Three ways for startups to save on office space

If you are creating a small start-up, you may want to find ways to save money on office space. Still, it is always better to have an office than to work out of your home. Companies with offices are seen as more reliable…and in our experience, companies with an office do a better job somehow. Interesting. Here are three ways to get less expensive or free office space:

1) Find a big company that has extra office space and is willing to make a deal with you: this could be a company that trades you office space for work (IT, design, phone work, or admin work of some kind). If you have a few connections, try asking around. One young woman we know was pleasantly surprised that several business owners she knew were enthusiastic about the idea. She made a deal: she did marketing and social media work for the company two days a week to ‘pay’ for the office space, a 12′ x 12′ area that was used as storage for old file cabinets and separated from the larger office with a fold-out partition. Within 8 months, she had enough clients to move her office–but chose to stay at the same location for a monthly fee…and a better space. Her company eventually provided the company she rented from with all kinds of services, and they had an excellent working relationship that referred her several other big clients. She eventually moved her office across the hall and now has several employees.

2) Rent an office by the hour or the day: depending on what type of business you have and whether or not you have employees, you may not need an office 24 hours a day. If you need one only a few times a month to meet with sub-contractors and clients, you can easily find such offices. Companies like in the Washington, D.C. area will rent you space in different parts of the city or the region depending on where you need to have client meetings. Every city has office rental companies that will rent you space by the hour, take phone messages for you, and give you a phone number and an address for your mail. You can gradually build your business and get a permanent office when your company has a solid income.

3) Check out your local government offices: city government is downsizing, and depending on where the office is, you may be able to get space there. Again, you can offer to trade your skills to get the space you need. Keep talking to them, find the decision maker, and go meet with him or her and convince them that you are someone they want around. Find out what they really need (someone to answer the phones?) Then, if you like the space, make them an offer that will help them fulfill that need. One young marketing entrepreneur ended up supervising and training a group of callers one day a week, and later offered free weekend classes in telemarketing in exchange for the space. He was adept at making all sorts of calls, and he was good at explaining the whole calling process to others. He discovered that training people to answer the phone and training telemarketers was actually a great niche for him in his area, and these trainings became popular and started a whole new business for him. He is in part responsible for developing the call-center industry in his area of South Carolina.

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