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  1. #1
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    Should we get Office Space? Pros and Cons

    Hi,

    We've been running our web design company full time now for about 2 months, although part-time before that for about 4 months and prior to that I've been doing the odd bit of freelancing for many years. It's been going really well and we have a steady stream of work and clients at the moment.

    There are 2 of us in the company, myself and my girlfriend. We work from our small flat which can be quite cramped and I sometimes don't see the light of day! However are these really good enough reasons to justify spending 500/month on office space!?

    The miser in me thinks that we should just stick it out here for a bit longer, go out for lunch more often (I live in a pretty cool part of town anyway with bars , pubs, cafes etc) then use the money to save up and get a bigger flat in a year or two, however another part of me thinks we should just spend money getting an office...

    Another idea is to re-locate our entire company lol to a nice wifi enabled coffee shop/pub for a day. 500 buys you a lot of beers ahem coffees I mean.

    Pros
    ----
    1. More space
    2. Exercise (getting to work every day)
    3. See people other than on a computer screen lol
    4. Possible room for expansion of the company - although we have no intention of doing this anyway...!

    Cons
    ----
    1. It costs 400/month + we'd have to get broadband + phone
    2. Responsibility of having equipment in another location
    3. Stress involved with arranging to rent out the other desks in the office - although this would bring the cost down a bit.

    I guess I'm not sure if it would really be worth it, we are thinking of perhaps having a weekend away at a 5* hotel once a month instead!

    I'm sure this is something people have considered, so I'd be interested to know your views... If you aren't planning on expanding your business and are happy just providing a high quality web development service to your clients do you really need expensive offices!?

  2. #2
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    None of the pros that you listed will directly and measurably increase your bottom line, but the cons included 400/month of cost.

    Unless the purpose of your business is to get exercise and have space, I don't really see why you could consider expanding. If you are going to invest that money in an office, you should have some quantifiable return on that investment otherwise you are running a hobby, not a business!
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

    SAGEWING LLC - QUALITY WEB AND MOBILE APPS. PREMIUM OUTSOURCING SERVICES.
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  3. #3
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    Yep my thoughts exactly... Unless it's adding to the bottom line what's the point... Although I guess our general well being and happiness does add to the bottom line in the long run...

  4. #4
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    I would look at it the other way: the bottom line should contribute to your well being and happiness.

    Your business should exists solely to satisfy your personal needs and objectives, and in the majority of situations this means that the company will simply generate a maximum or profit with the minimum amount of your time.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

    SAGEWING LLC - QUALITY WEB AND MOBILE APPS. PREMIUM OUTSOURCING SERVICES.
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  5. #5
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    The smaller you can keep your overhead the better.
    There are three kinds of men:
    The ones that learn by reading.
    The few who learn by observation.
    The rest of us have to pee on the electric fence.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    I agree with keeping overheads low, but moving to an office worked out for me. Here's the pros for me:

    1. Separate work from home. (I live in a small apartment so I don't have a room to designate as the office. If I work from home I usually end up working late into the night and sleeping in the morning)

    2. The commute recharges the brain. Staying at home all day made me go crazy.

    3. I share the office with a friend in a related industry, so there is company, and also referrals from time to time.

    4. Client's seemed to take me more seriously after I started working from an office. Working from home they seem to have the idea that I can close shop and disappear anytime.

    5. Having an office (I was fortunate enough to get a place downtown) means I am among other businesses, so there is visibility.

    Cons:
    1. The rent
    2. Most of the cheaper offices come with just four concrete walls and no windows. This is probably a designer's worst nightmare. I would recommend a place with plenty of sunlight.
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot Roar's Avatar
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    Here is another insight for you: you're the one who knows the potential in your business more than anyone else.

    If getting an office means increased productivity, a higher level of prominence in the eyes of your clients, and the immediate potential to gain new sales then what reason do you have to stay at home?

    Conversley, if you aren't confident in your ability to sustain with the increased overhead maybe it is time to consider a change in strategy or a new business altogether.


    Ready, fire, aim.



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  8. #8
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    Office entrepreneurs want to work at home or from a coffee shop. People who have worked at home for years want to work in an office. I think the point is, people want to separate where they are working from where he/she lives. Everyone needs social exposure. Instead of shelling out 500 pounds (1k US), just set aside times to get out of the flat.

    Personally a virtual is my dream, but I could not work from home. If I could work anywhere in the world from a laptop I would make the coffee shop my office or outside on a park bench.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AttorneyMarketer View Post
    Personally a virtual is my dream, but I could not work from home. If I could work anywhere in the world from a laptop I would make the coffee shop my office or outside on a park bench.
    I tried the working from coffee-shop thing, but realized i still preferred my keyboard and huge monitor. Tried working from the park bench too, but not as convenient as it sounds. Park benches are better for reading books.
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
    Singapore Web Designer

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the feedback, certainly interesting to read a range of views.

    I've talked it over with a few people and while I am confident that we can cope with the higher overheads, I think the money would be better spent elsewhere, or saved entirely. 500/month equates to 18k over 3 years! Which is a lot of money saved. Although as an alternative I think I'll continue with the coffee shop working once or twice a week to mix things up a bit. We're quite happy working from home really for now. It's not a long term solution, but for now it helps keep us flexible, which I think at the moment is a good situation to be in.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Addict BlazeMiskulin's Avatar
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    Rather than getting a full office, are there any places around you that will rent out a room?

