Thinking about getting my own office...what should I do?

by wb_man
16 replies
Hi everyone,

I was reading this thread (thread title since I can't post links)
"READ NOW! STOP F***ING Around & Start Building A Successful Online Consulting Business"

and it made me realize I should start taking my online marketing business seriously.

I do the usual web design, seo, ppc, etc. stuff but I'm not making as much as I'd like right now.

I currently work on my business from my own home and I believe it seriously kills my productivity. I guess the reason is because it is also where I live. Same place to sleep and work doesn't sound right, you know?

So I'm thinking about getting an office to run my business. I think it will increase my productivity and make me look more professional.

I did some research today and found one about 10 minutes drive from my home so it isn't too far away. It is located in a six-story office building so it looks good. The rent is about $1,600/month for ~1000 sqft. This is my first time leasing an office so I don't know if the price is good for how much space I'm getting.

I know that I need to make a good amount more than the office rent cost to justify having an office or else it'd just be a bad financial decision. Just something to think about as soon as my revenue is several times more than the office rent cost. So the rent is $1,600/month so I should make around $10,000/month if I want to get one.


Anyone who got their own office care to share their experiences? I'm not talking about a home office, but a real office. Pros and Cons of having your own office? How much are you paying? What other expenses are involved in having an office?

How is your business setup to look professional (LLC, website, business cards, phone number, business bank account, etc) and get things done (nice chair, multiple monitors, own office, employees/outsourcers, etc)?
#officewhat #thinking
  • Profile picture of the author jayspann
    Don't worry about any of that stuff till your making that 10K a month FIRST. Seriously... don't even worry about business cards.

    I have a hard time working from home as well but if you can't get in the mindset to work from home... a office isn't really going to help (at least it didn't for me).

    I've built businesses both ways and from here on out I aways set a minimum goal of $50K in revenue before I even open a DBA and checking account.

    That being said... Home or Office... I couldn't live without multiple monitors and my Aeron chair.
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    • Profile picture of the author hometutor
      Originally Posted by jayspann View Post

      Don't worry about any of that stuff till your making that 10K a month FIRST. Seriously... don't even worry about business cards..
      And the reason for not promoting your online business offline is...?

      Rick
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      • Profile picture of the author hometutor
        When I went insane and went self-employed full time (my standard joke) I set myself hours that I would work regardless of whether it was my computer desk in my living room or Starbucks.

        I have a netbook computer with a sign on it that states

        "Computer Question

        Ask Now or Call

        blah"


        I did get an office when I had two people insist on bring their computers to me and I didn't have a place. So, if walk in traffic isn't important to you then do what I did and get a storage locker office.

        They have
        Good security
        Low price
        Some cater to businesses and will install electricity.

        I'm hardly there, but it pays for itself every month with one or two clients that insist on coming to me.

        Rick
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  • Profile picture of the author PeacefulCalamity
    If you're not making as much as you want, getting an office just sounds like an excuse for not being there. Totally possible to do from home and having an office would just complicate things.

    Bank a lot of money then get one, but it's not a necessity at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author Red Kaiser
    Exactly like the previous posters have said. You need to focus on making sales first. I know it seems tempting to get "everything together" before you start, but trust us in focusing on your sales funnels and having consistent streams of revenue before investing in such things like an office.
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  • Profile picture of the author Voasi
    I've had a couple different offices. If you don't need one, then don't get one. That's for sure - stay small and profitable. As soon as you start adding overhead, it means you have to increase your costs to make sure you hit your financial numbers each month.

    Having said that, 1000sq is a lot for just one person. Funny, I had an office that was 300sq. I had 2-4 sales reps in there... I never actually went there, maybe twice a month. That was my most profitable office. We later moved to an office right on the harbor, over-looking yachts, that was 2000 sq., but still... that small office was our most profitable times.

    As I said, getting out of the house and going somewhere is good, but just think - how different is that from working a job? Especially when you start getting employees, etc...
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  • Profile picture of the author jayspann
    I made a LOT more money with employees but it was a headache for sure! I stick (try too) with high end consulting. I only work with a very small handful of people a month and life is much simpler now. I still contract out piece work because I'm too lazy to do my own landing pages and media buying... but it's just me working from home. It's nice that I can chose to work when and if I feel like it
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  • Profile picture of the author digichik
    Instead of leasing an office on your own, you may want to search out a hacker space. This is office or desk space you can rent out by the hour, day, week or month. They usually have lots of techie types who also work from home, but want to work around others sometimes. You could also look into something like Regus, where you can also rent an office by the day, week or month, including conference room rentals-- it's a more traditional professional setting. Both types of workspace/office can be found on Craigslist in most major cities.

    Investigate the options available to you, before you reach out and lock yourself into an expensive long term lease.

    You can get serious about your business without adding debt to it, before adding profits.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gatsby
    I have had offices and until you know that you will be making at least four times the amount of your overhead, I would not do it. First, many clients of professional services across the board do not come to you in person in large numbers; usually people meet at their place, or somewhere "in between" or "Hey I will be in XXXX area, tuesday - let's meet at XXXX". When they do, that is usually a pretty big deal, and you can rent meeting rooms for less than an office. Or pay FAR less than office rent and splurge to take clients out for lunch.

