Paul Slinn, founder of Flexioffices, a provider of virtual and serviced office spaces, has a few useful tips about what to do when you are setting up your own company. Quite a few household names have started in their founders’ garages: Apple, Amazon, Google, HP, Disney and many more have all been there.
What are serviced offices and how do they work?
Serviced offices are simply flexible office spaces where you pay a monthly cost fully inclusive of your outgoings with additional services included or available on a pay-as-you-go basis. Typically the costs will include rent rates, service charge, heat, lighting, cleaning, office furniture, shared kitchen and reception facilities. Internet and telephone will be provided but charged separately, as will the use of meeting rooms.
Who uses them?
All types of companies use serviced offices – start-ups, small to medium-sized companies and multi-nationals. Flexioffices has helped more than 1,000 clients find office space including Spotify, British Airways, BBC, Transport for London, Disney, IBM, HP, Pizza Express, DreamWorks, Adecco, various government departments, major UK charities, to name just a few.
What are the benefits of serviced offices for start-ups and small companies?
- flexibility of the agreements
- allowing short-term space to be taken quickly
- if your business grows or shrinks, you are able to move between spaces
- all your furniture, telephone lines and infrastructure are provided, together with reception facilities, meeting rooms and call answering
A benefit of being in a business incubator centre, apart from subsidised low rental costs, is the social capital – knowledge transfer and collaborating with other entrepreneurs. Business incubators have an average success rate of 98 per cent of companies succeeding while in the business incubator and 87 per cent surviving after five years according to UKBI, a professional association for start-ups. These are very impressive figures if you compare them to a national average success rate of less than 30 per cent of all small and medium-sized companies registered.
Things to consider before setting up space?
- What is the right location for your office? – do you want to be close to home, close to your clients or near a pool of skilled labour?
- How much space do you need? – Serviced space is usually price per workstation i.e. number of users. So you should only need to take a space big enough for your current workforce. Some providers however will allow an additional desk to be added to an office for no or little extra cost.
If your company grows you can simply move to a larger office in the building with little inconvenience as you will keep the same address and telephone number. Serviced offices have a short and simple licence agreement when compared to a standard lease. It is usually a small two paged document but with small print. Make sure you read this carefully and if you are unsure of any points query them.
Tips on how to get started:
- Companies generally start with a location they want, be this city centre, close to transport.
- Once you have a focus for your search see what’s available in the market. Always view more than one option and ask for quotes.
- If you are shortlisting – ask to speak to existing occupiers – that’s the best way to get impartial advice.
- Ask about the frequency of cleaning and check all the facilities.
- Check the small print of the agreement.
Flexioffices database of office space includes thousands of properties which and can be searched online by postcode, street, town, stations, airports, and countries. They can set up viewings and send quotations.
Further reading on office and homeworking
- London’s ten most iconic office spaces
- Five fun and clever office ideas to inspire your small business