When Do You Need Coworking Software? 9 Tips for New Workspace Operators
When do you need software to run your coworking space?
The short answer is, before you open the door.
There are definitely ways to create a tech stack that handles different aspects of running your space and business. Lots of coworking spaces launched that way in the early days.
But it’s not ideal, and there’s no reason for it.
Coworking software, such as Satellite Deskworks, takes numerous operational and onboarding todos off your plate so you can focus on what you do best: creating a vibrant coworking community and experience.
As Deskworks founder and CEO, Barbara Sprenger explains, “We’re too far along for people to figure out all the components that unified software now covers. They should have it from the very beginning.”
If you’re thinking about setting members up on Quickbooks or an accounting system, think again. These tools are great at what they do, but they’re not built to run a coworking business. They don’t allow you to make reservations, communicate with members, track space usage against a plan, or track mail. For all of these, you’ll need software designed to run a workspace.
If you’re on the fence about whether you need coworking software, and which one to choose, here are some insider tips from Sprenger, gleaned from many years of running sustainable spaces and workspace companies.
1. Your Software Should Grow with You
You may be starting small, but all signs are looking good for a workspace wave in the (hopefully) near future. Set yourself up for success by choosing coworking software that seamlessly scales with you.
You should be able to easily add new products and offerings and allow members to join the space, reserve meeting rooms, buy daypasses and update their billing information on their own. Automating space operations where it makes sense to do so, is a key to running a sustainable space. Make sure you can add links to purchase products directly on your website to help people be as self-sufficient as possible.
2. Your Coworking Software Should Be Affordable
There is no reason to stretch yourself thin paying for software that outsizes your needs. Find a solution that works for you and your budget right now. Satellite Deskworks is a cost effective solution for running your space today, whether you have 20 members or 2,000 members.
Deskworks pricing plans are cost effective for small, boutique spaces, as well as scaled workspace brands with dozens of locations.
3. Your Coworking Software Should Be Flexible
Your software should make it easy for you to add new membership tiers, add new products, adjust pricing and offerings, create on-the-fly packages and more. And it should be painless to do so. You want the flexibility to create products that fit your market needs at any time.
4. Start Tracking Transactions Right Away
Even if you only have a few members right now, it’s important to have a system and workspace software in-place to track transactions, such as room reservations, mailbox plans, recurring billings, one-time charges, printing and plan usage.
“Otherwise,” says Sprenger, “you’re going to pile up a mess that you‘ll have to clean up later.” She adds, “You probably got into coworking because you like people and want to engage with them. So don’t burden yourself with a lot of back office detail that can be handled automatically.”
5. Your Coworking Software Should Bill Automatically
Regardless of how small or large your coworking space is, you do not want to have to manually bill members each month. Without coworking software, you’ll have spreadsheets and floating dates to bill various members on various plans.
Deskworks lets you automatically prorate the membership plan cost at startup and termination, regardless of when someone joins, and bill everyone on the first of the month—or not, if that’s your choice. The important point is, the decision should be based on how you want your business to function, not because the back office structure would be too difficult otherwise.
6. Don’t Be Blinded By Shiny Things
The true measure of your coworking software is its comprehensive functionality and simplicity. When looking for coworking software, don’t be blinded by shiny things. Dig deeper into the true functionality of the software features. You need a system that will do the basics, including setting up and tracking different types of plans, creating recurring billings and adding one-off items, really well.
7. Find the Coworking Software that Works for You
As you research coworking software, know that you’ll probably change your structure and operations as you grow. Find a software solution that can change with you. How easy is it to add new plans? How easy is it for your members to use? Can it grow as you grow? What’s it going to be like when you have your second, third, fourth workspace? Look down the road now to make sure growth will be easy later.
Does the software integrate into your brand? What’s the whitelabeling like? You’ve put a lot of energy into building a space and brand. Make sure your software reflects that.
8. Work with Humans
This is a growing, changing industry. Is the workspace software provider open to your specific needs? What’s their customer service like? Are you dealing with real people or do you feel like you bought software online and you may get a response to your email or you may not? Go with software providers that understand coworking, you, and your specific space.
9. Set Off On the Right Foot
To set off on the right foot, start using coworking software as soon as possible. The right software will help streamline your operations, drive membership, and make running a space as efficient and automated as possible, so you can focus on growing your business.
Satellite Deskworks can work for you. Contact us to learn more and schedule a free consultation.