office savings http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12054/all en-US Coworking Spaces: The Office Alternative http://www.wisebread.com/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5869798689_f7a9cbb984.jpg" alt="People in a coworking facility" title="People in a coworking facility" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Telecommuting is becoming an increasingly popular approach to working these days, and starting your own business is as popular as ever. Both options mean that you need a place to work of your own, though, because an employer won&rsquo;t be providing it.</p> <p>A home office may be an easy option, but there are a lot of downsides to working in the same environment your kids are playing in or your chores need to be done in. The main alternative &mdash; renting office space &mdash; can be an expensive proposition, especially if you&rsquo;re just starting out. A new trend may offer a much easier option, though &mdash; coworking. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/setting-up-a-home-office-on-the-cheap">Setting Up a Home Office on the Cheap</a>)</p> <h3>A Brief History of Coworking</h3> <p>Coworking spaces are shared offices. Usually one person or a small organization rents a larger office space and then makes parts of it available to other individuals. The trend started in San Francisco in 2005 with the Hat Factory, a place where three people lived, and, during the day, made the space available to others to work in. The concept gained traction and has spread like wildfire. Most major cities have at least one coworking space these days, and there are an estimated 700 locations in the U.S. alone. The <a href="http://wiki.coworking.info/w/page/29303049/Directory">Coworking Directory</a> serves as the best resource for checking into what&rsquo;s available near you.</p> <p>Coworking spaces are meant to provide an improvement over working in a coffee shop (you don&rsquo;t have to keep buying an ever increasing number of cups of coffee) or at home (you can reduce the overlap between work time and your personal life). The movement, as a whole, also provides an organic approach to office space. No one needs a license or a franchise to open a coworking space. That&rsquo;s how they can pop up all over, and why each one is very different from the next.</p> <h3>How to Get the Most Out of Coworking</h3> <p>Just about any coworking space offers you a place to plunk down with your laptop and work, completely tuning out everyone else. Most of us need that sometimes &mdash; when we&rsquo;re on deadline, paying for the privilege of quiet workspace makes sense. But the rest of the time, there are a lot of other benefits you can get from a coworking space.</p> <p>Most coworking spaces operate on the assumption that if a bunch of people are going to work in the same area, they might as well form a community. Many spaces host events, but even those that don&rsquo;t offer plenty of informal opportunities to sit down and talk with other people in the space. Depending on your own background, this can be an easy way to find new clients, a freelancer to help you with a project, or even a team member for a new company. The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-friends-and-be-happy-why-cultivating-relationships-is-good-for-you">human interaction</a> can be one of the biggest benefits of a coworking space, especially for those of us who are used to sitting home alone to work.</p> <h3>Understanding the Amenities and Prices</h3> <p>Most coworking spaces make a point of posting both their amenities and prices on their websites. If you&rsquo;re lucky enough to be in an area with multiple spaces, this information can help you decide where you should work, but it&rsquo;s also important to understand what you&rsquo;re getting.</p> <p>You may be able to choose between a variety of different plans, from a one-day drop in option to monthly plans giving you full-time access and your own key. You may have access to a range of amenities:</p> <ul> <li>A key allowing you access anytime you want</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-drink-coffee">Coffee</a> and other beverages</li> <li>Storage spaces</li> <li>Reduced costs for events</li> <li>Membership discounts for other businesses</li> <li>Access to printers, fax machines, and other office equipment</li> </ul> <p>Every coworking space is different, so if there&rsquo;s a feature you really need, it&rsquo;s important to ask about it. If an amenity isn&rsquo;t available, your request may prompt the space organizer to look into it.</p> <p>Prices are mostly influenced by location &mdash; the simple fact that office space in New York City is more expensive than in Austin means that you&rsquo;ll pay more to join a coworking space in New York. I&rsquo;ve usually paid around $25 per day for dropping in at spaces in California, Oklahoma, and along the East Coast. Monthly memberships are often tiered to allow for different levels of access. In my experience, full-time access starts around $200 and goes up from there, based on location and features.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-being-an-entrepreneur-isnt-sexy">When Being an Entrepreneur Isn&#039;t Sexy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million">How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship coworking space freelancing office savings small business Fri, 06 Apr 2012 09:48:16 +0000 Thursday Bram 915082 at http://www.wisebread.com Sharing Space to Save Money http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/sharing-space-to-save-money <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/sharing-space-to-save-money-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/sharing-space-to-save-mon...