    I don't know what it's like in your area, but in the town where I live, there are a number of business owners who have more office rooms than they actually use. They rent out the extras to people who just need a room with power and internet. The renter gets cheap space (without all the extra costs that go with an office) and the building owner gets a little money from unused space.

    Some places also have "co-op" offices; basically a generic office/business environment where people can rent a cubicle or a room and the general areas and utilities (and associated overhead) are shared by everyone.

    Both of these options are cheaper than getting a full office space on your own.
    M Blaze Miskulin
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  12. #12
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    That's basically what we're talking about actually.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard
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    One of the other perks of having an office is that you can invite clients over for meetings and such.

    However, getting a bigger flat, and kind of setting up the front area as a reception area with nice furniture could serve the same purpose, if you are in a sort of downtown area (this kind of idea wouldn't really work if you were located in the suburbs).

  14. #14
    SitePoint Evangelist superuser2's Avatar
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    Have you considered Coworking?

  15. #15
    You Bet Your Life...Really lerxtjr's Avatar
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    When one of my clients showed up drunk at my home at 3am, pounding on the door (waking up our 2-year-old that we fiiiiinally got to sleep!), wanting to drop off some photos for me to scan in for his website, it was time to get an office.

    My paying $800/mo after being home based for 10 years was a great choice. I think if you want to just make money online promoting affiliate programs or your own products, that's fine, keep the home office and be what I call a "stealth marketer."

    But, if you want to service clients where face-to-face interaction is required, an office with a conference room and a receptionist, photo copy machine, cleaning service at night, maybe a snack shop down the hall, really positions you as a serious long-term business partner...and it's probably safer for you and your family too.

    And, you don't have to have your "own" office to get all that. Look for "shared" offices where some guy buys a floor in an office building and breaks up the floor into enclosed offices. The receptionist at the front desk is shared by all along with the kitchen, conference rooms, Internet access, all of that. Shared offices are becoming very popular. Probably doesn't make sense to get a shared office if you need more than two office rooms, but for one or two, it's hard to beat. If you can't find one on your own, attend a few networking events and ask around.

  16. #16
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    Yes to office. Home is just boring for me... I usually end up being unproductive when I'm home but if you can manage to focus even if you're at home then it's good for you. Save up the dollars for a vacation instead

  17. #17
    Web Host fcolor's Avatar
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    If you aren't big enough, don't spend on office space. Of course you will need an office if you have to meet customers there. If not don't bother yourselves. Save some money now to open a nice office in the future, when the business grow further.
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  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard Lil_Red's Avatar
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    Years ago, we talked about getting a formal office but decided against it. We prefer keeping the overhead low because all businesses will have their ups and downs.

    On the occasions, we have face to face meetings with clients, we arrange to do it over lunch. Clients like it and it gets us out of the "office".

  19. #19
    SitePoint Addict telos's Avatar
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    I have worked from home, then from offices, then from home, then from offices, etc. etc. - now I am back home, and I am determined never to work in an office again.

    I've wasted so much time, effort and money commuting, scheduling, renting - it's just not worth it for me. Being home allows me to be more flexible and use time more wisely.

    However, you MUST be able to know when to quit for the day and set work aside - otherwise it will be always hang over you.

    For some reason, I am much more creative, energized and enthusiastic working from home. Perhaps it's the comfort. But, remember to get out side, take some walks, ride a bike, go have lunch - you can't spend every moment inside.

  20. #20
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    I found that working from home I was slowly going potty and productivity, even though I was busy, was heading downwards.

    I realised I could go a whole week without seeing anyone else.

    Moving to offices just a 30min commute away meant we got to have meetings, learn about other businesses we could work with that were in the area, and so on. We did make a very determined effort to go into an area full of creative types and I think it's paid off.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Member Genexbs's Avatar
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    My Suggestion

    Genex Business Solutions is a 24*7 web development and support company in Pakistan. We think you must plan your business properly. You should make a chart of how much work you want to do in next 6 months or year. Then you must realize how many resources you need if you need to grow. If you do not need to grow then you should keep living the way you are and you will enjoy more.

    For example our company wants to do more work in future, and plans to increase staff, so we can need to keep commercial work place, which is more accessible to workers, as well as equipped with better facilities.

    It all depends upon your business plan, and where do you want to reach in the next year.

    Best wishes,
    Genexbs.com Team

  22. #22
    Trash Boat mkoenig's Avatar
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    Thats a really tuff question. What about working from someones house and then using that house payment as a tax deduction?

    You could set up ping pong tables and couches to help stimulate your production?

    Thats a tuff one.

  23. #23
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    This really doesn't have anything to do with this particluar situation, but many of the dot com "companies" went out of business partially due to buying things they didn't need. Office, expensive furniture, new computers...in addition to hiring a big staff.

    No, brother, you don't need an office.

    Convert one of your rooms into an office, give it that atmosphere, and get to work! :-)

  24. #24
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    I have been working at home for the past one year and i am enjoying every moment. The problem though is unexpected visitors who want to visit you whe you are busy. what I do is to tell them to come back when I am less busy politely

  25. #25
    SitePoint Addict bwdow's Avatar
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    Office is better then home. But if you are planning to win more money you should stay home and keep working.


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