How to Create a Coworking Space That's Ready to Scale
Mike McDougal, the founder of McDougal Coworking, shared his journey with us of converting a corporate headquarters to a successful coworking space that’s ready to scale.
After almost 30 years in the real estate business, Mike McDougal’s firm had outgrown its 10,000 square-foot headquarters building. They built a new 38,000 square-foot headquarters, combining four separate locations.
What could they do with the large old office space that was organized for a single tenant? At first, they found a couple of tenants to lease the entire space for a few years, but both ended up being short term. In the pursuit of a long-term solution they discovered coworking. The concept was completely unknown in their town of Lubbock, Texas—a city with about 252,000 people.
“We embarked on a journey to other markets—exploring these unique spaces that we saw emerging elsewhere. After initially (and unsuccessfully) chasing a few Executive Office Suite operators, we decided to open and create a local-branded coworking space.” McDougal Coworking opened in April 2017 in Lubbock, Texas. He "borrowed" ideas from many other operators that he met in larger markets, but ultimately customized the space to what he thought the market would accept.
Invest in a CRM That Integrates With Other Technology
McDougal discovered Kisi at the other coworking spaces he was exploring and installed it before his coworking space opened its doors.
“The app has transformed our space to a 24/7 operation with minimal staff. Just this morning I used the app to open the door for a member who arrived a bit earlier than normal,” McDougal says.
He has the Kisi app embedded into his membership software, Cobot. As members join they automatically are invited to download Kisi and are given preset permissions with no further intervention from the staff.
“This also allows us to rent our meeting spaces after hours using Kisi’s scheduling system. We simply reserve a meeting room, add it to our Google Calendar, and the doors open and lock based on the scheduled meeting.”
McDougal Coworking saves 10 times the monthly cost of the system just in reduced staff hours.
Through Kisi, individual spaces (i.e. the private offices) are leased at rates 60-70% higher (per square foot) than other office spaces in the market. After taking into account the common areas and additional overhead, our space nets a 25% premium over similar office buildings.
McDougal is now actively seeking two additional locations in Texas and he has already opened an international location, Sampa.works, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.