    If you are having a problem presenting your self as "professional" and that is hindering your sales, I can already tell you that the pressure to perform and make rent will be ten times higher than if you are sitting at home.

    You can also get a virtual office, that handles your mail, phone answering and a pro looking address in a business park. However, the mail can get lost, the phone caller can say something lame at any given moment or NOT direct a critical call at the right time etc. So just make sure you are dealing with a company that will back you up on customer service. Loosing a $5000 check in the mail can be brutally stressful!

    Then, don't forget that office space is probably the most hard to deal with kind of lease ever. If you ever thought a residential lease was strict, an office is ten times that. You may have to purchase insurance, maintenance, pay extra taxes and all sorts of surprises depending on the area and laws in your city.

    So yes your instinct is right, it is a great way to look professional and keep your business situated in a place you consider a den of profit and action; but do your diligence and measure the costs before you go all in.

    Some of the surprises I can recall from places I have had.

    First one when I was 25, 1600 a month, and about 399 in utilities; plus my rent and everything else quickly jumped well over $3500 a month in a small town. My standard service was about 99 an hour and I was averaging ten hours a month for the first three months. Not my best days - although interesting.

    Second place; $750 a month. The office areas of a major hotel. First week, manager came in and asked when I was going to have the windows cleaned? Then extra services on top of that brought it back close to $1600. Several months later; the utility company comes in and tells us the hotel has not paid their bill in like 3 years and monday the power will be turned off. Three months later, they are bought by a company from thailand or something and it was just weird for awhile.

    Switched to home office

    I have heard other stories, such as buildings being seized because the owner defaulted; and then you are locked out of the building. Someone can cut themselves on a sharp edge and sue you. Blah blah blah; it's not likely you will run into a horror story yourself; but any business owner makes sure they know what the ramifications are, what their liabilities could be and so on.

    Oh, and the worst thing is that once you have an office, the salesman come in droves! Your "referral partners" come over and hang out like its cutting class from high school. Charity drives show up at your door five times a week. You are one way or another setting yourself as a PUBLIC area when you have a place. If you are doing offline, make it as private as possible. Seriously, put a "private" sign on the door; that also says "by appointment only". I did graphic design and photography in the late 90's and when I actually became well known I would have people walk in all the time. Great, but as soon as I was done with them, I would sit down and ten minutes later someone else came in. I could barely get anything done, and was getting pushed up into the 9pm slot, then 11pm and so on; my mistake but it can happen to anyone.

    Again, over the years I met some outstanding salesman and almost all of them had a small cubicle and they spend most of their time out getting the meetings done.

    So if you know for a fact you can get 1600 PROFIT per client, and get at least 4 per month - EACH AND EVERY MONTH, then get an office. And don't forget to have a buffer zone for the month and/or months when your revenue drops for whatever reason.
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    • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
      Originally Posted by Gatsby View Post

      I have had offices and until you know that you will be making at least four times the amount of your overhead, I would not do it. First, many clients of professional services across the board do not come to you in person in large numbers; usually people meet at their place, or somewhere "in between" or "Hey I will be in XXXX area, tuesday - let's meet at XXXX". When they do, that is usually a pretty big deal, and you can rent meeting rooms for less than an office. Or pay FAR less than office rent and splurge to take clients out for lunch.

      If you are having a problem presenting your self as "professional" and that is hindering your sales, I can already tell you that the pressure to perform and make rent will be ten times higher than if you are sitting at home.

      You can also get a virtual office, that handles your mail, phone answering and a pro looking address in a business park. However, the mail can get lost, the phone caller can say something lame at any given moment or NOT direct a critical call at the right time etc. So just make sure you are dealing with a company that will back you up on customer service. Loosing a $5000 check in the mail can be brutally stressful!

      Then, don't forget that office space is probably the most hard to deal with kind of lease ever. If you ever thought a residential lease was strict, an office is ten times that. You may have to purchase insurance, maintenance, pay extra taxes and all sorts of surprises depending on the area and laws in your city.

      So yes your instinct is right, it is a great way to look professional and keep your business situated in a place you consider a den of profit and action; but do your diligence and measure the costs before you go all in.

      Some of the surprises I can recall from places I have had.

      First one when I was 25, 1600 a month, and about 399 in utilities; plus my rent and everything else quickly jumped well over $3500 a month in a small town. My standard service was about 99 an hour and I was averaging ten hours a month for the first three months. Not my best days - although interesting.

      Second place; $750 a month. The office areas of a major hotel. First week, manager came in and asked when I was going to have the windows cleaned? Then extra services on top of that brought it back close to $1600. Several months later; the utility company comes in and tells us the hotel has not paid their bill in like 3 years and monday the power will be turned off. Three months later, they are bought by a company from thailand or something and it was just weird for awhile.

