You and your best friend built a small app. You didn’t expect your idea to take off, but people adopted it and made it grow. Now you’re unable to carry the weight on your own shoulders and need employees.

But you guys worked out of your home offices. You didn’t even think you’d need an office space. How do you even go about finding, leasing, and organizing an office space?

Today we give you a toolset. These tools will empower you in your journey to a functional and perfect office space. Here’s what you need in order to do that.

1. Begin At a Coworking Space

The cost of renting office space can be anywhere between $4k and $14k in the United States. And that’s per employee.

If you’re lucky, electricity and water are included. If you’re not lucky, you’ll pay extra.

Eventually, you will need your own space. You will need the privacy to ensure your company remains secure. But until that day arrives, why not use a more public space?

I’m talking about coworking spaces. These places allow you to rent desks and conference room space at a reasonable price. You’re among your peers and you can make connections and hire new blood on the go.

And what’s more, the coffee is free.

2. Consider Where Your Employees Live

The number of commutes longer than 90 minutes increased by 60% since 1990. Imagine spending three hours a day doing nothing but driving or riding a train. That’s 15 hours a week.

What could you do with 15 extra hours in your week?

This is why you should consider where your employees live when choosing an office space. If you choose one too far from where most live, you’ll end up cutting in on their family and personal time.

If people are time-poor, they make poor decisions in both lifestyle and work relationships. Their mental wellbeing will begin to deteriorate and their work will suffer.

But if you choose a space near their homes, you’ll see an increase in productivity. Family will be more involved and you’ll be able to invite people to awesome office parties.

3. It’s All Negotiable

The sad thing about contemporary society is that we’ve quit bartering. “The price is the price.” But in real estate, this is far from the truth.

In commercial real estate, you’re even more likely to get a deal. Agents in this market are used to bartering for their clients. Why? Because landlords don’t make money if their place sits empty.

Thus, you should be honest about what you feel you could afford. If you can’t afford the price listed, you might be able to get a five to twenty percent reduction.

You may not know about this hack: if you’re going to be in it for the long haul, you might be able to get some free rent. Say you want to sign a five-year lease. Pretend you were going to sign a two-year lease and then say, “well…I might be willing to sign a five-year lease if you give me a month free each year.”

You’d be surprised at the number of landlords who are willing to give a little to lock you in for a longer lease. It means less time their space sits and makes them zero money.

4. Rent More Than You Think You’ll Need

If you need office space now, you will need more later. And if you’re afraid you won’t use the space, use these ideas to fill the space:

  • Make an entertainment space
  • A do-it-yourself coffee space
  • Rent out unused space

As you can see, extra space is useful and it’s cheaper than you might think. Remember, you can always negotiate for price per square foot.

Also, depending on your lease, you might be able to build within your space. What if you wanted an executive suite for yourself one day complete with your own private bathroom. If you’re single, potential romantic partners will find this space exhilarating.

5. Make Open Office Spaces a Thing of the Past

It’s 1990. You’re sitting at your Apple Performa computer surrounded by three drab felt walls. You’ve personalized your space with film posters and pictures of your little ones. But you feel like a rat in a cage.

Fast forward to 2019, you’re in a space large enough to fit a small airliner. And there are no walls. If you glance to your left, there’s Amanda chomping down on her tofu salad. If you glance to your right, there’s Matt chatting away to some client. You can hardly focus on your work.

So what gives? Why did ditching the drab cubicle not work? You feel like you’re back to square one.

What’s the answer? Maybe better cubicles? Maybe miniature office spaces with doors and open ceilings?

What we do know, is that open office spaces don’t work. They don’t encourage collaboration the way big executives imagined. They create sensory overload and nobody wants that.

6. A Sublease Is Often an Option

If you can’t find a good coworking space solution or you want to upgrade from a coworking space, subleasing is always an option. If someone wants out of a lease, you might be able to get a cheaper rent price for a shorter-term lease.

Say someone has a two-year lease and they want out early. You can grab the year from them for cheaper. And you’re not stuck with a long-term lease if you end up needing to bug out early yourself.

7. Be Careful Which Landlord Your Work With

Your landlord is like your dad. You want a good relationship with them so they’ll come and fix your dryer when you need it.

But if you have a horrible lazy father, they’ll more likely shirk their duties in order to go out drinking. That’s what having a bad landlord is like.

You should meet your landlord and talk to other tenants before deciding on a deal. Remember, it’s difficult to break a lease once you’ve signed it. So be sure you’ve chosen the right person.

By Ben Mattice

Benjamin Mattice is a freelance writer/editor, horror and sci-fi writer, SEO and affiliate marketing newbie, dog wrestler, cat wrangler, capoeirista, and long distance runner. He lives in the Palouse with his wife, three dogs, two cats, and two rats. Yes, that would probably be considered a mini-zoo.