Your dream is finally coming to life, and you’re ready to launch your startup. One thing you’ll need is office space to keep everything running smoothly. Most fledgling companies are also on a tight budget, so you’ll want to consider the cost of any location before making a final decision.

Startup office space
photo credit: Proxyclick Visitor Management System / Unsplash

While space availability varies from year to year, the fourth quarter of 2020 saw about 40 million square feet of space open up. Most of the occupancy losses were due to the pandemic, with a vacancy rise of approximately 17.1%. An abundance of rental property may be good news for new brands looking for a deal on space to house their enterprises.

With so many options to choose from, what is the best office space for your startup? We’ll look at the available options and what might work best for you.

1. Your Garage

If you’re on a tight budget, you might want to convert extra space in your home in the beginning. You can always move to something more formal later on. Park your cars outside for a while, and use your attached garage to house your business endeavors.

Adding some loose lay vinyl planks, insulting the walls and buffering sound is an excellent first step toward running your business out of your home.

2. Lease an Old Warehouse

Are there empty warehouses in your neighborhood? You may be able to get a short-term and inexpensive lease to use the office space. Some companies even team with others to share co-working space.

If you plan to place any workers in wide-open spaces in the building, consider acoustic treatments to deaden the echo. Reduce reflection and reverberation, so sound waves get absorbed, and you can make phone calls or host meetings without fear of low sound quality.

Office adopting WELL principles

3. Commercial Office Space

Nearly every medium-sized town has some commercial office space for lease. These offices are individual but housed in a single building, such as a metal structure. You’ll typically share a hallway with other businesses, but you might also have a separate entrance from the outside.

Such spaces are temperature-controlled. Ask questions such as whether you can hang signage outside your office. Find out what features are available. Some offer free Wi-Fi or a common area such as a break room for employees.

If you’re on a tight budget, this isn’t the least expensive solution. However, it is an excellent alternative when you need space quickly and don’t have time to shop around.

4. Use Shared Space

According to Statista, there are 2.26 million people using co-working spaces, a growth of 128 times 2010’s numbers. You usually rent the area for short periods, such as a month or two at a time. Different buildings have different perks, rates and rules, so shop around for one that meets your needs.

Shared space is excellent for startups. It allows you to ensure your business will be a success before signing up for a longer-term agreement.

5. Buy or Lease a House

If your business is going well, and you are sure you’ll be around for at least a few years, it might be a wise investment to purchase or lease a home. Many lawyers run their offices out of houses, putting the legal assistance staff and receptionist on a lower level and the lawyer’s offices upstairs.

A buffer between floors allows administrative assistants to vet any visitors and ensure lawyers’ safety during high-profile cases. While you might not need extra security, you can still take a page out of their book and rent a house to serve as your office space.

One benefit of placing your offices in a home is having a dedicated kitchen and bathroom area for your employees. If you buy instead of lease, you’ll gain equity in the building, making a profit instead of spending money on rent.

Business meeting at a virtual office

6. Virtual Office

For Upwork’s “Future of Workforce Pulse Report,” they surveyed 1,029 hiring managers in the United States. The pandemic shifted the way companies and individuals think about work. Around 56.8% of teams are now remote, at least part-time.

HR professionals indicate the trend will continue through 2021 and likely beyond. Some will return to the workforce, while others remain at home.

If you’re on a limited budget, hiring staff to work from home might be a perfect solution, especially if they already own necessary equipment such as computers. Regardless, you’ll avoid paying high fees to rent office space for staff.

An additional bonus is that you might bring in top talent who want to work from home and avoid long commute times. You can add other perks such as job sharing and attract parents of young children who don’t wish to work full-time, but want to keep their foot in the door in their chosen profession.

7. Temperature-Controlled Storage Units

The cost to rent a storage space varies, but is often much less than commercial space. If you run an e-commerce store, having a place to keep products and putting a desk or two inside the unit may be the best solution.

Talk to local companies about their rules regarding working from the storage unit and develop a plan that works best for your business. You can always rent a warehouse as your business grows, but a small storage unit allows you to hit the ground running without much overhead.

Productive employee working during the winter season

The Best Office Space Goes To…

Only you can decide what type of space is best for your needs. You might find a more formal setting works best if you meet with your clients in person. On the other hand, if you only deal with customers virtually, setting up a virtual office space makes the most sense and saves the most money.

Think about your business’ needs today and in the future, and choose the option most appealing to you. Work hard not to get tied into lengthy contracts. If something doesn’t function the way you need it to, pivot to another option.