Space & Move Management

To Buy or Rent: Determining the Best Workspace for Your Company

David Spence
April 7th, 2016

Now this is a hot topic finding the perfect office space for your business. It can certainly be a very challenging task, but one that can be a lot of fun. As you search for the perfect workspace, you’ll start to envision exactly where you see yourself and your company in a month, in a year or even a decade down the line.

No matter if your company is large or small, there are certain things you’ll have to consider when looking for the ideal office space. Not only do you have to think about whether you want to rent or own a space or what sort of office would work best for you, but you have to find somewhere that caters to current requirements. Given the current commercial real estate market and flexible working — coworking, hoteling and hot desking  it’s more important than ever to ensure you understand your priorities as a business, as well as what you might need in the future. The space you choose not only speaks volumes about your company, it can also do a lot for your workplace productivity and really make or break whether you succeed or not. You need a place that caters to the inner workings of your company. That said, here are three things you should consider when looking for your next workspace.

How Much Space Do You Need?

Office Space Large Windows

Not every business needs floor-to-ceiling windows or a foosball room. The kind of space you’re looking for will largely depend on the industry you’re in.

If you’re a tech company or a company that’s looking for an space that promotes creativity, then you might want to consider an open floorplan setting. However, if you’re a law firm or a company that demands client confidentiality, then you’ll want a layout that allows for more privacy, while balancing workplace design and employee happiness

You might also want to consider what office amenities are must-haves for your workers. For instance, does the building you’re thinking of moving into have a large enough kitchen space for all of your employees? Does it have a meeting room where you can speak with clients? Does it have nap rooms, call booths or a gym? Once you’ve defined your needs, you can begin to look for a space that’s the right fit.

Should You Buy or Rent?

Office Buying Versus Renting

One of the biggest determinants of your office space selection will depend on if you’re looking to buy or rent. The markets for buying or renting an office space are often different. Plus, they will require varying degrees of investment.

Think about the long-term goals of your company. For instance, if you’re a startup with 5-10 employees, there’s a chance you could expand to 60 employees in a single year. Your company vision or offerings are also prone to change. This means that if you buy a building, you could soon find yourself in a space that doesn’t fit all of your workers or that doesn’t accommodate your specific needs.

On the other hand, if the size of your company is relatively stable and you have a predictable rate of employee turnover, buying a space might make more sense for your company. These scenario-based questions below, could help you with your choice. 

Buy a Building if:

  1. You want to make considerable renovations to the property and would like complete  
  2. You want to avoid rent increases implemented by the landlord.
  3. You’re considering purchasing a building where the land values are set to increase.
  4. You’re a mature company who wants to take your business to the next level.

Rent a Building if:

   1. Maintaining current business cash flow is vitally important, since renting requires a
       lower upfront investment.
   2. You don’t want to get involved in regular building maintenance duties.
   3. You want to continue to have the freedom of mobility and  maintain a flexible office
   4. You don’t have a high-enough credit rating to support buying your dream building.
   5. You haven’t found a suitable property that can cater your business needs in the long-

Buying a place might require a larger upfront investment, but the monthly costs could be cheaper. Renting a building will require a much lower initial investment, but you aren’t working towards building ownership. Weigh these considerations when deciding what the right fit is for you and your team.

What About Something More Flexible?

Office Furniture Setup

Especially if you’re a startup or a small company, buying or renting a traditional space might not be right for you. There are many alternative office structures you should consider before locking yourself into one tried-and-true method.

If you’re set on keeping your company small, yet prefer to have a space you can call your own, then look into renting or buying a smaller office space you can easily customize. For instance, if you have a flex office setup where you allow workers to work from home on occasion, then you don’t want to lock down a building that’s too large for your company.

In some cases, you might even consider a shared office structure where your employees co-work with their own team members, as well as various other companies and freelancers. When searching for a co-working space make sure you choose a place that has enough space for all of your team members and also comes with the amenities your business needs to run, such as meeting rooms, isolated desks and unlimited access to printers.

If you’re looking for something in between the above two options, consider small-business incubator spaces in your neighborhood. These environments are perfect for growing companies that want access to services like mentorship and often offer discounted rents to their members.

More thought and research means a greater chance of finding the right spot that benefits your employees and company at the same time. Take the needs of your company into account and choose an office setting that not only looks good, but makes sense for you and your company’s future.

Photos: John Salzarulo, Leeroy, Jay Mantri, joeflintham