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8 Questions to Ask Before Opening a Coworking Space
Are you thinking of opening a coworking space in your town?
The shared workspace industry is booming right now, and the number of freelancers, independent professionals, and remote workers is skyrocketing.
There’s definitely room in the industry for more spaces. As Steve King from Emergent Research told shared space operators, “If two percent of corporations jump into coworking, you can’t handle the demand coming your way.”
To open a coworking space that will be successful, however, you have to do the right prep work. Here are eight questions Satellite Workspace and Satellite Deskworks CEO Barbara Sprenger suggests asking before opening a coworking space.
1. Who is the Competition?
Are there other coworking spaces in your town? Go visit them. What are they like? Do they cater to just one clientele? Can you see a niche for what you want to do?
Perhaps you want to be welcoming to a broader mix of people. The broader the mix of people you cater to, the bigger pool your market is and the more people there will be who are interested in your space.
2. What Space is Available in the Area?
If you have expensive space, you have less margin to make mistakes. Know the difference between full-service, triple net and gross leases as you’re comparing properties.
Never fall in love with just one space because, if you can’t get that one, you need to find another. You should always be putting in offers on about three at one time. This is assuming you’re just leasing space. There are other ways to do this where you’re partnering with a landlord or buying a building.
3. What Are the Demographics of the Area?
Do you have plenty of knowledge workers in the area you’re looking at? Your real estate broker will be able to provide a lot of this information for you. One tip is to find out how close the nearest Starbucks is. If they’re in the area, it’s one indication that you’ve picked a location with knowledge workers and sufficient traffic.
For most coworking models, you want to be in a vibrant town core, so think about what’s in walking distance: Restaurants? Coffee shops? Drinks? A park?
4. Do People in the Neighborhood Have Disposable Income?
Whether you like it or not, your cost to a potential member really does come out of disposable income. Your biggest competition is the dining room table.
As you look at the demographics of an area, look at those calculations of disposable income. Your best market is not one that is super wealthy or super poor. Areas where there are young kids are a good indication that people need a workspace. And areas where people live in smaller spaces are good.
Satellite Deskworks is clean and flexible coworking software designed by space operators. Request a free demo today.
5. Do You Have the Contractor Base You’ll Need?
Do you know about building out a site? There’s a good bit of actual construction in opening a coworking space. In some cases, the landlord can handle this for you, but you still need to have someone on your team who knows something about construction and contractors.
6. Do You Have a Good Designer?
Design is vitally important. Get a good designer. People have choices and sometimes they don’t even know why they’re choosing one space over another. They will choose to go into your space if it’s welcoming and bright. It doesn’t have to be expensively done, but it has to make you feel good to walk in and work there. Find spaces with as much natural light as possible.
Include green building strategies in your plans to reduce operating costs and demonstrate that you are environmentally thoughtful. Think about motion sensors for lighting. You’ll save on your utility and replacement costs if you put LED lighting in at the beginning.
We all like natural concrete and hardwood floors, but more hard surfaces make a place unpleasant to work in. Be sure you have enough soft surfaces to absorb sound. Be sure you have some kind of noise cancellation, whether you decide to use music, or white, pink, brown or grey noise.
7. How Will You Lay Out Your Space?
You are, in effect, renting space. You’re renting space and you’re converting it into a membership for use of the space. You can’t have a lot of wasted space. Think of how you can build around a courtyard feel, which will give you a sense of vibrancy.
8. What Type of Plans Will You Offer?
If you can do the work to be open 24/7, you vastly increase your pool. Even if your place is empty outside working hours, people want to know they’ve got 24/7 access if they need it.
Your demographics will help you define your plans. Do you have a lot of consultants who may just need to use conference rooms or offices to meet with people? Do you have remote workers who just need a few days a week? How about teams who want to share plans? With Satellite Deskworks, all of this is easy and automatically tracked.