The trend of sharing office space has become a smart and creative option for many entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. Available options on shared spaces for lease are growing at a fast pace. Below is a summary of the most common shared office space environments to help you select which one is right for your business.
Standard Business to Business Shared Office Space
Space Description: Private office space, workstations, and desk rental, within another business’ established office. Ideal for businesses that require a lot of time on the phone, need conference room use on a regular basis, and have privacy requirements.
Amenities: Services offered at no additional cost can be use of a shared conference room, shared kitchen or break room, and a shared reception area. Use of a copy and mailing center and a shared receptionist are often available for a prorated share of the cost.
Rental Rates: There are a growing number of options available in the $250 – $1,000 per month range that offer affordable, flexible lease terms for entrepreneurs, independents, and small businesses. The asking rent will generally depend on how much space you need. To find or list available shared space in your city a good starting point is with SharedBusinessSpace.com.
Space Description: Business incubators are specifically designed to help start up companies typically involved in technology, service, and light manufacturing industries. The space is generally shared with 15 to 20 other startups that enter a business incubation program for a period of a few years. Startups interested in a business incubation program must apply for admission, which can be competitive.
Amenities: Along with very affordable rent a company will be nurtured with hands-on management assistance, access to financing, networking opportunities, and access to business and technical services as well as many other services designed to help ensure that a startup will stay in business for the long term.
Rental Rates: Rental rates are intentionally very affordable and will vary based on each program and location. For a full review of what business incubation is all about and to find a business incubator near you go to the National Business Incubation Association.
Space Description: Coworking communities are professional and creative office environments that have a mix of open areas, community desk space, some private offices and shared use of a conference room. Collaboration, networking and social interaction between members are all promoted. Coworking is a fantastic option for independents, freelancers, software developers, writers, social media consultants, graphic designers and other creative or tech professionals. This type of environment may not be the ideal space for a business that is on the phone a lot as part of their daily routine.
Amenities: Some amenities are included in your membership fees and others are added fees. Amenities can include, fast internet connections, networked printing, free coffee or other beverages, IT support, use of shared kitchen, fax/copy/scanning, white boards, projectors, social events, and networking events within the coworking space.
Rental Rates: Rental rates will vary based upon how many hours per week you use the space, how much conference room time you need and if you use an open desk or a private office. Check out the conversation and growing list of coworking communities discussed in the recent article from Under30CEO.com.
Space Description: Shared office space in a professional more traditional office setting where businesses can rent private office space by the hour, day or month. They offer a menu of different membership plans, including a virtual office plan. Many executive suite locations are in Class A office buildings and offer city views and other impressive luxuries a small business would not have access to otherwise based on their limited budget. Businesses who want a high profile address to give them more credibility are common users of Executive Suites. These spaces are also a good option for larger companies who need satellite offices in other states.
Amenities: Services include an office manager dedicated to your needs, receptionist to answer your calls and greet your clients, mail handling and package receipt, copy center services, a shared business lounge, branded signage for your office door, concierge services.
Rental Rates: Rates will vary based upon location and if you would like full time or part time use. To get a good idea of rental rates you can visit the Regus web site. Regus offers locations in most major cities across the U.S. Executive Suites are designed to be very flexible and offer a large menu of services that can be very convenient for their users. These piecemeal services can add up quickly so it is very important to consider all your business needs up front and get the all in cost so you are not surprised with a larger than expected monthly rent bill.
Entrepreneurs and businesses whether large or small are always looking for creative and cost effective ways to keep their operating costs down. Sharing office space is a smart step towards reaching this goal. As an added bonus, savvy business owners are also pursing shared office space as a way to network and obtain new business referrals by sharing space with a complementary business. Would you share space with another business? Let us know your thoughts. If you are already sharing space, how is it working out for your business?
Julie K. Clark has over fifteen years experience in commercial real estate. She is currently the founder of SharedBusinessSpace.com which is a national online commercial real estate listing directory that focuses solely on the niche of offering shared spaces for lease. Contact her at Julie@SharedBusinessSpace.com or visit http://www.SharedBusinessSpace.comSuscribe to the podcast