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Shared Desk / Office Space - your views

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by thisnorthernboy, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. Hi all,

    In the search for some office space for myself I have begun to consider the possibility of hiring larger premises and offering desk space to fellow creative professionals to hire by the month.

    I would plan to provide a nicely equipped office space. Each ‘tenant’ having a desk, chair, drawers, cupboard etc. Phone lines would be provided - although calls would be billed. Wi Fi, coffee and tea, kitchen space, toilets, printers, photocopier etc would all be provided free of charge.

    I would also try to offer a small meeting room for presentations or client meetings.

    I would like to think that the benefits of several professionals sharing a workspace would be opportunities to work together and simple sharing of ideas and inspiration.

    Does this sound like something as fellow designers and creatives you would be interested in? On a theoretical basis (location not withstanding) what facilities would you be looking for in rented office space? How much would you be prepared to pay?


    Thanks for taking the time, in advance, to give me your opinions.

    Rob
     
  2. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    I think it's a nice idea, and would work great in a perfect world, but unfortunately it's not!
    Even though you would all be sharing office space you would still be competitors in similar fields.

    I guess if you screened the 'tenants' and made sure there were no conflicts (designer, illustrator, coder) etc, it might work nicely. It's very dependent on the individuals I guess.

    In some studio environments (a lot of people working for the same company), there can be a lot of competition and back stabbing. Surely this would only get worse if everyone had separate business interests.

    On the other hand, if there are willing professionals that can be open and forthright it might work nicely. It certainly sounds like a nice set up for freelancers trying to get started.
     
  3. Thanks for your comment Ken,

    I did think about that - but most freelancers have their own sources of work, whether contacts, existing clients, referrals etc, so it's not as if the group would be waiting for someone to come through the door and then compete to win the work.
    I see the whole thing more as a way to share some overheads, pool resources.
     
  4. Thewholehogg

    Thewholehogg Active Member

    Pity you're not in Newcastle I would be interested.
     
  5. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    I read the discussion about where freelancers work, over at GoMedia and saw your comment. The idea does sound good after considering the different view points. Anyone that takes a desk can be as involved with everyone else as they choose to be. Some might be insular others might want to participate as a group.

    I certainly see the merits in the idea, just thought I'd try to voice a hypothetical downside to help balance your thinking.
     
  6. charles

    charles Senior Member

    It could work very well but it could also not be so great depending on the designers that you get in, in a way it's like having housemates and you have to select people in the same way.

    You may well be better off starting an agency if you already have the means to setup a work space.

    Personally I would set up a strong website with decent SEO hire a receptionist to answer email and arrange meetings etc and hire some grads that you can mould to your likings for cheapy cheap. If it doesn't work then rent em desk space :)
     
  7. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    Hi Rob,

    I think it's a great idea, I looked at a local version of this early last year, a very similar setup they had desk space available and all bills/rates were inclusive on the monthly price. They also had limits, so would accept 2 freelance developers, 2 graphic designers, etc. so were really focusing on getting a selection across the board. In the end I didn't go for it as was early days for my freelance work so couldn't be certain of my income with very few regular clients at that time.

    Do you already know a few freelancers who may be interested in it? May be easier to startup with a few contacts, I know we had a thread about desk space in London on here, but that was quite a while back now..

    Thanks,
    Greg
     
  8. Thanks for your input guys,

    Charles: I have thought about setting up an agency, but that may be something for another year or two down the road for me.

    Greg: The idea of having limited numbers of each type of professional is a good idea too. I know a few freelancers, but I would almost certainly have to advertise to fill the desks.

    I guess one way forward for me to think about would be a half way house between an agency and just offering desk space - putting together a kind of co-operative. Bringing together guys (and girls) with varied talents and trying to pull in work that can be shared out. It could either be on a flat fee or commission basis. Again though, I think that might come later.

    Thanks again for your thoughts.

    Rob
     
  9. Hi Rob,

    I think that this is an excellent idea but I urge everyone looking to rent/set-up desk space that stability is key. I sublet from a business which recently went under- one minute it was all hunky dorey and the next we were all being evicted without warning. Cut a long story short, it was all a bit messy so leases need to be sorted out and must be pretty watertight. Lesson learned.

    I am now working from home but would certainly be keen to rent some space with like-minded designers/creatives in London.

    Main things for me in terms of facilities would be:
    1.) Secure+a space that is mine alone for the duration of the time I am renting it (ie: NOT a hotdesk)
    2.) 24-hour access
    3.) Storage space plentiful (File cabinet, bookshelf etc)
    4.) Close to public transport (tube if possible)
    5.) As central as possible (but this may affect the rent of course)
    6.) A meeting room would be great but not essential for me (I telecommute mostly)

    I hope that helps! :)
     
  10. Russell

    Russell Member

    This can work very well, I used to rent desk space from a collective of freelancers and it provided a great working environment. Everyone had their own client base but It also meant if any any big jobs or pitches came through the door we could pool our resources and pitch as an group/ agency.

    Incidentally I'm in the process of setting up studio space in Leamington Spa with two other creatives, have our eyes on a great space with a large central room, meeting room and kitchen. If anyone Midlands based is looking for office space DM me for some details.
     
  11. Thanks Peter & Russell,

    All valuable comments, and it's reassuring to know that people think this is a good and viable idea.
    My next question is of course...

    How much would people be prepared for it? I know this is dependant on location, but as a rough idea?

    Cheers
     
  12. Russell

    Russell Member

    Really depends on the monthly cost of the premises and how many people you are sharing with. It may be worth while to offer a hot desking option for anyone who doesn't want a full time space (if you have room) so you can get some extra towards the rent. £150 - £200 a month would be about my limit.
     
  13. Thanks Russell,

    A little more info for anyone else reading...

    My plan is:

    An open plan office space to seat about 5 or 6 designers/creatives/programmers etc. Everyone having their own desk, cupboard, filing cabinet, good office chair and telephone.
    Community facilities of A4 laserjet printer, A3+ inkjet, cutting mat, scanner, good coffee machine, kitchen with fridge, kettle and microwave. A meeting room for presentations and (obviously) meetings and a comfy sofa or two with coffee table and a casual scattering of design magazines.

    The office would be open 24/7. A flat fee would be charged on a monthly basis, which would cover all the above. The only other additional cost would be for telephone calls (although I imagine most people would use their mobiles).

    I thought roughly in the £175 - £250 a month bracket. The location I have in mind is in SW London, by the river Thames and 5 minutes walk from a main line railway station. There is also a private car park.

    Feel free to keep your comments coming.

    Rob
     
  14. That sounds good Rob!

    In terms of cost £200 would be ideal with £250 being absolute maximum...
     

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