How MAny Of You HAVE Your Own OFFICE!? I have some questions.

27 replies
Well, I have an office in my home and it works GREAT. I do more in sales than a lot of businesses with an actual office location.

I'm about to make the jump, found a PERFECT place, I know the owner that is leasing it out, 2,200 sq ft for only $600/mo. He's rehabbing it, doing some things to fix it up and will be ready in a month or two.

The great thing about it, is it's on main street, GREAT location and my jaw almost broke when it hit the floor after hearing how much he'd lease it out for.

For me, its a scary but exciting time.

Right now... this is how things operate for me... I have a great team for outsourcing, although I continue to work on nearly every project. I have someone great with graphics, that I just trained on how to use joomla, he also has strong php, html and css knowledge. I have another 3 people I use for knocking out websites, and one of them handles a lot of the SEO as well.

I've been doing websites, project management, sales, customer service, accounting, marketing, pretty much EVERYTHING there is to do related to running a business.

I really want to get to the next level, I've been posting on job websites and getting applications for sales people, have about 400 so far. I feel that getting into an actual location is going to be key in order to really expand and grow like I believe I will.

I have a buddy of mine that is a sales manager at a major company, they DO cold calling, and tradeshows.. he's pretty good on the phone and face to face. Been thinking about making him the sales manager, and hiring on 2-3 other people commission only to really drive in sales.

Questions...

1.) If I have them as a 1099, I know I can't technically tell them how to do their job, and can't have a schedule like an actual employee. How do you get around this? Is it a matter of just telling them our expectations, and if they follow it great, if they don't then.. what? Right now I have people selling, but I go through so many, I give them some material, and it's really up to them if they want to sell or not, so there really isn't much structure there.

2.) I know there are more responsibilities. What am I looking at? Of course business license, which I already have... commercial occupancy permit I'm assuming. What else do I need to make sure I have covered? Is there any special insurance I will need, or what exactly?

3.) I don't want phone bills in the thousands... I'm worried if I use VOIP I am at the mercy of the inet connection. If internet is down for 1 hour, that causes a big loss of business. What is a good phone solution for a business with under 10 lines? Does anyone knowledgeable on this subject care to share how to do this and set up in a way that is cost effective as well as easily expandable? This is one of my biggest worries.

4.) Any general advice you guys can give, I would appreciate it. I have a TON of knowledge in many areas, just based on pure experience, but I haven't experienced THIS. Would love to hear input, advice, comments, etc.
#office #questions
  • Profile picture of the author MonteMichaels
    Originally Posted by iAmNameLess

    Well, I have an office in my home and it works GREAT. I do more in sales than a lot of businesses with an actual office location.

    I'm about to make the jump, found a PERFECT place, I know the owner that is leasing it out, 2,200 sq ft for only $600/mo. He's rehabbing it, doing some things to fix it up and will be ready in a month or two.

    The great thing about it, is it's on main street, GREAT location and my jaw almost broke when it hit the floor after hearing how much he'd lease it out for.

    For me, its a scary but exciting time.

    Right now... this is how things operate for me... I have a great team for outsourcing, although I continue to work on nearly every project. I have someone great with graphics, that I just trained on how to use joomla, he also has strong php, html and css knowledge. I have another 3 people I use for knocking out websites, and one of them handles a lot of the SEO as well.

    I've been doing websites, project management, sales, customer service, accounting, marketing, pretty much EVERYTHING there is to do related to running a business.

    I really want to get to the next level, I've been posting on job websites and getting applications for sales people, have about 400 so far. I feel that getting into an actual location is going to be key in order to really expand and grow like I believe I will.

    I have a buddy of mine that is a sales manager at a major company, they DO cold calling, and tradeshows.. he's pretty good on the phone and face to face. Been thinking about making him the sales manager, and hiring on 2-3 other people commission only to really drive in sales.

    Questions...

    1.) If I have them as a 1099, I know I can't technically tell them how to do their job, and can't have a schedule like an actual employee. How do you get around this? Is it a matter of just telling them our expectations, and if they follow it great, if they don't then.. what? Right now I have people selling, but I go through so many, I give them some material, and it's really up to them if they want to sell or not, so there really isn't much structure there.

