Whether you’re just getting your business off the ground or looking to switch from a home office to a more official space, renting your first office is a big decision, especially in an expensive market like NYC. The biggest challenge for many people is finding a space that is large enough that fits your budget.
In order to make sure you find the perfect NYC office space for your business, you’ll want to spend some time researching and thinking about how you envision your business now and in the future. Before getting into the tips on finding affordable office space in NYC, your first step should be figuring out your space needs.
Figure Out Your Office Space Needs
Every business has different needs so there’s no cookie cutter space size or location that will make sense for everyone. With that said, there are a few basic factors you should take into consideration:
One of the most important aspects of finding your office space is the location. Will you need to be near certain businesses in order for your’s to flourish? For example, if you need to deposit checks daily, you’ll want to have your bank nearby. Or perhaps you have a lot of clients located in a specific area. You might want to have your office nearby so Office Space they can visit your office easily and vice versa. Don’t forget to look into key utilities such as high speed internet and access to public transportation.
Private or shared
If you’re an entrepreneur who’s starting a new company or looking to expand to a new market, you might be wondering if you should jump on the coworking bandwagon or opt for a private office. As you might expect, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. The biggest advantage coworking spaces offer is affordability. If you’re a team of one or just a handful, coworking is probably your best option. You’re able to get the benefits of a physical location at a fraction of the price you might pay for a private office space. Plus, most coworking locations provide furniture, electricity, internet, and other utilities. When your team grows, you can work with the space to move to a larger office on the floor.
If you happen to do a lot of client-facing work, then coworking might not be the best option. You generally don’t have much control over how the office looks and there’s not as much privacy. While you can book private conference rooms, you’ll have to work around the schedule of the other businesses in the building. Plus, it can be difficult to create that sense of confidentiality in these open floor layouts often found in coworking spaces. If your business will be dealing with a lot of confidential information then you should opt for a private office.
For private workplaces, you can calculate approximately how many square feet you need by multiplying the number of employees you have by the amount of space needed per employee. On average, employees need around 150 square feet for comfort. You should also consider the number of private meeting rooms you want as well as communal areas such as the kitchen, waiting room, etc. You should tack on around 500 square feet for conference rooms and 200 square feet for kitchens. Of course, if you have a tight budget, you can get creative and find ways to optimize your usage.
Lock in Your Budget
Office space is one of the largest operating costs of a business especially in NYC. Make sure to figure out your budget before you start looking for office space. From there, work directly with a broker and they can let you know what is realistic for your price range. The cost of office space varies drastically by neighborhood, building class, and amenities so if you’re on a lean budget, you’ll have to go to the outer boroughs. When renting a private space, you’ll have to cover the costs of electricity and internet. In some cases, you might even have to pay for water. Make sure to ask the landlord and broker what is included in your rent before you sign the lease! If you decide to go for a coworking space, most utilities are included in your rent.
In addition to your base rent, you also need to think about a security deposit and whether you’ll be required to pay some of the building’s taxes, insurance, and maintenance. Oh, and don’t forget the one-time broker’s fee once you sign the lease! At the same time, don’t forget that all of this can be negotiable. Just because an office space is listed as $4,000 a month doesn’t mean you have to agree to that amount. In general, you can negotiate between 5 to 20 percent lower than the listed price. You can even ask for free rent for the first couple of months. Office spaces in NYC are still looking for tenants as many companies have started to make the switchover to remote.
Investigate Your Landlord
Having a bad landlord is just as bad as having a bad boss. They can make your life and the life of your employees miserable. There’s nothing worse than having maintenance issues like a broken toilet or broken doors and not being able to get these fixed as soon as possible. Before you sign the lease, make sure to talk to some tenants in the building or co-working space to see how they feel about the landlord’s response to both emergency and non-emergency calls. If you live in NYC, you can also look up the NYC Department of Building information system and see if your building is listed. These listings will show you any violations that have been filed with the building whether that’s elevator issues or bedbug complaints.
Besides researching online and asking current tenants, take a look around the office to see how it’s being maintained. Are there a lot of cracks in the wall? Are the windows and facade clean? Do you notice any serious issues such as mold, holes in the ceiling, etc? All of these point to poor management. Even if the price is low, you’ll likely end up wasting a lot of time, money, and energy chasing down a bad landlord.
Ask Employees for Feedback
Your employees will be spending 40+ hours a week at the office so it’s important to consider their opinions. While you might not be able to meet everyone’s needs, you can hopefully figure out a compromise that keeps most of them happy. Perhaps the most important feedback is location. You want to make sure your employees can easily commute to the office. As a point of reference, the average commute time in NYC is around 25 minutes. You could ask what train lines everyone lives off of and look for locations near the majority of people. This is especially important in a place like NYC as most people take the subway to work. While generally convenient, it can become a headache if you need to travel cross-town or transfer to multiple train lines.
Besides finding a great location, getting a new office space also gives you a chance to offer new perks to employees – if you can afford it. Around 87 percent of workers want their employers to offer healthier workspace benefits such as:
- Wellness rooms
- Company fitness benefits
- Sit-stand desks
- Healthy lunch options
- Ergonomic seating
While you might not be able to offer all of these benefits, especially with a limited budget, you might be able to spring for better desks and chairs. These can make a huge difference in your employees’ quality of life so you should try to find ways you can invest in these options while still remaining within your budget.
Relocating to Your Perfect Office
Whether you’re getting a private or coworking space, having a location where you and your employees can focus can have a huge impact on the overall success of your business. Once you’ve found the perfect NYC office space, make sure to call up reliable NYC commercial movers for all your needs.