If your business has outgrown your kitchen table, then you might be in the market for an off-site office space to give your booming freelance business room to breathe. A great off-site office suite should offer all the amenities of a fully-functional corporate or commercial facility—break room, kitchen, media center, and security—as well as the flexibility and convenience of an informal, shared workspace.
Office suites became popular during the 90s, when soaring real estate costs forced many small businesses to migrate to more affordable “flexsuites,” individual office units or workstations with flexible leases and affordable rates. Typically, an executive office suite is part of a larger facility managed by a single proprietor.
MANY SUITES ARE IN BEAUTIFUL BUILDINGS IN DESIRABLE AREAS AND THUS MAKE A GREAT IMPRESSION ON CLIENTS
“Suite mates” share common rooms and equipment but have private, isolated spaces for conducting business. Office suites go by many different titles (business centers, serviced offices, flexible offices, and open offices, just to name a few) and amenities and services vary widely depending on the individual agreements between landlords and tenants.
One common denominator: Office suites can be an invaluable resource for solopreneurs looking to take their home-based business to the next level.
The Pros of Executive Office Suites
- The single greatest benefit of renting an executive office space is flexibility. Sign a lease tonight and your business can be up and running in the morning. Generally, suites in an established building are completely furnished, saving you both time and money.
- Office suites can be rented for almost any period of time. A week, a month, a year—some proprietors of office suite complexes even rent stations by the hour, just in case you need to host a meeting. Unlike the mortgage on an office building, leases are flexible and relatively easy to dissolve.
- Most office suites staff a full-time receptionist to greet customers, forward calls, take messages, and sort mail. Depending on the nature of your business, this alone can save you several hours of busywork every week.
- Whenever your business is ready to expand, simply rent another adjoining suite or decamp to a larger office.
- Network with other business owners in your building to cross-promote, share contact lists and leads, or simply form an informal social club of like-minded professionals.
- Many suites are in beautiful buildings in great neighborhoods and as such make a great impression on clients. The address on your letterhead is hard to beat too.
The Cons of an Executive Office Suite
- As a renter, you have little or no control over the layout, design, and furnishings. In fact, you may not even be able to bring your own furniture into the office. Remember, nothing in the suite is yours, so you cannot renovate, paint, or dramatically redecorate.
- Essential facilities such as conference rooms, parking, and bathrooms are shared with other tenants. Occasionally, this can lead to conflicts.
- You are always at the mercy of your fellow tenants. If someone fails to clean up a mess, or if a piece of equipment breaks down, you will need to rely on your landlord to fix the problem.
Office Suites Versus Coworking Spaces
Is there a difference between executive office suites and coworking spaces? Generally, yes, and which model represents the best fit for your business will depend largely on what you are hoping to gain from renting space in a shared facility.
The simplest way to understand the difference: executive suites focus primarily on “facilities” while coworking spaces focus on building “communities.” Coworking spaces tend to attract businesses clustered around a single technology or industry, such as web design, while executive suites often host a wide variety of businesses.
Just as the name implies, a coworking space seeks to build an active, dynamic network that encourages business owners and employees to collaborate, workshop, and review each other’s ideas.
If you are looking for a more private working space, then an office suite is probably your best bet.
By: Marshall Lee