Office Space Resources
There are a number of reasons why you might be looking for office space. You've outgrown your home office, need space for employees, need meeting space for clients or staff, or maybe you're just trying to improve your company's professional image. Whatever your reason, there are more options available to you than ever before. Buying a building or leasing and building out office space, while still an option, are often too expensive for small and medium size business owners. Luckily, executive suites (also called business centers and serviced offices) and virtual offices are increasing in number and popularity and were designed with you in mind.
How do you find the right space for you?
What Do You Need?
Who will be working in your office and how much space do
you need? Obviously the overall size of your space will be
impacted by the number of people that will be in your
- Typically, you can estimate 175-250 square feet per employee.
- Typical "presidential" offices range from 150-400 square feet.
- Secretarial and administrative space ranges from 60-110 square feet.
- Conference rooms should allow 25-30 square feet per person for a traditional conference room arrangement. If you're using it in a classroom (or theatre) style setup you can estimate 15 square feet per person.
- Your reception area should accommodate your receptionist, as well as the average number of people you would expect to enter at any given time. If you expect to routinely have groups of 6-9 people arriving and waiting in your reception area, then make sure you have at least 300 square feet. For smaller groups of 3-5, you need at least 200 square feet.
- Other space requirements, like filing areas, library space, break rooms, mail rooms, and general storage should not be left out either.
- Check out the office space calculator at Office Finder, www.officefinder.com/space_info.html
Do you need open space or private offices?
- If yours is a creative environment where teamwork is important, you may need open areas where collaborative efforts can easily be discussed and brainstormed without disturbing others.
- If you have employees involved in phone negotiations, research study, and other tasks that require more quiet concentration, you may need private offices where more independent work and private discussions can take place.
Do you need meeting or conference space?
- How often do you have staff meetings?
- How often and how many clients will come to your office?
If clients will visiting your office, you'll also need to think about:
- Décor and projecting the right image
- Convenient parking
- Break room/ hospitality area
- Do you need to be in a specific area for your business to thrive?
- Do you need a prestigious address?
Should you buy or lease? There are benefits and drawbacks to both options.
- Fixed costs. Locking in your commercial mortgage long-term can give your business clear, fixed costs. You won't be dealing with rent increase.
- Tax deductions. Interest on the mortgage loan is tax deductible and you can take annual depreciation deductions.
- Extra income. You may be able to lease out a portion of the building if you determine that you have excess space.
- Control. If you need to make substantial changes to the building to accommodate your business, those changes are owned by you and not your landlord. You can make any changes you want to the property. The hours of your business can be whatever you want them to be. You are free to stay in the same location as long as you wish.
- Future Sale. You'll benefit financially if the real estate market is good when you sell.
- Up front costs. Buying commercial space will initially cost far more up front. There are property, appraisal and maintenance costs along with a large down payment and possible property improvement costs.
- Lack of flexibility. You may outgrow your space and be forced to sell.
- Prime Property. A leasing office space option provides a business with the chance to rent in an area with a good location and high image. If your small business is dependent on location and image, such as retail or restaurants, the leasing option is much more affordable.
- Free-up Working Capital. With your money not tied up in real estate your business can respond to opportunities in the market. In addition, your ability to borrow funds will not be as limited as with buying office space.
- Easier to qualify. Your credit rating will not be quite as critical for leasing as it would be for buying. This may be a big concern for start-ups and small businesses.
- Tax deductions. Your monthly lease payment is tax deductible because it's a business expense.
- Freedom. You'll be able to sublet and move to another location if you need or want to, with no hassle of selling before you can move, and no loss from owning a building in a bad real estate market.
- More time and money. You'll be free from the headaches and cost of maintaining your own building and have more time to focus on running your business.
- Variable Costs. You may be subject to annual rent increases and higher costs at the time when your lease expires.
- Non-renewal. Your landlord may decide not to renew your lease when it expires.
- No Equity. While leasing you will be funding someone else's retirement with your lease payments.
- Lack of Control. You may not be able to make space modifications that you would like, and although you won't have the headache of maintaining your property, you'll have the headache of dealing with the person who does.
If you decide to lease, you have more options than in years past.
Executive Suites. Also called business centers and serviced offices, executive suites may be just what you're looking for. Executive suites are essentially shared offices with services provided by a management firm. They are designed with smaller businesses in mind. They offer business owners the use of furnished office space, equipment and staff on an as-needed basis. Executive suites offer the use of reception areas and conference rooms; experienced data entry, graphics presentation and word-processing staff; and faxing and copying services. The center's receptionist answers the telephone using your business's name, and you can use the center as your mailing address. Lease terms are flexible - whether you need office space for six hours or six months, most centers can accommodate you, and all for as little as a couple hundred dollars a month.
These Are Typically Included in Your Monthly Cost *
There is Typically an Additional Charge for the Following *
- Broadband Connectivity
- Secretarial Packages
- Translation Services
- Meeting Rooms - Conference Room
- Audio Visual & Presentation
* Be sure to get specifics from the manager
Benefits of Executive Suites
- Instant occupancy - Move in within hours of viewing. No legal delays or lengthy landlord negotiations.