    2.) I know there are more responsibilities. What am I looking at? Of course business license, which I already have... commercial occupancy permit I'm assuming. What else do I need to make sure I have covered? Is there any special insurance I will need, or what exactly?
    You could still have commission only sales people and offer them a draw against their commission. Maybe hire them as an employee then I'm not sure what your local laws are, but that way they work, or you can tell them to.

    Also not sure on the business licences in your area, but you will need to have liability just in case someone trips over a pen in your office. Don't risk your business because of someone else's carelessness.



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    • I have also been thinking about having a physical office. My income is not to the point where I can afford it yet, but I see it as a possibility in the next 6 months. I think it would be a great idea, and it would give us a good local boost since THEN we can display our physical address on google maps, since customers DO come to our store fronts. Not to mention that it would seem more legit, and people would be more likely to trust you. Would be interested in the response to this questions. Open for recommendations on what to do, and what not to do.
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  • Profile picture of the author massiveray
    Hey, I'm in England and it seems like things are much easier over here, i have a hosted office that comes with a receptionist, renting an office was the best thing I ever did, and it is way smaller and more expensive than the one you are looking at, it's so much easier to sell a client if they can visit you. Also I have a sales manager who is always very handy to have in the room if I need some quick sales spiel, I'm terrible on the phones and can just about make myself an appointment but in person is where I excel so having a physical location is awesome for me.

    1) I have had very little luck with this type of set up, I have over 200 sales people on my books from ads posted and not a single one of them has made a sale off their own back.they do okay if I hand them leads, but still not as good as my in house sales guys so I tend to just leave them to it. It is the main reason I bought John durhams 90 day challenge, I hope that when he gets round to the training manuals I can push this area forward. I do find that there is a lot more to it than just putting an ad out and giving them a script, by law there has to be some form of quality control and call recording of certain percentages of calls, very messy legal situation in my opinion.

    2) this will be different over here so I'll leave this

    3) any decent VoIP provider will have fail over redundancy for their routing servers so having an hour of downtime is very very unlikely if you buy from a good provider. The best option here is a IAX trunk (multiple phone line system in 1 location) which gives you the option of having as many lines as you would like linked to physical phones, it should also be free to transfer a call to your internal extension system. I also find it very useful that these VoIP systems allow me to have my number forwarded to my mobile phone when I'm out of the office. (the forwarding costs can be pretty pricey though)

    If you need any more info regarding the telecoms side of things it's an area of specialty for me so feel free to ask.
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  • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
    @iAmNameLess

    skype me in a few hrs, say sometime after 7 EST.

    I have a lot of experience in the real world arena.

    I can probably answer most of your questions.

    --edit
    600 a month !!!! wow, that's crazy cheap. That just might be "the sign" its time to grow
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  • Profile picture of the author sweetcrabhoney18
    Just because they have a 1099 doesn't mean you can't have them on set hours. It means that they have the right to decline coming in for whatever reasons. My mother is on 1099 ( an OBGYN) in her contract it states the days she is to work and the hours. Plus she has some on call days as well. You can do the same thing.

    For my office I went with cable business.. phone companies annoy me... and I was able to get TV in my office as well.

    Depending on your state you might have a number of things to pay for. Best way to figure that out is asking the offices close to yours. They can provide advice especially if they have been there for awhile. Plus it's nice to get to know your neighbors..

    Don't forget to join the chamber of commerce in your area since you have an office. You should already be a member but it's just a friendly reminder.

    Congrats on your new office.. it may be scary at first but it will be a lot of fun over time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    I'd love to know how the set up goes. If I decide to do this consulting thing full time I may be in the same position in a year or so.

    So I would love if you posted info on how things went.

    BTW $600 a month for that size is great. Even in a small metro like I am in that is hard to beat. I'd take it as a sign.

    As for 1099 personally if you can afford it I would do normal employees that way you have more control. Also consider hiring a company to handle payroll if not full HR. You can even use this to bring on workers as "temp" to hire. That way you never hired them so can end their gig whenever you want if they don't perform(you can do this with employees in most cases too in the first 90 days).
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  • Profile picture of the author rbecklund
    Having a physical office will make hiring better - it is easier to interview professionally in an office. People applying for the job will see you as more professional.

