Thriving In Smaller Markets
"Location, location, location," is a popular saying for a reason. No matter what type of business you own, the physical location can and will affect its success. A strong location is just as important as the features your business offers, the employees, and how well you market it.
As the popularity of coworking spaces has increased, the location increasingly plays a role in the success of the space. Many coworking companies, such as WeWork, can now be found in cities and towns all over the country. This trend of working outside an office has led to prospective owners and investors to look for ways to create the next excellent coworking space as a way to draw new business and talent.
Building a Community
When opening a coworking space, it might be your first instinct to start thinking about the location of your coworking space. The first thing you should consider is developing a community of people who will be interested in working in a coworking space. If you go into it thinking that a community office space will draw people because it’s there, you will most likely be disappointed. Start by hosting a few events and creating groups on social media that will bring people together. From there you can start connecting with individuals and get a sense of the real demand for a coworking space in the area. After all, its the locals who will ultimately determine the initial success of the business.
Once you’ve identified the demand in a certain area you can start looking for the right building to house your coworking space. According to a 2017 GWA Coworking space member survey, most tenants had an average daily commute of 30 minutes to their coworking space and 20 minutes in the suburbs. This means you will want to choose a location that makes it convenient for your prospective tenants to get to work each day. Coworking is all about convenience, so having a space that might be in an “up and coming” part of a city, but is inconvenient to commute to, might be detrimental to your prospective customers.
Costs of Coworking
Once you’ve found a convenient location for your target customers, you can begin to take costs and budget into consideration. This will be crucial to deciding how much overhead you can take on and what kind of amenities you can afford for your coworking space. If you happen to settle on location in an old or underutilized building, you could perhaps use that to your advantage to work on a lower leasing rate. However, if you are using an older building, you might have to perform various renovations and upgrades to ensure that space is meeting the required legal standards. Coworking spaces have to comply with the Code of Construction and Housing (CCH), which sets the legal standard for accessibility access for people with disabilities or reduced access, the required number of bathrooms, the allocation of sufficient space for each workstation, and more.
If you bought property to start your coworking space, then you will have to consider additional costs such as building codes and city permits, all things that can quickly add up to other charges. Building codes will vary state by state, so you must do careful research beforehand to ensure the coworking space complies with all building and fire safety codes. Determining how much flexibility and control you want in your community working space will help determine what the best cost approach for you is.
How to start a coworking space? One common answer to this is making sure you have amenities and technology that your tenants and prospective clients will find attractive. Although it does not apply to everyone, many employees in coworking spaces are involved in tech or startup industries. It is crucial to them that they can use technology that is up to date and reliable for them to conduct their business, and equally as important for you as well. Additional amenities, like beer taps and film screening rooms, are additions to the coworking space that can lure new clients and tenants to your location. They can also help make the coworking space feel more like a community hangout and less like a professional environment.
The last bit of advice is to seek out other coworking space managers and talk with them about what they did and encountered along the way to establishing their coworking space location. Creating a community office space can be exciting and profitable, and following these tips can help make your decisions easier and transitions much smoother along the way.
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