As a young entrepreneur, you’re probably going to hit a point where your little home office just isn’t enough for all your business needs and starts to be more of a burden than a way of saving money and flying light. If this happens, well, congratulations! It usually means you’re growing and moving up in the business world.
However, with that growth and associated need for an actual independent office of your own, there will also come more than a few headaches. It’s really not as simple as uprooting and moving to a new building where everything is just like it was before but not attached to your home. It isn’t that simple and a lot of things about creating your own office are very different from how they were before.
For one thing, you’re going to be spending quite a bit of extra money on your new digs, and if you’re really upgrading to something serious, there are going to be some even heavier factors to consider than buying new furniture.
But, not to worry, we’re about to cover some of the major issues you might face and give you a few great tips for pulling off an awesome office without an awesome amount of spending and hassle.
Think carefully about your new office location and don’t decide based simply on having a stylish location or being close to home. Sometimes the best, most ideal deals will be found in places that may not be as chic or cool as what you might prefer but you have to remember that office choice should be a practical consideration and not a status symbol (at least not until you’re really rolling in money and success)
That aside, bear in mind all of your utility needs as you examine different office spaces. These will include connectivity needs (is the office ideal for a clear and even wireless signal), electrical needs (are there enough outlets and is the wiring in good condition), and space needs (obviously, will there be enough room for not only current employees + equipment but also near future scalability).
Finally, remember that there are more than a few possible options sitting before you when it comes to office rental: For one thing, instead of taking out a long term lease on your own office space, you might want to consider moving into a shared work space. These are rentable suites of desks and whole offices that are already furnished and set up by professional office rental companies. Their rates are flexible and locations such as these can be found in virtually every major American city; some examples of what we’re talking about here: http://www.sandboxsuites.com/ and http://www.cambridgecoworking.com/.
Furnishings and Equipment
Furniture and equipment are probably going to be your second biggest expense when it comes to new office rental; in some cases they might even be the biggest spending item on your list, but there are ways to manage both so that you come out on top.
First of all, as we’d already discussed and linked to above, one of your office rental options is a shared space inside a massive preinstalled facility. And while these will probably cost a fair bit more per month than regular empty office space, they already come with furniture and even equipment access thrown into the bargain. You’d have to calculate the costs vs. benefits of just buying your own stuff and renting a cheaper basic office to see which works best for you. As a general rule, expect to pay between $200 (low end, less than trendy location) and $1000 (high end, high value location in a major business city) per employee per month in a shared work space, with the necessary furnishings and some equipment per employee included in the prices.
If you decide to go for an office that you develop from scratch, then equipment and furniture will be entirely your own responsibility, and for that, there are a few money (and time) saving tips to keep in mind.
For one thing, don’t leap at the temptation to buy all new machines, chairs, desks and fancy decorations. While they may seem like an awesome idea for your fresh independent location’s beginnings, they’re also going to cost you a fortune. Instead, bring along your former equipment and only add to it as reasonably needed for the sake of upwards business scaling.
The same applies for your furniture and other add-ons; instead of buying new stuff, bring along what you can from your old office and add to it as necessary for the sake of employee comfort. Now, here you can add as needed by buying retail furnishings from major stores or you can go to discount auctions, classifieds and even foreclosure sales for much larger discounts. However, one benefit of major retail purchases is that they usually offer fairly good low interest credit options which will reduce your upfront costs while being easily payable over time.
One additional option for equipment and furniture rentals is leasing. While you’ll be paying a certain amount more over the long run thanks to a lease agreement, the lack of up front down payments in most cases lets you get your hands on a much larger amount of furniture and office machines right away in case you really need them.
A Few Other Factors
Finally, let’s look at a few other, slightly more uncommon and exotic factors that could affect how you manage a new or existing office space if you need to expand. These might apply to your business if you’ve moved beyond a shoe string budgets and already own an office that you want to scale upwards.
Let’s suppose you’re looking to grow your office because your business needs it, but you’re already ensconced comfortably enough to not want to actually shift locations. Now obviously you don’t want to move out and start setting up everything from scratch and this leaves you with one or two other major options, which are remodeling or expansion.
If you’re thinking of either, then first consider remodeling before you start thinking of excavation for a new office addition. The former is going to be a lot cheaper and it might just save you a lot of pointless work.
Basically, take a critical eye to your existing office and possibly even consult an architect to see what kind of internal modifications you could make to give you a much more efficient, open space without having to build anything new. Some possible solutions could include removing walls, adding extra floors or loft spaces and possibly reconfiguring internal support structures and walls.
If none of these are enough for expanded office needs, then maybe commercial excavation services for added space is your final choice. However, remember that this should be a last resort unless you’ve really got a lot of money to spend and really want to stay where you are, because it will cost a lot of time and money. There will be building permits to take care of, structural issues to deal with and all sorts of construction related work added on top of your office expansion project.
Ultimately, do whatever is most practical and convenient in improving, expanding or shifting office locations. This will depend entirely on your specific situation but should be done with an eye to the fact that your business itself is what’s most important, not how pretty or new the place where it’s located.
Stephan Jukic is a freelance writer who generally covers a variety of subjects relating to the latest changes in white hat SEO, marketing, marketing tech and brand promotion. He also loves to read and write about subjects as varied as the idea of a location-free business, portable business management, and strategic marketing and advertising tactics. When he’s not busy writing or consulting, he spends his days enjoying life’s adventures either in Canada or Mexico. Connect with Stephan on LinkedIn.
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