Co-Working vs. Staying Home

When starting your own small business, one of the first questions you’ll likely need to consider is whether or not you need to rent office space. Many small businesses need office space so that customers can come to them, but others, such as those who sell online or do contract work, are able to work directly from home. This can be a tough aspect to consider, and the best option for you can depend on many different factors.  If you’re having trouble deciding, we’re here to help! Read on for a list of some questions to consider when deciding whether to rent office space or work from home.

Type of business

First and foremost, you need to consider the type of business you’re planning to open. If it’s a store, for example, this one is kind of a no-brainer. Your customers need to be able to know where they can go to buy your products. If you’re creating an Etsy store on the other hand, working from home might be a better option. You can save money upfront by working out of your house, and since your customers will only buy products from you online, you don’t need to worry about having an office space. Consider whether the type of business you are opening truly needs a centralized location. It’s not a crime to think that it does – it’s important to figure that out now, rather than later, when your products aren’t selling well or you’re wasting money shipping products to mostly local customers who could easily come into a store.

Noise/Concentration

Consider the noise level of both your home and potential office space. If your kids stay at home with your spouse or a babysitter all day, your house might not be the most productive space. On the other hand, if you live alone, it might be ideal. Even if your business doesn’t depend on peace and quiet as much as others might, consider your own personal preferences. Do you prefer to work in absolute silence? An office building downtown in a bigger city might not be the best idea for you. However, if you love working alongside others, a rented office with lots of coworkers might help bring new ideas to the table.

Amount of Space Needed /Number of Employees

Think about how much space you’re going to need. Do you only need a small office with room for a desk and your laptop, or do you have lots of equipment that will take up several rooms? By the same token, do you have others who will be working for you? Do they each need their own office, or is it practical for them to come to your office and/or work from their own homes? Do you have a place that you could all meet together when needed? In today’s world, many jobs are very adaptive and work well with telecommuting – this might be the case for your business. If so, don’t be afraid to hold off on purchasing office space and spend your money on other things. But if it makes more sense to start renting so that your employees can work together or to ensure room for all of your equipment, don’t be afraid to buy some space.

Equipment

What all do you need for your business to function? Will your desk printer at home work, or do you need an industrial printer? Is your wifi at home good enough, or do you need better service? Will your homeowner’s insurance cover all of your business supplies if you have a home office? Would a communal office building provide you with conference space, a fax machine, and other needed equipment, saving you money in the long run? This is another important question to consider. Some small businesses might only require a laptop and a cheap printer, while the equipment for others might cost a great deal, and it would be cheaper to rent out space in an office building. Always be conscious of what equipment you need and which option will be most beneficial.

Time & Productivity

Is the closest office building that suits your needs almost an hour away? If so, would that two hours of your day be better spent working from home? Is there an office building or store close to where your customers are located, or would it be out of the way for them? There’s nothing productive about buying office space or a shop front if doesn’t meet your needs and doesn’t save you (and your customers) time and effort. Not all of your customers will be willing to drive so far out of their way to buy something or to meet with you, and the time and money you’ll spend commuting every day might start cutting into your profits faster than you anticipate. Always consider the bottom line: how this investment will affect you and your business.

Cost

You always need to consider cost. If renting office space would make your life a lot easier but isn’t absolutely necessary, and you don’t really have the money to do it, you might want to hold off until you have a little extra cash. On the other hand, if the office space isn’t necessary but you think it would increase your business, and you have the cash to give it a try, don’t be afraid to do so! You can always try to find a short term lease and give it a month or two to see how it goes – that way, you aren’t on the hook if it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Any business big or small, has to start somewhere. If starting with working from home is more suitable than renting space, then save your money. If you want to be more social and collaborative, or your business requires lots of space and equipment, don’t be afraid to invest in an office. Whichever option you choose, make sure that you’re considering all of these factors and you’ll make the decision that’s best for you and your business.

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