We're tired of the Regus game (we have a virtual office, which allows us to pay for conference room use when we're meeting with clients or just meeting in general). The majority of us work at client sites 100%. We do have one employee that is not at client sites and he works from home. He's junior though so we have to work with him and that means he comes to another client's office to meet with us or we Starbucks it.
It also seems like an office is a sign of legitimacy with prospective clients ("So how many employees do you have?", "Where's your office?" are questions we've been asked multiple times).
We've looked at space and it seems that even though there is vacancy everywhere, noone is dealing, there's collusion, price fixing, etc.
Class B space is cheap and plentiful, but, since it's class B, has it's drawbacks (curb appeal, finish out isn't nearly as nice, etc.). However class A space in reasonably convenient locations is roughly double the cost of class B.
Executive suites cost almost the same as class B space for a fraction of the space (and you still get nickel and dimed for meeting space, internet, etc.). $700 for a 190sf space vs. $1000 for a 1200sf space.
We're afraid of a couple things:
- getting locked into a 3 year lease on a space that we'll either outgrow (in the case of a nicer, smaller class A) or be dissatisfied (in the case of a cheaper, larger class B)
- getting locked into a lease on a space that will just sit there wildly underutilized as we're remote at clients most of the time
My instinct is to suck it up and get a short term executive suite to see how much we really use a "real" office and use that metric to determine how important a "nice" vs. "large" office really is.
The worst part about this is that it's become an incredible time suck, taking our focus away from the important things (ie. making clients love us and getting new clients).
Edit: We ended up with a sublease that we found on Showcase. It was more than we wanted to spend, but when we looked at it long term, it was a better decision. Also it was furnished and we're getting the lease for about $1000/month less than the tenant was paying (they got bought, transferred out of state). Hopefully we move in next week.
We had the same problem, an empty building but they refused to blink on price. Their problem is that as soon as they lower their price it is impossible to get it back up again. If you are on a budget you could try looking craigslist. Plenty of people are trying to sublet part of their office. When a client visits just change the sign on the door. We have sublet some offices to other startup companies, every bit of cash helps.
First of all, you dont find professional office on Craiglist. Try searching Loopnet. 2nd, you should be working with a Broker. As a tennant, its free for you. A broker will have access to bigger databases (mls commercial) called COstar. you can try to search costar by going to showcase.com but a broker will have full access.
Office classifications are not jusfitied.
Class is is just class a because someone labeled it that.
There used to be an understanding that class a was anything 15 years or newer.
Some brokers use that rule, but then 30 rock would not be considered class a, (which it is).
So, find a space that works for you.
It is a renters market.
Sometimes the reason you get a NO is because the listing broker knows he will not get a commission, your broker will have relationships and know what landlords are Hungry, flexible and offering breaks.
Dont go for the REGUS E SUITE! They are a complete rip off when you do the math.
If you want market rates, you can go to NAIGlobal.com (click on the research tab)
They will tell you what each market yields locally and internationally.
If you are searching for international office space, then the rules are quite different. I strongly recommend giving the folks at AsiaPac international a call. Their website is asiapacintl.com. Their CEO is very hands on, has a great team worldwide, and will give you insight to politics, and markets you cannot get from a broker alone.
Best of luck.
I agree with answer #1- plenty of companies are eager to sublet 1 office room on their floor, with shared rights to use copiers/fax/kitchen/conference rooms, etc.
We found a sublease using showcase.com (right place, right time). We ended up with smaller, class A space since, for us, having a professional appearance was important.