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Simon O'Brian
Simon O'Brian
  • 2 Minute Read
  • 10th June 2011

The benefits of serviced offices

Serviced office accommodation is increasingly popular, particularly among start-ups and small businesses, and it’s not hard to see why.

Also called an executive suite or executive space, serviced offices are furnished, maintained and cleaned by a facilities management company so the tenants only have to manage their business, not the building.

Serviced offices are generally available on much more flexible rent terms too – a major boon for start-ups and fast-growing businesses.

If a business opts for traditional office space then rent forms only part of the total cost. To that you must add up-front costs including the deposit, typically three months’ rent, legal fees, surveyors’ fees, furniture and the installation of telecom and IT infrastructure; and ongoing costs like rates, a service charge, utilities, cleaning and maintenance and admin staff.

Even terminating a lease can entail further costs, for example legal and surveyors’ fees. By contrast there are no exit costs with serviced offices and little upheaval – you simply move out your equipment and paperwork, leaving the furniture behind and cleaning duties to the company that manages the space.

If you lease office space in the traditional fashion you are burdened with maintaining the premises. Prima facie, a lease could be given on generous terms, but if the building is dilapidated then costly repair jobs could soon mount up.

Financial planning is more difficult with the conventional lease model because your monthly outlay isn’t reliably consistent. A leak in the roof could suddenly develop and cost you hundreds to repair – hundreds you hadn’t budgeted for.

Fixed price

Serviced office centres, by contrast, offers all-inclusive pricing. You pay a fixed amount each month, including not only rent but business rates, utilities and ongoing maintenance and cleaning costs, so making financial projections becomes much easier.

With the serviced office owner taking care of building maintenance, from basics such as replenishing soap and paper towels in the toilets to replacing light bulbs or fixing broken windows, you’re liberated from running the building – instead you can focus fully on running your business.

With serviced accommodation you typically enjoy fully-furnished offices with integrated telephone systems, broadband, reception and answering facilities, use of common areas and free car parking. It’s not unknown for free tea and coffee to be provided too.

It’s also a more flexible arrangement. As your business grows, or indeed streamlines, you can move to more appropriately sized premises at short notice. Traditional office leases tie you down for at least three years, up to as long as 10 years, with penalties for exercising a break clause.

It’s generally difficult to find leased space smaller than 1,000 square foot, precluding start-ups with two or three employees from choosing this option. A serviced office centre, on the other hand, will happily provide a single desk for the self-employed website owner who has developed cabin fever working alone at home.

Small wonder, then, that serviced offices are growing in popularity, particularly with start-ups with modest budgets and a need for flexibility. That said, serviced office space is a cost-effective and convenient option for medium-sized companies too.