Are you a budding entrepreneur who's tired of coffee shops and doing work in your garage? At a certain point in almost every entrepreneur's journey, you have to move out of the house and into an office.
Despite the world becoming more "remote work friendly," there are tons of benefits to having office space. For one, having a place to meet with clients goes a long way in building long-lasting business relationships. A commercial business address also enables your company to rank higher on Google. And even if you want to hire a top-tier intern, most universities require a physical location. The list of benefits goes on and on.
Important as having an office is, many entrepreneurs just don't think they have it in the budget to rent a space early on. Lucky for you, there are some best-kept secrets when it comes to securing office space for cheap--or even for free. Here are four of them.
1. Exchanging Services for Space
If you provide a service like graphic design, digital marketing, filmography or something similar, chances are high you'll be able to secure affordable office space if you put in the legwork. The reason is a ton of businesses are in need of these sorts of services, but not every one can afford them. This is how a friend of mine, who was starting a film production company, was able to negotiate a deal with an office in his hometown. The company that owned the space had been wanting to launch a YouTube channel for a long time, so it was a perfect exchange.
To get started, do a Google search of office space near you, compile a list of 10-20 prospects, then send out an email inquiry to all of them with your offer. Whether that offer is three videos produced per month in exchange for an office, social media management, or unlimited graphic design, eventually you'll find a suitor.
Pro Tip: In addition to standard office spaces, nonprofit organizations are a hot bed when it comes to exchanging services for space. These organizations are often running on tight budgets, so many are in need of these kinds of services.
2. Coworking Spaces
Coworking spaces aren't only more affordable than standard office space, they also provide early-stage companies with many other benefits. One is the community and constant networking opportunities available through a coworking space. If you provide a niche service, a coworking space can be "referral heaven" for you and your business.
Much like the method outlined in the previous point, there are many coworking spaces that would be happy to exchange a desk or private office in exchange for creative services.
If you live by a metropolitan area, chances are high that your city will have some sort of accelerator program for startups and early-stage businesses. These are terrific opportunities to land office space for cheap or even for free. These accelerators will also give you access to mentorship, resources, networking, and referral opportunities and more. Conduct a quick Google search to see if there are any accelerators near you.
4. Your Local Chamber of Commerce
A city's Chamber of Commerce is another hidden gem when it comes to finding office space at reasonable rates. By partnering with the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce, this is how we secured space for my company's monthly meetup at an incredible rate. The Sherman Oaks Chamber was trying to get a tighter grip on the startup and entrepreneurial community, and we were looking for amazing event space, so the partnership is mutually beneficial. The same can be done for permanent office space and with other chambers.
Finding affordable office space is tricky. It's also something that seems to be kept low-key for fear of an entrepreneur coming off as cheap or too frugal. Yet, like most things in life, there's always room for negotiation. Do your research, get creative with the services you could provide in exchange for the space, put in the legwork, and things will eventually fall into place.