Serviced office buildings offer companies work space and all the amenities that come in a standard professional office for a convenient monthly fee. This type of service is becoming increasingly popular as businesses try to find ways to cut costs while keeping up a professional appearance in a tough economy. Opening a serviced office can be profitable, but careful planning is required to grow it into a successful business.
Pick a specialization, or niche, for your serviced office. This will enable you to offer only the amenities needed for certain industries, thereby saving money. For instance, you can choose to open your office to architects and interior designers, advertisers and publicists, attorneys and notaries, or graphic and print designers.
Lease a building large enough for the number of offices you want to rent out. Remember to set aside space for a break room, a conference room, a welcome area and a room for your copy machines.
Get the permits and licenses required in your area to start a service business. Depending on where you live, you may need a fictitious name certificate (DBA), employer identification number (EIN) or state tax identification number. Contact your local small-business development center to find out exactly what you need.
Purchase the amenities you will offer your clients, such as wireless Internet service, phone systems, desks, copy machines and fax machines. All these amenities are standard for serviced offices, but you also should offer things specific to your niche.
Decorate your office building in an attractive, yet professional style. Use a neutral color palette, pick quality furnishings and keep your niche in mind. For instance, a building for architectural firms would benefit from modern decor with plenty of lighting, while traditional decor would be more appropriate if you plan to serve attorneys.
Set pricing and policies for your serviced office business. For example, you can decide to charge $350 per month for each office and require that businesses schedule their conference room time at least 48 hours in advance.
Hire the staff you will need to provide services to your customers. This may include a security guard, if you will open a building with 24-hour access, and an administrative assistant.
Market your serviced office business. Consider buying ads in niche business publications, sponsoring local business conferences and conventions, and launching a promotional blog or website.
Melinda Gaines has been a freelance writer since 2006, with work appearing online for YellowPages and other websites. Her areas of expertise include business, beauty, fashion and sports. Gaines attended the University of Houston where she earned a Bachelor of Science in sport administration.