Paying for office space

At the end of every month, when its time to pay the office rent, I always think of Sameer (Morpheus).

And thank him silently in my mind!

In January, when we were looking for an office space, I was very enthusiastic about getting a nice posh space for ourselves. After all, we already had 6 figure revenues. Also, we would get 5 lakhs from the Morpheus fund.

“We deserve a good space”, I used to think – altruistically!

I looked at places that were nice. And most of them were upwards of Rs 25,000 in rent. Plus that monster called ’10 month advance deposit’.

We zeroed in on a couple of them. I sent the snapshots to Sameer. The rent was something like Rs 30,000 and 3 lakhs of deposit.

I think Sameer didn’t even bother to look at the pictures I sent. He shot right back saying, “dude, why do you want to lock up 3 lakhs? I think it’s a crazy idea. You should really look for places that have a much lower deposit. Just go search a bit more. Take a smaller place, take an apartment, whatever, but keep the deposit and rent low enough. Am sure you will find something.”

I felt bad. We really liked the place. The locality was good too.

We screwed the plans and resumed search.

Vinod, who was our first employee actually managed to find out a place at a very competitive rate. The one we are at, now. It’s a very nice and cozy little space.

In fact, Nandini (Morpheus) even came to inspect the place for us. I was skeptical of the place until she okay’ed it.

Few months down the line, now, I really like the office we have.

When I think of how much we are paying for it, I like it even more. It always make me thank Sameer every month when I sign the rental cheque.

Now a days, when I meet other entrepreneurs, the discussion veers towards office spaces often. I am often surprised by how much people spend on office space (am talking about the ones who are still in customer discovery and validation phase, ones who scaled up would need a good office I would think).

I am not going to sound preachy on what type of space one should have. Each founder has his own taste and the space should motivate him to work.

But in short, my opinion is this: “Cool offices can happen later. When customers pay for your rent. For now, get the best bang for every single buck. Or better, get it free. Reduce your burn. Reduce your fixed costs.”

Every single rupee saved will take you one rupee further.

PS: Shared office spaces help reduce startup cost. But I notice that productivity is often hampered at such places. I am not a fan of such shared spaces, esp if it seats more than 2 companies.

4 thoughts on “Paying for office space

  1. Totally agree. And it’s surprising the things you can do to make your little office look cool at a reasonable cost. We haven’t bothered with swank. It’s a well-located office and over time we’ll let our ‘creative’ madness loose on the walls 🙂

  2. We are just moving into a shared office space. Lets see how it goes. We would take your inputs and stay away from distractions as much as possible.

    Reasons we are going for a shared office space:
    – The geography/location of the office space if apt for our team. Equi distant for both the founders.
    – Reduce fixed cost.
    – Reasonable monthly charge per desk for the facilities offered – 4k per desk.

  3. @Prem – Nice! 🙂

    @Satya – I am working out of a shared office.
    Pros – exactly what you have mentioned.
    Cons – It’ll still not ‘feel’ like your office – you probably can’t customize your desk, work nights or have detailed (and heated) discussions with your team. And for a 3+ people team, you’ll end up spending more than what you’ll do in an apartment.

  4. @Satya: Nice to know you are moving to an office. I guess once you take a 3rd seat, the cost advantage drops.

    @Goonjan: Would like to know your experience. Friends who work in shared offices say that productivity is hampered because there is so much distraction from other companies in the same office.

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