    If they are contract (1099), you can still tell them what to do. I've had a couple of jobs that were just like jobs, but I was treated like a contractor. I don't think this follows the proper accounting/tax rules for 1099 though.

    For the phone, I would do some research on what larger companies are doing. I bet there are large companies that are using Voip. Maybe a more robust internet connection would be cheaper than traditional phone service.

    Also, if you have an office and a sales manger with a small sales staff, having them come into the office some is going to help with training and cohesiveness in the group. Also, you can get a better feel for who is working out when you see them.

    Be careful of the leases. 3 years or 5 years for real commercial leases (which gets you the better prices). One problem with having an office is you can get side tracked with office management type issues that you don't probably deal with in a home office.

    Not sure if any of this helps - just some thoughts. It's fun to have an office to go to sometimes and it does feel like you're more professional.
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  • Profile picture of the author Quentin
    An office is great as you can start doing in house trainig which you can charge a lot more for than online courses and also you pick the good students to work for you.

    Secondly we do presentations for businesses at lunch and at night and provide subway and some drinks.

    This gets us a lot of local work. Last meeting we had quite a lot of people so make sure you have some extra people to gather the details of everyone who turns up.

    As you also said you can take advantage of signage and you have instant credability in businesses eyes.

    Quentin
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  • Profile picture of the author Jay Rhome
    Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

    I'm about to make the jump, found a PERFECT place, I know the owner that is leasing it out, 2,200 sq ft for only $600/mo. He's rehabbing it, doing some things to fix it up and will be ready in a month or two.

    Ireally want to get to the next level, I've been posting on job websites and getting applications for sales people, have about 400 so far. I feel that getting into an actual location is going to be key in order to really expand and grow like I believe I will.
    Wow, $600/m with a good location is a steal. My chamber of commerce also leases rooms but I feel they might too small for my desire use, and they will cost higher than your deal!

    And no doubt that having an office can really help to expand. That's what I want to do in a month if the fees are right. Though I do plan to revert to a virtual office again later on! For the freedom factor. But for quick expansion? It sure can be worth it if you are 4-5-6 working together in one place at one time. The energy built up will help everyone involved.
    3.) I don't want phone bills in the thousands... I'm worried if I use VOIP I am at the mercy of the inet connection. If internet is down for 1 hour, that causes a big loss of business. What is a good phone solution for a business with under 10 lines? Does anyone knowledgeable on this subject care to share how to do this and set up in a way that is cost effective as well as easily expandable? This is one of my biggest worries.
    Yeah. My biggest concern too. I had figured into my costs the appointment setters, the sales reps, lists, etc. but not the phone lines, which is indeed a concern. In my parts, most of these business bills - be they rental, phones, etc. - have multi-year leases, not month to month like for personal usage.
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  • Profile picture of the author KateStevensB
    Setting up your own office is really complicated.
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  • Profile picture of the author msu
    On the point about using VOIP, did you know that with Skype you can have your Skype calls automatically sent to land-line or cell phone numbers for very little cost?

    So you could have the low cost of VOIP with the advantages landline without needing web access to get your calls. You can also setup a real number in your city - or others as you grow - that forwards calls to a central number or to a particular member of your team.

    Hope this helps & congrats on your success.
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    • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
      Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

      @iAmNameLess

      skype me in a few hrs, say sometime after 7 EST.

      I have a lot of experience in the real world arena.

      I can probably answer most of your questions.

      --edit
      600 a month !!!! wow, that's crazy cheap. That just might be "the sign" its time to grow
      Maybe it is a sign.. lol.

      Ken, I know I have you on my skype, but I know it isn't the same as your forum name, I have no idea who you are on my skype! I did have a question I wanted to ask you on there too.

      Originally Posted by sweetcrabhoney18 View Post

      Just because they have a 1099 doesn't mean you can't have them on set hours. It means that they have the right to decline coming in for whatever reasons. My mother is on 1099 ( an OBGYN) in her contract it states the days she is to work and the hours. Plus she has some on call days as well. You can do the same thing.

      For my office I went with cable business.. phone companies annoy me... and I was able to get TV in my office as well.

      Depending on your state you might have a number of things to pay for. Best way to figure that out is asking the offices close to yours. They can provide advice especially if they have been there for awhile. Plus it's nice to get to know your neighbors..