- Lease Flexibility - Rent for as little as a day or as long as three years
- No capital outlay for build out, infrastructure, interior design or furniture
- Access to extensive facilities without investment in additional space (e.g. break room, conference facilities)
- The time and cost associated with hiring and managing secretarial and administrative support staff is avoided
- Access to state-of-the-art office equipment
- Expand or Downsize your space requirements as needed
- Simplified Billing - one invoice for rent, telecommunications etc.
- Pay for what you use
Virtual Offices. A virtual office offers many of the services of the executive suite environment, without the full time office. Virtual office space is a great alternative if you are a small business who does not need the use of dedicated full time office space, but who still wants to create a professional business identity. Virtual offices are also ideal if you would prefer to work at home, yet have a business identity at a prestigious business address. A virtual office program will generally include the following:
- Phone reception
- Mail box and incoming mail handling/forwarding
- Use of a day office as needed on a rental basis
- Guest reception during normal business hours
- Conference/meeting room use
- Directory listing
- Access to administrative support
- Access to business equipment
Before Entering into any Lease Agreement, Follow these Tips from Entrepreneur.com
- Evaluate your space needs. Do you plan to grow your office? Your lease term will likely be for many years, so plan accordingly.
- View a lot of properties. Make sure you're comfortable with the price of comparable spaces before making your final decision.
- Ask for concessions from the landlord. Depending on the strength of the market, you can ask for things like a few months of free rent or a "tenant improvement allowance," which is basically dollars you agree to put into the space.
- Look for hidden expenses in the agreement. Charges above your fixed or base rent, like operating expenses, can surprise novices. They may not be in the term sheet, so ask specifically for this information.
- Don't choose space based solely on the landlord. "There's nothing in the lease that would prevent the landlord from selling to someone else the next day," says Kaplan. "There's a false element of trust."
Executive Suites / Business Centers / Virtual Offices
Offices.org / Offices4Lease.com
Provides a directory of executive suites/business centers across the country.
CityFeet is an online commercial real estate network, connecting tenants and investors with property owners, agents, and other real estate professionals. Cityfeet specializes in office space, retail space, executive suites, and industrial property.
Alliance Business Centers
A leading provider of executive suites, virtual offices, and fully serviced office space with over 600 locations in 36 countries.
Search extensive database of services offices (executive suites) and get information and advice about office space.
A leading Office Service Provider (OSP) employing advanced technology to provide Office on Demand(sm), virtual office, unified communications, video & Web conferencing, serviced office suites and other office services.
Provides free, detailed information for office space, executive suites, office business centers, and virtual offices worldwide.
A leading provider of shared office space solutions and business support services, HQ Global Workplaces is revolutionizing the way people work by providing a flexible and cost-effective alternative to traditional office leasing for Fortune 100 corporations, small- to mid-size companies and independent entrepreneurs.
With 750 locations across 350 cities in 60 countries, Regus Group business centers are strategically located in world capitals, prestigious business hubs and emerging markets. The Regus Group enables companies of all sizes from emerging growth companies to Fortune 500 corporations, to conduct business when and where they need to, with just one phone call or mouse click.
Offers virtual office and virtual receptionist services in a number of cities across the U.S.
Search Office Space America
Searching for Executive Suites, office space rentals, temporary or shared accommodation to lease, to rent or a business center - or virtual office, meeting/conference rooms
Star Office Space
A leading Web site for office space for rent. Browse a selection of office suites and executive office rentals.
Search online for executive suites around the country.
Offers a comprehensive resource for those companies both big and small that are interested in utilizing the type of top-notch professional services, and well appointed furnished offices that are commonly provided by Business Centers throughout the country.
A web based referral and information network of highly qualified office space leasing and sales professionals in more than 400 markets.
Resource for searching, comparing and acquiring full-time, meeting rooms, virtual offices or workstations. Enter your specific requirements, then Worktopia searches its database of inventory in your market and displays matching solutions for you to review and select for live quotes.
Premier Business Centers
Founded in 2002, Premier Business Centers is one of the leading national operators of executive office centers in the United States.
Offices 2 Share
Provides a nationwide "match-making" service that focuses exclusively on short-term, Ready-To-Use office space (executive suites, shared/sublet office space, as well as pre-built office space).
Office Suites Plus
Offers 22 high quality facilities throughout seven states in the Southeast and Midwest.
Information and Advice on Office Space for Lease or Sale
Covering more than 33 billion square feet of commercial property, including over 5 billion square feet of researched commercial space for lease, CoStar offers a suite of services and products tailored to the national and local needs of the commercial real estate industry.
Researches, compiles, and publishes basic building information (size, year built, number of floors, address and leasing company) and detailed information regarding specific spaces available (floor, size, asking rate, and comments) on all major buildings in seven metro areas (Cincinnati, OH, Columbus, OH, Denver, CO, Minneapolis, MN, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, and Spokane, WA)
Search for office space for free in 11 major commercial real estate markets including Manhattan, New York City, New Jersey, Westchester, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Boston, Delaware and Cleveland.
A leading information services provider that offers a suite of products and services tailored to the national and local needs of the commercial real estate industry and operates the largest commercial real estate listing service online with more than 360,000 commercial property for lease and sale listings, including $300 billion of property listed for sale, 2.8 billion square feet of space for lease and 3 million acres of land for sale.