With the increasing pace of economic changes and difficult times globally, most organisations feel that corporate or office property solutions should provide greater flexibility and elasticity to control the costs. Owned or traditionally leased / rented office space is a long-term fixed asset, the cost of which may continue to rise because the desirable flexibility is not available.
The greatly improved technologies and gadgets including 3G, 4G, Fibre Optic Broadband, Cloud Computing and video conferencing allow you to work from practically anywhere instead of commuting to your office daily.
Both the above factors have contributed to the popularity of the Business Centres offering flexible virtual offices, serviced offices, meeting rooms and other services. Recent research data shows that Virtual Offices and Serviced Offices Market has grown rapidly during past five years of global economic turbulence.
In this article, we will try to see if Serviced Offices and Virtual Offices in a suitable business centre make a better business sense as compared to having your own leased office space.
Benefits of a virtual or serviced office in a Business Centre
A virtual or a serviced office can be taken up at a Business Centre almost immediately. As soon as you sign up a simple License Agreement, provide proof of ID and address proof, pay the upfront retainer / deposit and advance license fees you can start operating from your new office. You can call this a ‘plug-and-work’ office space solution.
A virtual office or a serviced office in a business centre can be licensed for a period from as little as one month. Or, you can hire a meeting room for a day or few hours; like when you are travelling to London to meet a few clients or you wish to interview a few applicants in a day.
If you enter into a longer term contract for one year or more, you will usually get a better rate, which may help you in fixing your costs for a longer period. Office space and business support services on pay-as-you-go basis.
Flexibility of contract:
Most Business Centres offer flexible solutions like virtual office with telephone answering or virtual office with messages forwarding and hot desking, serviced workstations, one person offices, two person offices and office suites to meet your requirements.
If your business grows faster than you anticipated, you may be able to upgrade and take bigger space subject to your agreement. If, in the unlikely event, your business does not grow as fast as you expected, you may be able to downgrade and take smaller office space or may be able to terminate your contract usually by giving the agreed notice as stipulated in your contract.
A virtual office or a serviced office at a business centre is an ideal place to start a new business, test a new market or open a regional office or an international subsidiary / branch without huge upfront costs. If you are bidding for Government / Council Contract / tender and if you need to show a local presence, a virtual office or a serviced office at a local business centre can help you. You are not required to enter into lengthy lease agreements running for 3, 5 or 10 years and usually no credit checks or personal / directors guarantees are required. There is also no need to show a trading history. All you need is initial payment that covers the deposit and the first License Fee Payment and documents to prove your identity and address.
Low Initial Capital Expenditure:
A serviced office at a business centre would usually be fully furnished as standard, with each work station providing a desk, chair, telephone handset, Internet Connection facility and filing cabinet. You just need to bring in your laptop or desktop computer and connect to Business Broadband or Wi-Fi facility provided by the Business Centre.
Virtual / Serviced office at any Business Centres will also mean that you get reception services where your telephone calls can be answered in your company name and the reception staff is also available to meet and greet your clients and to accept delivery of letters and packets addressed to you.
On the other hand, if you decide to lease your own office space, you will need to first complete legal formalities like lease deed for which you may need to spend on solicitor fees. You may also need to arrange for new telephone lines and internet connections which take time for installation and there are installation charges and minimum contract periods of 12 – 24 months involved. You will also be required to get the utility connections transferred in your name and responsible for payment of utility bills. Apart from this, you are liable to pay service charges and business rates. These costs usually keep rising with passage of time.
Continued Low expenses on Serviced Office:
Virtual office or a Serviced office at a Business Centre would mean that you do not need to make any payments for Business Rates (Council Taxes on commercial property), electricity, heating or towards maintenance / service charges and you only pay your agreed monthly License Fees. You do not need to hire full-time reception and admin staff and you can use these services as pay-as-you-go service as and when you need them.
Your License Fees will remain the same for your entire contract period and hence it usually is beneficial to have longer term contract.
Add to your Prestige and business image:
Virtual or Serviced Offices provide prestigious address for your business at a fraction of full-fledged office which adds to your business image.
So, whether you are just starting up a new business or an established business, virtual or serviced office can save a lot of time and money and makes a better business sense.