      Don't forget to join the chamber of commerce in your area since you have an office. You should already be a member but it's just a friendly reminder.

      Congrats on your new office.. it may be scary at first but it will be a lot of fun over time.
      Hmmm, I didn't know that. I thought for 1099 you couldn't have set hours?

      Thanks, and yeah it is kind of scary because you have other people involved depending on your business but at the same time I think it's going to be super fun.

      Originally Posted by Aaron Doud View Post

      I'd love to know how the set up goes. If I decide to do this consulting thing full time I may be in the same position in a year or so.

      So I would love if you posted info on how things went.

      BTW $600 a month for that size is great. Even in a small metro like I am in that is hard to beat. I'd take it as a sign.

      As for 1099 personally if you can afford it I would do normal employees that way you have more control. Also consider hiring a company to handle payroll if not full HR. You can even use this to bring on workers as "temp" to hire. That way you never hired them so can end their gig whenever you want if they don't perform(you can do this with employees in most cases too in the first 90 days).
      I will for sure post on the progress and how it goes. It still isn't ready yet, probably another 6 weeks or so.

      Man.. so much to learn and here I thought I was learning a ton of things and already ahead of so many people LOL. I don't know if I could afford normal employees. I would like to, but I don't know if I can. It's going to be interesting to see how it plays out. Good tip on the temp to hire. Also, if I have anyone as a normal employee, I would definitely hire a company to do the payroll... it is so much cheaper than people think, and saves me a lot of time.

      Originally Posted by rbecklund View Post

      Having a physical office will make hiring better - it is easier to interview professionally in an office. People applying for the job will see you as more professional.

      If they are contract (1099), you can still tell them what to do. I've had a couple of jobs that were just like jobs, but I was treated like a contractor. I don't think this follows the proper accounting/tax rules for 1099 though.

      For the phone, I would do some research on what larger companies are doing. I bet there are large companies that are using Voip. Maybe a more robust internet connection would be cheaper than traditional phone service.

      Also, if you have an office and a sales manger with a small sales staff, having them come into the office some is going to help with training and cohesiveness in the group. Also, you can get a better feel for who is working out when you see them.

      Be careful of the leases. 3 years or 5 years for real commercial leases (which gets you the better prices). One problem with having an office is you can get side tracked with office management type issues that you don't probably deal with in a home office.

      Not sure if any of this helps - just some thoughts. It's fun to have an office to go to sometimes and it does feel like you're more professional.
      It does help because you stated something so obvious but I never even thought about it that way. You mentioned a more robust internet would maybe be cheaper and you're right. From what I see if I went through my current phone and inet provider, the phone alone would run me $300/mo but if I just beefed up the inet I could probably have inet and phone through VOIP for under $250. Still a lot to look into for this.

      I really am excited about this but it brings on a whole new financial burden that I'm kind of anxious about. I guess if you don't take risks you get no reward! I hear ya on the office management side, not really looking forward to that.

      I really want to focus on creating a certain energy

      Originally Posted by Jay Rhome View Post

      Wow, $600/m with a good location is a steal. My chamber of commerce also leases rooms but I feel they might too small for my desire use, and they will cost higher than your deal!

      And no doubt that having an office can really help to expand. That's what I want to do in a month if the fees are right. Though I do plan to revert to a virtual office again later on! For the freedom factor. But for quick expansion? It sure can be worth it if you are 4-5-6 working together in one place at one time. The energy built up will help everyone involved.
      Yeah. My biggest concern too. I had figured into my costs the appointment setters, the sales reps, lists, etc. but not the phone lines, which is indeed a concern. In my parts, most of these business bills - be they rental, phones, etc. - have multi-year leases, not month to month like for personal usage.
      Thanks for the response. I've had my own private office for so long that I can't wait to have a REAL office LOL. Yeah, the energy is going to be awesome. Trying to figure out different things to not only run a successful business, and office, but to create a certain environment and energy that is really an intangible to a business.

      Anyway, guys, thank you for your info and comments... anything else to add, please respond. I know a lot of things, but there are a lot more things I don't know in this aspect.
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      • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
        Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

        Maybe it is a sign.. lol.

