Office rental 101: Top options for your startup
Choosing your first office space is a big step for any business, and a real moment on which to capitalise as you grow. There is a myriad of different options to choose from, but which one is best for you? We have collaborated with Peter Ames, Head of Strategy at workspace-experts OfficeGenie.co.uk, to assess the various options available, and how they might benefit you.
Ever-popular, a traditional ‘per-square-foot’ lease of an entire space remains the most common means of office rental. It’s for good reason: you get a stable, long-term home that you can design and mould to suit your business’ image and its needs. It also is generally the cheapest office rental option, even after you’ve bought your own furniture (and everything else an office needs to function).
Do bear in mind, these do come with drawbacks: First and foremost, they can be a lot of work to manage and maintain. Before you even get in there is the likelihood of drawn-out commercial negotiations and legal wrangling. Once you’re in you’re generally on your own; usually, If something stops working within the space, it’s on the tenant to fix it. In addition to this, the long-term nature of traditional rentals (contracts are rarely signed for fewer than three years), may not be ideal for a business in its early stages.
At the other end of the spectrum come serviced offices. These are properties in which you can rent an office space (usually a private suite) that comes fully-inclusive of everything you need to run your business. Indeed, you should find broadband, meeting rooms, furniture, reception services and all utility costs available as part of your rental fee.
Of course, this all comes at a price; serviced offices are generally the most expensive means of renting office space. A further word of note, you won’t have the same ability to design and customise your space as with a traditional rental. Saying that, in recent years serviced buildings have warmed considerably to the prospect of tenants customising their spaces to a degree.
Shared offices and coworking
If you are put off by the higher prices of a serviced office, then a shared office might be for you. These, in which you share space with another company, are a handy alternative to the more widely-recognised options above. These are generally similarly flexible, low-maintenance, with the added bonus of an often-lower price. Working alongside an exciting company can also be an invaluable experience that can do your own business wonders.
Of course, they are not professionally-maintained, so you are at the mercy of the facilities used by your host. As mentioned they are also lower-spec than serviced offices (and often without dedicated support teams, you may find minor issues such as internet drop-outs are slightly more common). Also ensure you are happy sharing a network with your host, and there are no potential security risks in doing so.
Increasingly-ubiquitous coworking spaces offer a variation on this theme: Offering the slightly lower-spec nature of a shared space with the dedicated, professional qualities of a serviced office. Traditionally coworking spaces were open-plan hot-desking style affairs, but this is no longer the case. Many such properties will offer private offices, taking them yet closer towards serviced offices.
There are plenty of option available, and further variations on the types of spaces described. In short, businesses have never been in a better place when it comes to office space as they are in 2017; there really is an office option for almost every business!
Peter Ames is Head of Strategy at OfficeGenie.co.uk, a desk and office space search site in the UK.