Many successful businesses start with a home office. The startup costs, including overhead, can be lower if you’re working out of your home, but there are factors to consider before jumping into a home office.
How productive will working from home actually allow you to be? Will you be distracted by domestic chores that may need to be done? How often will business meetings occur in your space versus the customers’ space?
If any of these factors seem to be a detriment, it might mean it is time to consider relocating where you do your business. However, there are other factors to consider, including the fact that, without question, relocating to an office will increase the following costs.
Rent is the most obvious cost increase, but there are many others, including renter’s insurance and attorney fees. I strongly recommend having a business attorney review any lease you consider.
Other costs include office supplies, such as refreshments and paper products, building taxes (Will you be responsible for these? Remember the note about hiring an attorney.), trash removal, Internet access, and snow plowing or other grounds maintenance. While individually these may seem like small costs, they do add up and need to be included in your cost-to-perform service.
Also, do not forget about travel time to and from the new location, which may make your day longer.
Traditional Office Benefits
However, there are also many positives to establishing a traditional office:
- In some cases, a prospective customer may visit your home office and assume your business is too small to services his/her needs. A brick-and-mortar location can overcome that problem.
- A separate office can allow people to become more focused on the task at hand and increase business productivity.
- When establishing your company, it’s common for the owner to be the chief doer and planner as well as their own sales and marketing team. But additional space (and billings) allows all those projects to become jobs, which you can pass on to other staff.
Consider Your Goals and Business Size
In my opinion, the single most important question is the following: What are your goals? Is your goal to provide enough income for yourself or to grow much larger? There is no right or wrong answer to that question, because the answer is personal.
Tipping-points: It may be time to seriously consider a traditional office space if:
- Annual sales are approaching six-figures
- There is no separation between your home life and work life.
There is also one additional consideration if your business has employees on staff. Those people on the payroll will need a place to perform their work for you. Employees carry with them the need to address payroll services, taxes, and human resource needs, which can be a pro or con, depending on your point of view.