        Ken, I know I have you on my skype, but I know it isn't the same as your forum name, I have no idea who you are on my skype! I did have a question I wanted to ask you on there too.
        not sure how i missed this...

        Look for Richard Hilton, if you don't have the names on , look for the
        Sn that starts with RipDaBy...

        If your question is about that project we discussed, i got derailed
        for a few wks had some issues to deal with. I am back @ it now.
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  • Profile picture of the author sweetcrabhoney18
    A contract is a contract.. if it's written in a way to protect both the employer and the employee then you should have no problem at all. Write a fair contract and use 1099 for taxes and you will be A Okay..

    I hope this helps..
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  • Profile picture of the author VegasGreg
    My team just moved into a real office back in November, and the added results/benefits have been amazing (and especially at the lease price you mentioned).

    It will help close more deals and attract better sales people. We closed a fair amount of deals working out of our 'home office' and using the Chamber of Commerce office space (and Starbucks), but a lot of clients we have now may not have signed without seeing our real life office space.

    (We were also able to set up green screen filming area in the office which helps add another line of profit for us.)

    I will say that there is a LOT of other expenses to setting up an office that you won't always think of until you are in there. We knew there would be more to it than we thought, but it was even more. Luckily you are starting at a super low cost for rent. Things like furniture (desks/chairs), office equipment, furnishings, coffee/water/cups, workers comp insurance (may depend on your location?), just to name the basics. But is is an investment that typically pays off very well.

    That's my added 2 cents, hope that helps a little.

    Greg
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  • Profile picture of the author RentItNow
    "I really want to get to the next level, I've been posting on job websites and getting applications for sales people, have about 400 so far. I feel that getting into an actual location is going to be key in order to really expand and grow like I believe I will."

    Congrats, man! I know the feeling. Have plans to be in location for $500/mn in 2 months. Until then I am using the shared space for meetings but rare right now anyway. Been out about 1/2 and doing mockups other 1/2 day so kind of pointless for next little bit. I can't wait tho because the place I found myself is TOP TOP quality...couldnt believe how many places are out there.

    Regarding the phones, I do not know about where u are but here in canada you can get a service from unlimited internet providers that gives you lines...otherwise it is super expensive from the local bell for dedicated lines. Even though the net goes down for an hour, maybe it is still cheaper than a dedicated service.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jerry McGough
      I have an engraving/signage business.
      The first thing everyone wants is a "NO SOLICITING" sign......

      ...just couldn't resist......

      Or....I could make you a "SOLICITORS WELCOME" sign.....might be the first of its kind in the history of the world.....

      ....just couldn't resist again......
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  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

    1.) If I have them as a 1099, I know I can't technically tell them how to do their job, and can't have a schedule like an actual employee. How do you get around this? Is it a matter of just telling them our expectations, and if they follow it great, if they don't then.. what? Right now I have people selling, but I go through so many, I give them some material, and it's really up to them if they want to sell or not, so there really isn't much structure there.

    2.) I know there are more responsibilities. What am I looking at? Of course business license, which I already have... commercial occupancy permit I'm assuming. What else do I need to make sure I have covered? Is there any special insurance I will need, or what exactly?

    3.) I don't want phone bills in the thousands... I'm worried if I use VOIP I am at the mercy of the inet connection. If internet is down for 1 hour, that causes a big loss of business. What is a good phone solution for a business with under 10 lines? Does anyone knowledgeable on this subject care to share how to do this and set up in a way that is cost effective as well as easily expandable? This is one of my biggest worries.

    4.) Any general advice you guys can give, I would appreciate it. I have a TON of knowledge in many areas, just based on pure experience, but I haven't experienced THIS. Would love to hear input, advice, comments, etc.
    Pretty sure just being licensed and insured will be good enough. One warning though about insurance. My boss just insured a second business and was bitching for a good week about how expensive it was. He got multiple estimates and still couldn't find anything that was really a good deal.

    I even remember him saying how much it was all I remember is it was A LOT. We also operate in NJ though which is known to be one of the most expensive places to run a business, so not much that can really be done about it.

    Just wanted to warn you it may definitely be a bit more than you were hoping for.
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    • Profile picture of the author JoshP
      Getting an office away from my house was the best decision I made to grow my business.

      I've been able to get bigger clients because of it.

