Most freelancers work from home–especially when they are starting out. Using space and equipment that you already have makes sense. Working from home is convenient, and it cuts down on your start up costs.
There comes a time for some freelancers, however, when it’s time to move your business out of your house and into an external office space specifically dedicated to your freelance business.
This post examines when you may want to consider renting an office. We also list some signs that your freelance business is probably not ready to move out of your home. Finally, we describe some of the benefits of having an external office space for your freelance business.
When Should You Consider Renting an Office Space?
Office space can be at a premium in some large cities. However, there are some real office space bargains located just minutes outside of many metropolitan areas. Often, you can lower your costs even more by sharing the office space (and often professional staff, such a receptionist or administrative assistant) with other local professionals.
Here are some signs that your freelance business may be ready to move out of your home:
- You have frequent face-to-face meetings with clients, but no place to hold them
- You have local employees and/or subcontractors that you need to work with often
- Your home is too noisy or has too many distractions for you to get your work accomplished
- You don’t have a dedicated work space at home
- Your business’s bottom line is healthy and you can afford the added expense of an office
Having an external office also provides some benefits to your freelance business.
Benefits of Having an External Office
There are many benefits for freelancers who decide to establish a professional office space.
Here are just a few of them:
- Having a physical location projects an image of stability to clients
- Sharing an office space with other independent professionals provides you with the opportunity to socialize, as well as brainstorm, with them
- You can leave your work spread out in the evening and no one will disturb it
- If you share office expenses with another professional, you may be able to afford administrative staff that would otherwise be out of your financial reach
- It gets you out of the house
Of course, renting an office space is not for every freelancer. The vast majority of freelancers will likely continue to work from home.
Some Signs that You Are Not Ready to Rent an Office
Would renting an office space be beneficial for your freelancing business? Here are some signs that your business might not be ready quite yet:
- All of your clients are long-distance, you never have face-to-face meetings with clients
- You do have a dedicated workspace in your home for your business
- You already have a place to meet with clients in your home
- Your freelancing business is just barely getting by (financially)
- You are just getting started as a freelancer and not ready to commit to renting an office space
One of my earliest encounters with a freelancing was through a woman who rented her own professional office space. As a young corporate employee (at the time), I can tell you that I was impressed by the fact that she had an actual office for her business. Back then, having an office seemed like the pinnacle of success to me.
However, freelancers should be aware that there is a lot involved with renting and maintaining an office space. Here are some questions to ask:
- Are utilities included in the rental fees?
- What is the minimum deposit required?
- What sort of notice do I need to give if I decide to discontinue the lease?
- Are telecommunication services included in the lease?
- Where is the parking (and is there an additional cost)?
- Does the lease include security services?
- How is the mail delivered?
- What other services are included in the cost of the lease?
Can you think of additional questions?
Where Is Your Freelance Business Located?
First off, I have to be totally honest on this one. Despite being impressed by my colleague many years ago, my freelance office remains in my home and I have no plans to move it elsewhere any time soon.
However, I do understand that renting an office space can be a positive experience for many freelancers.
Do you rent an office space currently? Why, or why not?
If you are currently renting an office space outside your home for your freelance business, how do you like it? What advice would you give to other freelancers who are considering the same move?
Leave your answers in the comments.
Image by jwthompson2