With the increasing availability of flexible serviced offices in the market, choosing the right space can become complicated and confusing when in reality, it should be an exciting process. Here are some questions that you should always ask your potential new office provider to help you get a better understanding of the value that they’re offering and to show them you know what you are talking about.

1. How many square feet are allocated to each desk space?

You may have heard office providers mention that their serviced office spaces are only X? amount per desk. Using a price per desk rate is now the most common way to advertise rented office spaces, and is a simpler way to work out how much you will pay for your space. However, It’s up to the office space provider to decide how many square feet (sqft) they allocate per desk meaning you could be comparing a selection of very similar¬† 12 desk offices at the same price per desk, yet the actual size of the office can be completely different. Here is an example of how 2 different office space providers might vary;

Office space provider 1

Advertised desk rate: £200 per desk

Advertised office size: 12 desk office

sqft allocated per desk: 25 sqft

Actual office size: 300 sqft

Office space provider 2

Advertised desk rate: £200 per desk

Advertised office size: 12 desk office

sqft allocated per desk: 50 sqft

Actual office size: 600 sqft

As you can see from the breakdown, whilst they both advertise a 12 desk space, one office is half the size of the other. As a guide, anything below 40 sqft per desk would start to become quite tight and uncomfortable. 50 sqft per space is a healthy amount per desk to go by although the provider should be listening to your requirements which may differ from their default office set-up. To save time, always ask for the total sqft and the floor plan of the office so you can make direct comparisons.

2. What’s included in the monthly price?

This may seem like an obvious question, but that’s down to it being the most important one. For any business, variable costs pose a risk to their growth and make budgeting difficult. Make sure to get a full breakdown of what is included and whether the inclusive monthly price is fixed. If there are any variables, be sure to find out the exact costs. Certain items could or could not be included for a variety of reasons. This choice is down to the office provider. Ask whether the following are included for a full picture;

  • Internet
  • Furniture
  • Service charges
  • Parking
  • Heating/air conditioning
  • Cleaning
  • Kitchen facilities (tea, coffee, sugar etc)
  • Meeting rooms
  • Maintenance
  • Telephony
  • Business rates
  • 24-hour access
  • Security
  • Building insurance
  • Contents insurance

Some of the above won’t always be expected to be included in the monthly price (contents insurance, business rates, meeting rooms) but the provider should always be open to sharing and give a full breakdown so that you can evaluate and make an accurately calculated decision.

3. What are the benefits to my employees?

Any forward-thinking business will know that its most valuable asset is its employees. This means that they will want their team to enjoy where they work as well as have a workspace that will attract new talent. Always ask what’s in it for your team. Is there a gym on-site or nearby where tenants get preferable rates? Parking? Cafes and coffee shops? Breakout areas? Does the workspace put on events that would be beneficial for investment in your employees? Your business should have a home which your team love.

4. What’s the deal with termination?

I’ve heard horror stories of clauses that have forced businesses into additional 12 months, so make sure you ask this question and read the small print before you sign. It goes without saying but what is said to you in person should be honoured in the lease or licence. A fair agreement would be a month or two written notice before the end of the agreement which means the client can leave on their expiry date. Watch out for terms that state you can only hand in the notice after the agreement making which would make what was agreed as a 12-month agreement, in reality, a 13 or 14-month agreement. In the case of a flexible rolling monthly agreement or long term lease, double-check how many months’ notice you have to give, typically you should only have to give a month’s notice.

5. What’s your parking ratio?

This question isn’t applicable to all workspaces, just those that have onsite parking. The office provider should be able to tell you how many spaces you will get with your chosen office, although this depends on how they manage their parking system. Some prefer to open parking on a first come first serve basis, however this only benefits the tenants that start work earlier than others. In terms of assigning a number of parking spaces per office. This means that you always are guaranteed your assigned parking spaces. All providers will have a parking ratio which is calculated by the maximum amount of people against the number of available parking spaces. For most outskirts and out of town locations anything above 3:1 is a healthy amount of parking (2 people per 1 space). this may not sound healthy but due to most companies not having all their employees in at one time, you’ll tend to find that this should allow for parking to be available for you and your staff.