so that sound waves are absorbed and you can make phone calls or organize meetings without fear of poor sound quality.
Almost all medium-sized cities have some commercial office space to rent. These offices are individual but located in a single building, such as a metal structure. You’ll usually share a hallway with other businesses, but you may also have a separate entrance from the outside. These spaces are temperature controlled. Ask questions like if you can hang posters outside your office. Find out what features are available. Some offer free Wi-Fi or a common area, such as a restroom for employees. If you have a tight budget, this is not the least expensive solution. However, it is an excellent alternative when you need space quickly and do not have time to compare prices.
According to Statista, there are 2.26 million people who use coworking spaces, a growth of 128 times the figures of 2010. You usually rent the area for short periods, like one or two months at a time. Different buildings have different advantages, fees and rules, so look for one that meets your needs. “The shared space is great for startups, as it allows you to make sure your business is a success before signing a longer-term contract,” adds Castillo.
If your business is going well and you are sure you will live for at least a few years, it might be a good investment to buy or rent a house. Many lawyers manage their offices from home, placing the legal aid staff and receptionist on a lower level and the lawyer’s offices on the upper floor. A buffer between floors allows administrative assistants to examine visitors and ensure the safety of attorneys during high-profile cases. While you may not need extra security, you can still take a page out of your book and rent a house to serve as office space. One of the benefits of placing your offices in a home is having a kitchen and bathroom dedicated to your employees. If you buy instead of rent, you’ll get equity in the building, making a profit instead of spending money on rent.
If you have a limited budget, hiring staff to work from home can be a perfect solution, especially if you already have the necessary equipment, such as computers. Regardless, you will be able to avoid paying steep prices to rent office space for personnel. An added bonus is that it can bring in the best talents who want to work from home and avoid long travel times. You can add other benefits, such as job sharing, and attract parents of young children who don’t want to work full-time but want to keep their foot in the door in their chosen profession.
Only you can decide what type of space best suits your needs. You may find that a more formal environment works best if you meet with your customers in person. On the other hand, if you only deal with customers virtually, setting up a virtual office space makes more sense and saves more money. “Think about your business needs today and in the future, and choose the option that most attracts you. Work hard so you don’t get tied to long contracts. If something doesn’t work as you need it, switch to another option,” concludes Castillo.