Many entrepreneurs decide to get some office space, whether to show credibility to clients, or to just get out of the house. There a number of factors to consider when finding a space. Below TechRound has put together the ten questions we think you should ask when thinking of joining a space.
Where is the Co-Working Space Located?
Location is important. Factors to consider are the distance from your home and distance from clients. When deciding on a location you could look at where your clients are – do you need to be onsite with them lots, or do you mostly work virtually? If you work virtually you can be located anywhere and might want to find somewhere close to home. However, if you know that your clients want you to come by at different times during the day, you might want to be close to them.
How Much Will the Space Cost Per Month?
Most co-working spaces have different types of plans available. Anywhere from 10-day hot-desking (where you sit find any desk that is available and work there) to full offices for up to 50 staff. When you are first starting out it might be worth getting a hot-desking package both to save money, and see whether you like the area. You can normally upgrade to a fixed desk office as you grow.
What is the Community Like and What do my Fellow Members Do?
Huckletree (where I am a member) is very community focussed. The staff make a huge effort to know your names, connect you with likeminded people, and make you feel at home (see why co-working saved my sanity). They only have two locations in London (Shoreditch and White City) and one in Dublin. At the other end of the spectrum is WeWork who have beautiful offices in prime locations, but you’re less likely to know everyone in the building. There are also specialist spaces who will only let companies in who fit their specific criteria.
What Kind of Support Does the Space Provide?
Will they connect you with other members, point you in the right direction of a local printer or help you find new staff? In some spaces there are communication platforms (like Slack) that keep everyone connected with news, jobs and general banter. Ask what they use and what support is provided. Also, ask if you can use the space to launch new products and offerings to the world and use their meeting rooms. Every reduction in cost helps when starting up.
Does the Co-Working Space Have an Incubation Programme?
As you grow you might want to join an incubator. Ask whether they have an incubator, and if so, what types of business they are looking to target. It might not be something you are looking to do right now, but it could be interesting to be surrounded by businesses in the incubator, and then be able to apply when the time is right.
Do you Host Member Events?
What kind of events do they put on for their members? Look out for experts in the space coming in to present, company launches and panels on the latest business trends. Your office should be a resource for you and being able to take advantage of what events are put on is a key benefit of joining.
Does the co-working space provide back-office support?
Will they answer phones for you or allow you to use their address as your business address? These expenses add up so if it is included in the price you are already paying that is helpful.
What Else is Included in the Price?
Most good co-working spaces include tea and coffee, however, the quality does vary. Some high-end spaces offer free beer on tap (which might be counter-productive to getting work done). Some do members drinks on a Thursday evening. Determine what you would like, and then see if they provide it.
How Long Do I Need to Commit to the Space?
A key benefit of a co-working space is the short and flexible contract length, so if you need to leave, or expand, they are flexible to accommodate. If you’re asked to sign a 1-year contract I would be very wary and ask why.
Can I Expand Office Space as my Company Grows?
As you grow (if you want to) the co-working space should be able to provide more desks and even your own offices. You might be a one-person band right now but next year you might want to bring on your first member of staff, or a whole team. Will you be able to stay in the same location and grow, or will you need to move?
Have a look at our list of incubators and co-working spaces.