Over the past several years, I’ve been experimenting with different types of office space. I run a solo online business and an annual conference with three employees (only one has lived locally). My office needs aren’t much.
Still, I think it matters where you work. Don’t you?
I’ve worked in my old home (the bedroom, the loft, the kitchen table), the local coffee houses, my local library, at a friend’s place while he was gone for a few weeks, my new home office, and finally, an office in a local co-working space.
I think I’ve found the right fit: a small office in a co-working environment with a colleague (and occasional employee). Here are a few options for you, the upstart business owner:
What Are the 7 Types of Office Space?
You have to work somewhere. It might as well be somewhere you love.
1. Home Office
Many homes come equipped with a study or spare room. Turn the space into an office and start working from home. Find a desk and nice chair that will be comfortable for long periods and get to work.
Of course, if your business requires that you meet with customers, this may not be a perfect solution. Our home has a loft area I have used as a home office. But our house has become less work friendly with the two little ones taking over.
When we purchased our second home, we included a place with an office space that I could close off from the rest of the house. I’ve now made it my own, and I love it.
2. Free Hotspot Office Space
Search for “free wifi, your city,” and you’ll be given many options to camp out for a few hours a day to get some work done. My local library is my best option in this category (I’m writing this post from the library).
Nice, quiet environment and no pressure to buy a coffee. The only downside to this place is that I can’t take phone calls or set up my big monitor (which makes me twice as productive).
Cost: ~ a cup of coffee a day.
3. Virtual Office Space
If you have a home office, but you need a place to make you look “official,” then consider a virtual office. For as little as $25 a month, you are given a physical address, fax number (does anyone still need that?), answering service, and the right to rent a conference/office space for a daily rate.
This is a good option for those who only need to meet with a client a few times a month. Not a good choice for me, though.
Cost: $25-$100 a month.
4. Co-Working Office Space
With so many people working from home, either with their own business or because they are telecommuting with their employer, the demand for shared working space has risen.
Sensing this trend, some savvy investors are setting up “coworking” spaces, where people can rent a cube/desk/room per day, multiple days, or months.
Being a member also gives you rights to the kitchen, copier, mail room, etc. This is where I would like to work. It would give me the personal space I need without the expensive rent. Plus, I’d get to be around other like-minded entrepreneurs daily.
There are now several co-working spaces close to where I live. 🙁 The downside of this type of space is that you are paying rent but don’t get to control the area completely.
Cost: $50-$500 a month, depending on your membership level.
5. Leased Office Space
Through the years, I’ve tried a couple of varieties of office space, and now I love my little office away from home. I feel like everyone eventually reaches that point with their business where they need a dedicated space outside the house. You need a stable place that you can count on. A place to set up your monitor and printer. A place where you could make phone calls, record a podcast, etc.
When I started looking around for offices, I realized there weren’t many good options (in my area at least) for solo practitioners who don’t need something client-facing. I tried loopnet.com, and I have also worked with a local Realtor. But now, all the co-working spaces have moved in, and it’s easy to find a space.
Cost: $10 – $100 a square foot per year. Rents for a < 300 sq ft place are around $500/mo in my area.
6. Free (or Bartered) Office Space
I’m a frugal guy. I’ll tell you to look for the deal when you can. So here goes. Who says you need to pay for your office space? Get it for free or barter services.
My friend Joshua Becker recently shared with me how he called out on Facebook for anyone who might have a spare office space locally. One of his friends who worked for a law firm was sitting in several empty offices for the next six months. Joshua is going to use one to write his next book.
You should do the same. Ask your network for free space, even if temporary. Alternatively, you could offer your regular monthly services in exchange for the room.
Cost: $0 or equal exchange of value.
7. Purchased Office Space
This is another option I’ve considered. Why pay rent when I could be paying a mortgage and owning the property? What’s stopping me from buying my commercial property and renting a portion of the space to cover the mortgage?
The right property is all that’s stopping me, I guess. Along with a complete lack of knowledge of the commercial leasing business. Ha!
Costs: the cost of the piece of property, less rental income, and the time to learn about this business.
If you’re an upstart entrepreneur, at what point would you (or did you) leap to having your own leased or owned space? If you prefer to work from home, why?