Workspace: when is it time to rent, and what to consider
As you may already know, I'm now renting a 30 square metre studio. Although working from home isn't an issue for me, I even really enjoyed it since I went on my own 2 years ago, as a product and lifestyle photographer, I needed a bigger workspace with a blank canvas to play with.
Unfortunately my apartment was just not delivering that. Having a good amount of daylight and space to play with is a very important part of the job! Since I settled in Portugal I was looking for a space within a 10 min drive, but the town being quite small, I was never successful in my search. So I extended the location area at the end of last year and found something perfect last January.
You may also make the decision to get a studio or a workspace of your own, but do you know what you need to consider? I certainly didn't at first and I'd like to share a few points I believe you should think about before you plan your viewings:
How big a space do you need?
Check on your equipment, desk, storage and organisation, tools, but also a relaxing or sharing area if people come visit you (or for yourself!). Also consider how your business will grow during the next year (things can move fast!) and plan ahead.
How many rooms do you need?
You could potentially want a separate room for storage or if you're hoping to get a team working with you, you may want to consider a shared area to socialise (kitchen/lounge). You could also be dreaming about hosting workshops. Better having an extra room so when the time comes you're ready!
Do you need to be completely alone or would you like to rent maybe a privatised office but in a coworking space? You'd still enjoy some company during the breaks!
Are you ok being in a busy area or would you rather be in a quieter part of town?
I must admit that I wish my area was a little more quiet at times. Not because I don't enjoy it, but because I need to resist the temptation to check out at the window what's going on down the street when cars are horning!
Do you need an allocated parking space or are you ok walking for a bit?That will depend on whether you need to transport heavy items or bring stuff in and out very frequently. It might feel ok at first but can get frustrating quickly. I don't have an allocated parking space but can park for free less than 5 minutes away. I can also park right at the building's entrance for bigger deliveries if I need to.
How much daylight do you require?
Does your business involve taking photos or receiving important clients? If not, you may be ok with a North facing office, but if you do, make sure you check your windows orientation during your visit or in your home before you pick the room that will become your workspace.
What is your monthly budget, including utility bills and Internet?
Make sure to also add up the estimated bills as in some areas you can have hidden adds on and you'd rather estimate the total inclusive of everything!
Is the space you're considering equipped with a good Internet connection?
Super important nowadays...
- Can your space be located on the first or further up floors of a building or do you need to be open for public and therefore on the ground floor?
- Is your potential landlord ok with refurbishments and decoration? Are you allowed to do what it takes to make your potential workspace work for you?
- How far would your workspace be from your home? How far are you actually willing to go? How is the commute?
That's a weird one but... Are you ok with shared bathrooms or would you prefer a private toilet?
Again, it can be something that you could overlook at first and regret later.
What's the minimum tenancy contract and how does it renew?
If you've decided for a space, it's great news! But don't sign a lease for the next 20 years just yet! You may need to move again, expand, or you may be able to work from your new home one day. Things in life change a lot faster than you think. The safest game is to go for a year or less, so at least you experience it and see what works for you, and what doesn't.
UPDATE MAY 2018: I have now given back the space I was renting because I get to have a complete room for my office at home with extra storage space. It's much more quiet as I realised this was a very important thing, and I can get as many surf and beach breaks as I need! There will soon be a new blog post with my home office :)