      Switched to home office

      I have heard other stories, such as buildings being seized because the owner defaulted; and then you are locked out of the building. Someone can cut themselves on a sharp edge and sue you. Blah blah blah; it's not likely you will run into a horror story yourself; but any business owner makes sure they know what the ramifications are, what their liabilities could be and so on.

      Oh, and the worst thing is that once you have an office, the salesman come in droves! Your "referral partners" come over and hang out like its cutting class from high school. Charity drives show up at your door five times a week. You are one way or another setting yourself as a PUBLIC area when you have a place. If you are doing offline, make it as private as possible. Seriously, put a "private" sign on the door; that also says "by appointment only". I did graphic design and photography in the late 90's and when I actually became well known I would have people walk in all the time. Great, but as soon as I was done with them, I would sit down and ten minutes later someone else came in. I could barely get anything done, and was getting pushed up into the 9pm slot, then 11pm and so on; my mistake but it can happen to anyone.

      Again, over the years I met some outstanding salesman and almost all of them had a small cubicle and they spend most of their time out getting the meetings done.

      So if you know for a fact you can get 1600 PROFIT per client, and get at least 4 per month - EACH AND EVERY MONTH, then get an office. And don't forget to have a buffer zone for the month and/or months when your revenue drops for whatever reason.
      Thanks for sharing your experience Gatsby. I've been avoiding the move to an office for some time now. The main reason is because of all the extra hassle. I know I probably need it in order to grow like I want but I'm not excited about the extra bills.

      All bills are doubled, insurance, office decor and furniture, all that stuff. I want to ride it out as long as possible without moving in one. 6 months ago I couldn't wait to move into an office, until I started really preparing and looking into it.
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  • Profile picture of the author theotherguys
    Originally Posted by wb_man View Post

    Hi everyone,

    I was reading this thread (thread title since I can't post links)
    "READ NOW! STOP F***ING Around & Start Building A Successful Online Consulting Business"

    and it made me realize I should start taking my online marketing business seriously.

    I do the usual web design, seo, ppc, etc. stuff but I'm not making as much as I'd like right now.

    I currently work on my business from my own home and I believe it seriously kills my productivity. I guess the reason is because it is also where I live. Same place to sleep and work doesn't sound right, you know?

    So I'm thinking about getting an office to run my business. I think it will increase my productivity and make me look more professional.

    I did some research today and found one about 10 minutes drive from my home so it isn't too far away. It is located in a six-story office building so it looks good. The rent is about $1,600/month for ~1000 sqft. This is my first time leasing an office so I don't know if the price is good for how much space I'm getting.

    I know that I need to make a good amount more than the office rent cost to justify having an office or else it'd just be a bad financial decision. Just something to think about as soon as my revenue is several times more than the office rent cost. So the rent is $1,600/month so I should make around $10,000/month if I want to get one.


    Anyone who got their own office care to share their experiences? I'm not talking about a home office, but a real office. Pros and Cons of having your own office? How much are you paying? What other expenses are involved in having an office?

    How is your business setup to look professional (LLC, website, business cards, phone number, business bank account, etc) and get things done (nice chair, multiple monitors, own office, employees/outsourcers, etc)?
    Analyze your current income and chances of increasing it in the near future. Then fit your office costs in it.

    Maybe, for starters try with a small office, and as the business grows, go with a bigger and more expensive one.
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  • Profile picture of the author Anthem40
    Coworking spaces should not cost you more than $500 per month. Most are in the 2-3 range.
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  • Profile picture of the author rob19028
    I would suggest shared office space. You rent 1 office in the suite, it comes with a lobby, a receptionist, copy center, conference room. You can look professional and be in a nice building for a fraction of the cost....You may even make good contacts in your suite for referral business.
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  • Profile picture of the author EnzoBlaque
    I wouldn't go down the route of shelling out for an office just yet.

    You really should build up suitable cashflow before you even consider adding anything to your overhead costs for now.

    Focus on generating Leads and testing how to best increase your conversions. Once you are producing at least double the cost of an Office in profits, THEN you can go ahead and do what you have to do.

    Until then, try to take it easy and work around the issues you have at home. Cashflow is the most important thing in the early stages of any business.

    Enzo
    Signature
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  • Profile picture of the author VantagePro
    Fortunately for me, one of the buildings my company manages also has some awesome office space (Luxury Hotel built in 1920). However, what I have noticed is that when I am in my office, as opposed to my home office, my productivity goes way up. In my case, I get distracted by my family when I am at home so YMMV.

    That being said, if I had to lease the space, I wouldn't. As long as I set boundaries at home , I can get plenty of work done. Plus, most of my meetings are conducted at the client's location or somewhere neutral ie. Starbucks.
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  • Profile picture of the author dropbear
    with the office rental market in a huge downturn, you should be able to find space to sub-lease from existing tenants (much cheaper than your own space), or find a building that is offering a 6-12 mth loss leader option..lots around for $1/sq ft for the first 6-12mths..They just want people in..look around and you will find a killer deal..
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