      For whatever reason, it gives more of an appearance of professionalism and that you are more serious.
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      • Profile picture of the author plainwords
        If you are going after successful businesses as clients, then you need to meet them on their own level. You generally need an office to establish a sense of crediblity. The exception is if you have a very nice home, of a similar standard to what your clients would own,then you can invite them to a home-based office. But otherwise, even a small office in a good part of town, furnished nicely, is really essential - maybe not from day one but as soon as you can afford it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jay Rhome
        Originally Posted by JoshP View Post

        Getting an office away from my house was the best decision I made to grow my business.

        I've been able to get bigger clients because of it.

        For whatever reason, it gives more of an appearance of professionalism and that you are more serious.
        While it could give more and better deals for LOCAL clients, the best thing to come out of having an office IMO is more focused and better performing employees/sales reps/appointment setters, a more focused TEAM energy. In turn, it makes hiring better people easier. Even though I don't like it, there's no denying how so many workers need to see a "regular" office to respect your opportunity more.

        Up to this point, I too have hired mostly commission based sales reps. But imagine when you'll suggest they come to work 3 days a week in the office making calls, closing leads you got, etc. They will simply perform better as they will be doing more. Probably a LOT more. And to be honest, I for sure will do a lot more.

        And we can train, inspect, and motivate them a lot more than we would in a virtual manner. I do plan to have virtual reps too, and plan to somehow transmit the energy to them - at the very least to get their competitive juices going.

        I still plan to go back to a "virtual" system as I wrote in a previous post once the system has kicked in for at least 6 months. Or to keep it going if I have found a quality manager to delegate this to. Even if it would mean the company goes slighlty backward a bit. I won't be a slave to my company. FREEDOM is what I want. But I'm more than willing to sacrifice it for a while to get it forever afterward.

        And if it somehow fails, hey, iAmNameLess, myself, or any of us in the same situation, we would simply be back to where we are now! Just with an added bloody nose and wasted sweat, but not business ending by any stretch. I like to risk the growth of the company, but not the company itself. The risk to reward in this case is worth it! Just watch out to not be tied by long term leases with any providers (offices, phones, insurance, etc.) and basically, there's very little to lose here, and a lot to gain. My kind of perspective
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    • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
      Originally Posted by RedShifted View Post

      One warning though about insurance. My boss just insured a second business and was bitching for a good week about how expensive it was.
      yeah, insurance is rough. we did not know any better, and wound up with a flat, wood roof, in daytona. First it took forever to find a policy, and then when we did, it was retarded expensive.Then to make matters worse we have a parking policy here, basically the law is you have to have enough parking for all employees, AND any possible clients...
      So we actually have to rent parking from out neighbors.

      just one more hidden expense... for us, those mount up quick.
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  • Profile picture of the author TrumpiaTim
    Congrats on the new office, make sure you check Craigslist for deals on office furniture.
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  • Profile picture of the author cheyser
    That's a great decision and good start for you and for many people doing it
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  • Profile picture of the author Site87
    Congrats on making the jump! Success!
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    • Profile picture of the author molahs
      Has anyone hear used virtual offices? You can get a location in almost any state in the US.
      They will answer the phone for you (live answering in your own company name) and give you an address for mail. I use opus virtual offices (opusvirtualoffices.com) and they have great service, plus it's really cheap at $99 a month. check them out.

      PS - before you signup either call or chat online with them and ask them for their online coupon to knock off $100. works every time.
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  • Profile picture of the author drdeeweb
    @molahs
    Thanks for the heads up on the virtual. I like that they have an answering service.

    We moved into a physical office January 3, 2012 and after years of successfully working from home it has completely changed our focus and shifted us into more of a true business. I no longer think in terms of simply completing client projects.
    I immediately started building a team, outsourcing and thinking strategy and systems. It could be all psychological and if that's true... go for it.

    We are poised to make so much more this year.

    As for client visits, I have haven't had that many but we are gearing up for a Business workshop series as @Quentin mentioned.
    We have a great conference room and I look forward to using it regularly.

    We use RingCentral Phones but I still would like someone to answer live rather than the autoattendant. It does do a good job of routing the calls but nothing beats a live person so I am going to check out opusvirtual specifically for that.

    Great thread. Thanks for your input.
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