Flex Space Might Be The Answer For the New Company

Sure, you can get some work done here, it's quiet, and it's free, but probably not a good place to pitch a prospective client.

Sure, you can get some work done here, it’s quiet, and it’s free, but probably not a good place to pitch a prospective client.

When someone starts a small company, they’re generally operating on a shoestring budget at first. Their office is their home office in the spare bedroom. Or, sometimes the kitchen table. Or, the library. Or, sometimes it’s not even that Starbucks logogrand; it’s one of the tables at Starbucks where you buy just enough coffee so they won’t ask you to leave while you’re using their free Wi-Fi and getting some work done.

For small start-ups like this, shared space or flex space might be the answer for the new company. There are plenty of places where you can pay a flat amount per month, and get both a work space and meeting and conference rooms that you can reserve for client meetings. This gives you a place to work, but, most importantly, it gives you a professional office to meet clients, or, to present to prospective clients.

The first question, of course, is always, “Can I afford it”? The answer is, “Probably”. It’s not as expensive as you might think.

Typically, the first level of services costs around $250 per month, and would include:

  • Part time access (approximately 2 or 3 days per week)
  • 8am-5pm access to a coworking area
  • 9am-6pm access to an additional coworking area
  • Conference room reservations
  • Use of Device Lab & Recording Studio
  • Shared postal mailbox

“Coworking” means you get a space in an open office environment and get use of the facility’s wireless broadband. Facilities are generally located in an urban area or in an office park, so there’s someplace you can walk to easily enough for lunch, dinner, etc.

The next level up might be all of the above, except you get 24-hr access, and it costs $350 per month.

The next level might be something like this, and cost $500 per month:

  • 24/7 keycard access
  • Quiet offices with real walls and exterior windows with sunlight
  • Conference room reservations in any conference room
  • Use of large seminar room
  • Use of Device Lab & Recording Studio
  • Private postal mailbox

And the last level might be all of the above, plus nice office furniture in those offices, at $750 per month.

Obviously, most start-ups will only be able to afford that bottom tier, which is pretty reasonably priced for what you get. But, but, but – the other thing of value you get with leasing a space like this is that you are shoulder-to-shoulder with other entrepreneurs that are engaged in all sorts of start-up activity. The work atmosphere is high-energy and collaborative, and you can make some great contacts for work you might need done on behalf of your business later. And, of course, someone there might need some of whatever it is that your company does. Or, someone they might know.

One more thing – many cities, large and small, have their own “incubator” office facilities for start-ups that are either free or very low-cost, because the city is picking up the tab. Demand is high for these spaces, as you might imagine, but it’s definitely worth checking out, and if there’s a list, it’s definitely worth getting on the waiting list.

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