Serviced offices are as attractive to small businesses as they are to established corporates looking for extra space or satellite offices.For small businesses, serviced offices can be a great solution to the headache of finding work space. It’s flexible – you can move in for a day, a month or a year and move out when you want. It’s a low-risk arrangement with no major capital outlay. And it’s immediate.
Jennifer Brooke, executive director of the Business Centre Association (BCA), sees great benefit to businesses. “It’s an easy in, easy out option. A business can literally walk in, sign the lease and start work. Overheads are fixed and manageable, there’s no capital expenditure and there’s no hidden costs”.
Pier Paolo Mucelli, CEO of serviced office providers eOffice, adds: "This is a new way of working. Clients can come and get connected immediately for a fixed monthly fee. It would be the dream of every Facility Manager in the UK to be able to book workstations on a monthly basis in all the major cities, according to their changing requirements: an outsourcing solution providing total flexibility in corporate office/property needs."
However, according to a survey from Spacia Small Business Property Monitor 2001, nearly one third of small businesses have had problems finding suitable accommodation. Location and budget were the most common problems.
If you take on a serviced office instead of a conventional lease, here’s what you’ll be missing out on; leasehold commitments that are typically up to 25 years, getting references, deposits and personal guarantees from directors, minimum size requirements, equipment (which will depreciate in value) and support staff.
And, if you’re a small business operating in London, bear in mind that this is a city with the highest office occupancy costs in the world at around £106.68 per square foot. The UK has five of the top 20 highest rates in the world.
In a serviced office, your small company can benefit from access to more prestigious addresses and better computer and communications technology than you could probably afford alone. And the growth of your business can be easily accommodated – by taking over extra office suites as they take on more staff.
Moving out and moving on
Many businesses never move out of serviced offices, since they find that for them the mix of services represent good value in the longer term.
Others move on once they have stabilised in size, whether to achieve better value or a better image. Once a business gets a little larger, for instance, it might want to display its own signage and have its own signage.
Moving your business into a serviced office could be a cost-effective solution to your workspace needs that avoids the trials and tribulations of traditional property letting. It’s an office space option that means you can just move in, set up and get straight down to business.