Becoming a Founder

The Founder’s Guide to Office Space

Thinking about moving your remote business to an office location? Get the skinny on office space options and what you need to know before making a move.

Blog Author - Justworks
May 4, 20235 minutes
Blog Author - Justworks

Justworks is a technology company that levels the playing field for all small businesses. Through our software and as a partner, we help our customers take care of their teams, streamline their operations, and navigate the complex aspects of managing a workforce with confidence.

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How do you know when it’s time to transition from being a home-based startup to getting your own office space? That’s a great question, with a lot of possible answers. We’re here to help navigate the options as you consider what might be best for you and your business.

When it comes to office space, there’s not really a one-size-fits-all solution that will work for every founder. Some businesses thrive without office space indefinitely, while others need a physical location sooner rather than later.


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To figure out what you need as a founder, start by focusing on how you’re feeling about where you’re working now.

  • If you’re perfectly happy working from your living room, garage, favorite coffee shop (or wherever you prefer to do your thing) and it’s not stopping you from growing your business, there might not be any reason to change your location.

  • If you’re feeling the need for a bit of separation between your work life and your life life, or if your business venture would benefit from a home base that’s not, well, your home, then it may be the perfect time to find some office space.

Regardless of which camp you’re in, it’s natural to start considering office space options as your business starts to grow. Here’s some more food for thought.

Office Space Options to Explore

Whether you’re not sure if it’s time to add “finding office space” to your already jam-packed to-do list, or if you’re pretty sure it’s time to take the leap, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the various office space options out there. It can be reassuring to know that you don’t have to buy a building or commit to a long-term lease just to secure a business location beyond your home (or that local coffee shop with great WiFi).

Join a Coworking Space

If you’re looking for a lower-cost, lower-commitment way of testing the office space waters, a coworking space might be just right for you. Think of a coworking space as a dorm for founders (but without the piles of laundry or dishes). This option provides scalable space solutions that are perfect for an initial venture beyond remote working.

Most coworking locations offer everything from open floor plan desks in a communal area that you can rent on an as-needed or month-to-month basis, to dedicated private offices or small office suites.

Coworking spaces are great options for founders who want to test the waters of office space. They’re ideal for solopreneurs and founders who find remote work to be isolating and who love the idea of being in a high-energy environment with like-minded entrepreneurs.

Find a Business Roommate

If you like the idea of sharing space, but consider coworking spaces to be a little… crowded, consider finding another small business owner who has a bit more office space than they really need. Let them know you’re interested in their extra space and offer to pay them to use a portion of it. They might just jump at the chance to team up with another entrepreneur who’ll help them make rent.

  • Reach out to people in your local business network and ask if they know of anyone who might benefit from renting you an office within their office space.

  • Network via Small Business Development Center (SBDC) events or Business Network International (BNI) chapters to meet potential office space roommates or referrals.

Assuming you can find someone who’s a good match, this can be a great option for founders looking for private office space without leasing a full suite or structure. If you need a visible storefront or exterior signage, this won’t be the best option. But if you’re just in search of four walls outside of your house, this might be ideal.

Lease Traditional Office Space

If you’re open to more of a long-term commitment (as commercial leases usually require a three- to five-year commitment), then you might be ready to lease office space of your very own. If that’s the case, you’ll need to think about both rent costs and build-out costs if you need to tailor the space to meet your needs.

  • The average office space in the U.S. costs just over $38 per square foot per year, which translates into $38,000 per year for a 1,000-square-foot office.

  • Per square foot prices vary greatly by location — the average is nearly $75 per square foot per year in Manhattan.

  • Unless you luck into a space that’s already set up perfectly for you, you’ll also need to factor in build-out costs (which start at nearly $200 per square foot).

Leasing commercial real estate is a big step, but if you’re all-in for the long haul and you need room for employees to work or a space where customers can visit you, securing commercial office space of your own may be the way to go.

Purchase Commercial Real Estate

If you’re sure you’re ready to commit to office space long-term, and you don’t like the idea of spending your money on rent, you could also purchase your own building. That’s a big commitment, though — complete with a possible mortgage, a 25% down payment, closing costs, maintenance costs, permits, zoning, and more.

  • You could work with a real estate agent to find a commercially zoned building for sale that’s just the right size for your business.

  • You could invest in a larger location with the intent of renting out space to tenants, but keep in mind that this would involve starting — and running — a whole other business.

  • You could look for a space that works as both an office and a home, such as a downtown structure with offices or a storefront downstairs, and separate living quarters upstairs.

  • Building an office is another option, but commercial construction starts at over $230 per square foot, and that’s not even taking into consideration the cost of land.

Buying a building is a big step, but — depending on your financial situation and the state of the real estate market in your area — it can also be a wise investment. If you’re not really sure if you need office space, it’s probably not time to take this step. But, if your business really needs a physical location and you’re in it for the long haul, office ownership may make sense.

Office Space vs. Fully Remote

Is it time to take the leap into office space? Or should you stay fully remote — at least for now? There are quite a few factors to consider as you move toward making up your mind.

Getting an Office

What’ll change if you decide to make the move to dedicated office space? Here are some things to consider:

  • You’ll have to pay out of pocket for your office space each month

  • You’ll be able to convert your home office back to living space

  • It may become easier to leave work behind at the end of the business day

  • You’ll have a dedicated place for yourself and any of your employees to work

  • You can hold meetings with customers and suppliers in your place of business

  • Going to an office means you’ll spend time and money commuting back and forth

Remaining Remote

What if you decide to keep things remote, at least for the time being? What can you expect?

  • You won’t have to spend any of your hard-earned money to pay for office space

  • Part of your living space will need to continue to be dedicated to your home office

  • It may be challenging to completely unplug from work when it’s time to stop for the day

  • As you add employees, you’ll need to hire people who thrive when working remotely

  • You’ll need to schedule client meetings at their office or meet them at a coffee shop

  • You won’t have to spend time or money traveling between your home and an office

Is it Time to Make a Move?

As a business founder, the ultimate decision on where to operate your business is yours. Don’t look at getting an office as a sign of success — that’s not necessarily the case. Think strategically and make the decision that makes the most sense for of your business goals.

If your business can be just as productive and profitable without an office as you would be with one, there’s really no reason to redirect a chunk of your revenue to real estate. However, if office space will contribute positively to your bottom line, then moving to an office — or at least a coworking space — may be just the right move.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.
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Written By
Blog Author - Justworks
May 4, 20235 minutes

Justworks is a technology company that levels the playing field for all small businesses. Through our software and as a partner, we help our customers take care of their teams, streamline their operations, and navigate the complex aspects of managing a workforce with confidence.

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