When I decided to go out on my own. Be my own boss. Work for myself. The very first thought was where am I going to open my practice. My next thought was where would my clients fill the most comfortable. Really that last thought was what guided my search. I needed a space that was comfortable, safe and airy. I made of list of several spaces I would be interested in growing my business. They were:
- Professional office space
- Physical therapy office
- A wellness center
The Professional Office Space
I ultimately choose my own professional office space in a community shared suite. That’s a mouthful. I gave my search a lot of thought. I looked at a variety of setups before finding the perfect spot.
My suite is filled with independent professionals. Although I thought about renting out an entire suite for myself in the past. I didn’t want the burden of that high cost of rent or finding tenants to rent out the extra space. Nor did I want to grow a full fledged business. So this single 8 x 10 office was an excellent solution. It was big enough for me to create a real welcoming environment.
There are many many examples of these professional office spaces. But what drew me to mine was its waiting room and there were other tenants that had complimentary practices. In my suite there’s a hypnotherapist, 2 speech therapists, a marriage family counselor, a life coach, an esthetician, an in-home caretaker and of course, me. So I never feel alone. Also, my clients like the vibe that there are other people around. It makes for the appearance that we’re part of a greater network. This has proven to be great for satisfying client comfort and safety. On the flip side still allows me to be 100% independent of everyone in the suite. One last note about this community office is through natural progression we all refer to one another and it has become an unexpected generator of clients.
I remember looking at other suites that didn’t have such a dynamic environment, a waiting room or were filled with non complimenting professionals like lawyers and relators. Which bring me to my next point.
Know what you are looking for when you head out searching. I made this list of must haves to get me through my searches. I would only allow my space to not have one thing. If it had more than one, it was out of the question.
|Light parking||√||Month to month lease||√|
|Handicapped parking||√||Less $600/mo||√|
|Location easy to find||√||Close To home||√|
|Waiting room/area||√||Close to food, shops||∗|
This list is basic. The asterisk sign means these were things that would be nice to have but not necessary. I purposefully made it that way because I knew I wanted to make the space conducive to bodywork and therapeutic massage. I just needed the space to have good bones. The rest was up to me. My space isn’t picture perfect but over time I have created it to be a functioning space that can accommodate all of my clients. I have been in it for 6 years at the time of this posting with hopes of being in it for 6 more.
These types of offices can range from $250-$800 a month. Depending on location and size. I opted for a nicer office to accommodate my clientele. My office has a window. It is at the end of the suite to cut down on noise and foot traffic across my doorway. The office is the largest in the suite. That paired with the window creates a sense of openness in the room.
Cost played a major factor in my decision but I didn’t want to compromise on my space. So I had to compromise in other ways. In order to keep my rent low I ended up signing a year lease with a one month deposit. There after my lease would be yearly renewals versus month to month renewals. This was the compromise I made to get a lower rate but nicer office. This particular suite is owned by a couple. So I was able to have that discussion with them about cost and leases. Where as if it were a management leasing company it would have been a no go.
I was all in. I knew that I was going to open shop and move forward. There was no second guessing my business plan.
How did I decide the things I needed in an office space?
I rolled played. Pretended I was the client coming to visit me for the first time. Walked myself through all the stages leading from my house to getting on the massage table. Took notes along the way. As I was finalizing my list and setting up my business, I would go on Living Social and Groupon to get massage deals. I would then make appointments taking notes along the way about the pros and cons of every interaction I had.
- How easy was it to get there?
- Was parking easy?
- Is there handicap parking?
- Easy to get there?
- How was the check in process?
- Are the people in the office nice?
- Is the place clean?
- Where’s the bathroom?
- Do I have to fill out a form?
- Is the room comfortable?
- Was I on time with my services?
- Did I wait a long time to get worked on?
- Was there water?
I think you get my point. In the end these were very good learning tools that helped me decide on critical aspects of my business and its location. They were absolutely worth the investment in time and energy. Because now I have a workspace that I’m proud of and has allowed me to build a successful thriving practice.
A few more things that come to mind
I did my search through Craigslist. There were plenty of options. These types of units are always readily available. Rarely was I asked to do a credit check. Most cases it took only a deposit to hold the office. I used my intuition about places. I never ignored it. Sometimes I was tempted to because the place looked awesome or it had awesome amenities. This is where my list really helped guide me. I choose a space that sent the signal to clients that I’m a working professional that is serious about my craft. It works.