Make sure you consider these Important items when choosing a private office space to rent
Not all private office rentals are made equal. Nor should they be. Every business and team have different needs and values which will influence the final decision.
We understand this because this is how we house and apartment hunt. Sometimes we're willing to forego space in return for location, and other times cost and space size will trump any other consideration.
As you begin your search, you want to make sure you consider all aspects of office rental decisions so that you don't get buyer's regret!
Size and layout
How will your space be used? Will you primarily be sitting all day or do you need flexibility within your room? Can your furniture be fixed and set in one place, or do you need furniture that can flip and roll so you can utilize your room in a variety of ways?
For some business owners, the type of layout and size will have a great impact on daily operations, so weigh this option accordingly.
Your staff needs
If you're a solopreneur or remote worker, this won't apply to you. But for many businesses, they will have several other staff members utilizing their office space and their needs should be assessed and considered. Here's some questions you should ask your staff prior to deciding on a space:
- Do you need access to parking?
- Does the office need to be close to public transportation?
- Do you need an office environment that promotes networking and connecting with potential clients and vendors?
- What desk, technology, security and internet requirements do you have?
- Will you need access to other spaces for private conference calls or conference rooms for client meetings?
While you may be familiar with your staff's operations, it doesn't hurt to poll your staff and make sure you covered all your bases. You don't want to end up in a space and later realize you aren't able to support your staff to do the job that you pay them to do.
All rental spaces out there have a variety of benefits. Some of these are up-charges and others are all-inclusive. Either way, you need to decide what amenities you truly value. While it's easy to make a quick decision based purely on a cost basis (hey, we all want more profits, right??), ultimately it may pay off to pay more for amenities that provide a high quality space, give your business greater exposure and give you the ability to grow your network.
Here's some amenities that you should consider while decision-making:
- Unlimited fiber-optic Internet
- Fully-furnished offices
- Keyless, smart lock entry
- Security cameras and security staff
- Conference room access
- Phone booth access
- Cleaning services
- Coffee, beverages and snacks in the common area
- Networking events
- Business training workshops
- Built-in business community
- Cafe and/or restaurant on site
Every property manager and space offers their own set of amenities and it is possible to find rentals that include a combination of many of these items. Generally, co-working spaces focus on offering private office space that includes a built-in community and access to networking and relationship-building opportunities. While rates may be slightly higher, they can return those costs in forms of flexible terms and business opportunities you may have not otherwise had.
It comes down to your needs, so select your "needs" and "wants" and then move on to the next point on our list.
Cost is often the biggest consideration. We all have a budget, and typically we'd prefer to be conservative in case our revenue fluctuates. So be sure to give yourself a range while starting your search. Many properties will advertise unbelievable low rates on their ads or promotions, but eventually you'll find that costs start stacking up for every little item you need. Be sure to search on the high and low end of your budget to see what's out there.
Remember that the lowest cost doesn't always pay off! Often going with the lowest going rate can lead to equally low customer service from the leasing company. Make sure that you see in writing everything that is included for the pricing listed. Again, some companies are "all-inclusive" and some are "itemized," but you need to do your own due diligence to make sure you know the numbers. And don't forget about that deposit!
Business-building and community-building opportunities
While not necessary for every business, more and more property managers are considering a social-benefit for their tenants. Small business owners thrive from connecting with each other. Often people will stay longer in a space if they feel necessary and connected to the group that is present. Do you want to work in an environment where you don't meet anyone down the hall? Maybe you do-- more power to you! But most small business owners would welcome the opportunity for easy connecting opportunities. So don't overlook this one too quickly-- it may end up making the biggest difference to your business growth!
As we all are becoming more conscious consumers, often it's meaningful to be in a space where you align with the mission of the building owner or property manager. Now, sometimes that's unrealistic, but wouldn't you agree that it would be nice? If you run across a company who intentionally work to be missional in all their activities and those align with yours, it may be a good idea to strongly consider their space. This could lead to collaborative relationships, shared marketing endeavors, event partnerships, and an extension of your network.
A missional fit is not always possible, but it could be an added bonus if you have a mission-driven organization or business.
Terms are everything! You could find an office that meets all your requirements in every way, but if the terms are either bad or not what you were prepared for, it could really be an Achilles heel. There are plenty of stories where tenants heard one thing during the office tour, and a completely OTHER thing showed up in the terms and conditions. You don't want to find out about a surprise set of terms 6 months into your lease.
It may be a good idea to have a professional (like a lawyer) go over the terms with you to make sure you are crystal clear on what you're getting yourself into. Does your lease auto-renew? If so, how far in advance do you need to process cancellation if you want to move out? What can and can't you do in your space? Can you rates go up before you renew your lease? Do you have freedom to operate as you wish or are there restrictions? What about guests and visitors in your space?
You really need to understand your own operations and requirements in order to properly decide if the terms will work for you or not. Take your time and don't rush this part.
Last but not least, we suggest you consider the benefit of having access to support staffing provided by the building. What if you have a maintenance issue? What if there's an issue accessing the building? Is there any security staffing on site? Who is monitoring guests coming in and out of the common areas?
When there are situations outside of your control, you want to make sure you can get ahold of someone or that a building staff member is on site at all times. Don't downplay this important detail!
So where's your next work home?
It's time to make a pros and cons list. Think through these important items we have listed out before you start your shopping as an informed office holder!
To help with your search, here are some listing sites that focus on co-working and flexible workspace office options.
Are you in Chicago and looking for a private office space to rent? Check out our office availabilities at Mox.E in the South Loop: https://www.moxechicago.com/private-office