Moving from a home office to a rented space is a big decision. On the one hand, it's a sign your business is growing and changing. On the other, it means additional overhead and risk.
Here are some signs that it may be time to get your workplace out of the house, along with some considerations and options you might not have thought of.
Why move your business out of your home?
Home offices are great because they're cheap, you don't have to commute and you may be able to deduct a portion of your home expenses on your taxes. But sometimes a home office isn't the best choice for your business. Here are some common issues:
- Not enough space. If your inventory takes up the whole dining room and your employees are crowded onto your couch, you may have outgrown your home workspace.
- Distractions. Kids, pets, roommates, spouses and even last night's dishes can lure you away from work.
- Isolation. Working from home can be lonely. A rented workplace can provide some much-needed human contact and connect you with other entrepreneurs.
- Struggling to build a company image. The right workspace can help you build a brand and attract customers, clients and investors. Your basement apartment? Not so much.
Moving your home business to a rented space can help you and your business be more productive, and it can also prepare your business for growth in the near future.
Factors to consider
Whatever your reasons, moving your business out of the house is a major step in the life of your business, and the decision merits serious thought. Here are a few factors to consider:
- Cost. The last thing you need is a beautiful space you can't afford. Calculate what you can spend on your new workspace, including buildout costs, utilities, furnishings, parking, and commuting expenses.
- Size. Decide how much square footage you need, taking into account the number of employees and amount of equipment and inventory you'll be housing. Also consider your growth projections. The idea is to find a space that won't feel too big now but that you won't outgrow before your lease term ends.
- Location. A lot goes into choosing a location. You may want to be in a vibrant part of town or need foot traffic. You may prefer to be close to similar businesses, or far away from competitors. Commuting distance for yourself and your employees is a factor, as are parking and public transportation.
- Amenities. Different workplaces have different types of amenities, such as receptionists, conference rooms, private offices, specialized electrical or internet connections, a warehouse or a loading dock.
When looking for space, know your budget and the square footage you need. And have a list of the location factors and amenities that are most important to you.
Types of work spaces
Rented space in an office building, retail center, or industrial park is an obvious choice. But that's not the only way to go. Here are some options:
- A traditional rented space. This gives you a place that is truly your own. Leases are typically for at least three to five years, and you may be responsible for utilities, upkeep, and office staff. A traditional rented space may be a good pick for a stable business with at least several employees.
- A shared office. In this arrangement, your rented space comes with the people and equipment needed to make the office run. Typically, you'll share a receptionist/reception area, copiers, conference rooms, and break rooms with other businesses in the building. Lease terms are shorter than with a traditional commercial rental. This can be a good option for consultants, professionals, and small businesses with several employees.
- Co-working spaces. Membership in a co-working space allows you to work in a shared space or sometimes a dedicated office. Co-working spaces can foster collaboration and networking, but they can also be noisy and distracting. Co-working spaces are good for companies with one or a few employees and no inventory, and for people who feel isolated at home.
If you're considering a move out of your home office, congratulations. But before you take the plunge, spend some time analyzing your needs and your budget. Then you'll be on track to find a new space that will be just right for your business.
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