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/sharing-space-to-save-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000013083938XSmall.jpg" alt="Woman peering over partition" title="Woman peering over partition" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="190" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you operate a small business, the location you base your business at is likely to be your biggest expense, but you don't have to pay that cost by yourself. Depending on your business, it may make sense to share your space to cut costs. There are a variety of ways to do so, from simply splitting a space down the middle with another business to opening up a co-working space in a part of your office you're not using. But the starting point for sharing space is similar for all small businesses.</p> <h3>Figure Out What Space You Need</h3> <p>You have to ask yourself what sort of space you need and how it differs from the space you're currently using. If you're working in a home office or a space that your business has simply out-grown, you may be looking for something bigger. If you've got a sizable space with more room than you actually need, your current space may simply need to be a bit smaller. If you have good projections on where your business is going in the next few years, take those into account. If you expect to grow and need more space, an office that is too big for you today may be just perfect in five years. Of course, you'll have a clear idea of the type of space you need (office, retail, warehouse, and so on), but keep in mind what you may need if you expand.</p> <p>If you're already in a space that is too big for you, sharing may just be a matter of partitioning off that space that you don't currently need and finding another business that is willing to pay you for it. You'll also want to think in terms of amenities, though: If there's a standard amenity (such as a telephone line) that you don't need but that most of the businesses you might share a space with require, take that into account, along with those features that you require in your office space.</p> <h3>Keep the Matter Legal</h3> <p>If you own the space your business uses, renting out a portion of it isn't likely to be a problem. However, if you're renting, you will need to make sure that your landlord is comfortable with you subletting a portion of the space. Depending on the landlord or property management company you're dealing with, you may need to have your sharing agreement approved. Essentially, you are asking to sublet part of the space you're renting, and not all landlords are fond of that idea.</p> <p>It's also generally a good idea to put a contract in place with the business or individual you'll be sharing space with. Assuming that you take a traditional approach (like subletting) to the process, you'll still ultimately be responsible for paying rent or a mortgage, making it a necessary step to protect your own business. The contract may be little more than a standard rental agreement, but it will make sharing a space that much easier.</p> <p>Be sure that you're as comfortable with the organization you're sharing space with as possible &mdash; after all, members of that company's staff will likely have access to your equipment and files unless you partition your office in such a way that they aren't able to leave their section. Many sharing arrangements will put you in the position of a landlord as well, making it important that whoever you're sharing space with will be around in a month to pay his rent. It's worthwhile to talk to your network to make sure that the organization you're working with has a good reputation &mdash; in fact, it's probably best to avoid sharing space with a business that no one in your network can vouch for.</p> <h3>Go Beyond Simply Sharing Space</h3> <p>When you're considering the expenses you can cut by sharing space, it's worth considering more than rent. You may not be able to share a phone line &mdash; in fact, you may need to put a second line in &mdash; but you can split costs like internet access and cleaning very easily. If you're comfortable with the owner of the organization you're sharing space with, you may also be able to bring down other costs. For instance, you may be able to go in together when ordering office supplies, making it easier to get a bulk rate.</p> <p>Take a look at where your needs overlap, as well as where you use different vendors. Something as simple as combining orders to a vendor may make both of your businesses able to negotiate a better rate.</p> <h3>Subletting and Other Options</h3> <p>Subletting a portion of your space is not the only option available when you are ready to share space with other organizations. There are as many options as there are business you can partner with. One alternative might be creating a co-working space: Rather than subletting the space you might normally hand off to another business, you could set up a couple of desks in that area and invite local businesses to make use of the space on an as-needed basis. You can charge a daily or monthly rate that allows freelancers and business owners just starting out to come in and use the space when they need it. Another alternative might be bartering with a contractor you work with. A small business that is looking for its first space might be willing to trade services you need for a workspace. It's important to talk to your network to find what you can offer and what you can get.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/sharing-space-to-save-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/coworking-spaces-the-office-alternative">Coworking Spaces: The Office Alternative</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-the-hump-and-sold-my-blog-for-3-million">How I Got Over the Hump and Sold My Blog for $3 Million</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center office savings renting small business subletting Mon, 13 Dec 2010 16:31:15 +0000 Thursday Bram 351452 at http://www.wisebread.com