By Jen Smith Run your business How to find cheap office space for sole traders and small businesses 27 Jul 2015 Are you a sole trader or a small business looking for a place you can work from outside of the home? It’s not uncommon for people who are used to the hustle and bustle of a busy office, are growing a team, or who are going a bit stir-crazy working from their spare bedroom to find themselves needing somewhere separate to work. But finding the right environment and cheap office space, can be tricky. You want to get the balance between: location price facilities (wifi/printing/meeting rooms etc) environment contract / flexibility So, to help you get started in your search, and save you time trawling through options that just aren’t a good fit, we’ve created a guide to the best types of cheap office space available: Hot desking / deskcamping Other businesses often find themselves with empty desk space, and can offer those desks out to freelancers or entrepreneurs. The space is usually available on an ad hoc/temporary basis and you may find you have to move desks frequently. Peace, quiet or collaboration will depend on the company who’s space you inhabit. Perfect if you: want to work in a professional environment require flexible use like open plan don’t mind not having your own dedicated desk space want to keep to traditional working hours are a sole trader or working alone Look for: local businesses with spare desks websites like http://www.deskcamping.com/ Coworking spaces Coworking spaces are generally hubs created for individual entrepreneurs and freelancers across all sorts of businesses. Often set up with communal desks, break out spaces and meeting rooms they offer a lot of flexibility and are generally very chatty and vibrant environments, where networking and idea sharing is encouraged. Usually available on a pay-as-you-go or monthly basis. Perfect if you: want a communal vibe are interested in networking opportunities relish the chance to share ideas require flexible use like open plan don’t mind not having your own dedicated desk space Look for: collectives, hubs or open studios nearby websites like http://www.uk-jelly.org.uk/ Virtual office If you want the kudos of a company with its own premises, but would rather work from home, then a virtual office might be the best solution. Virtual offices usually supply a business address, postal services, telephone answering and sometimes printing and other facilities. Perfect if you: want to work from home require a business address which is not your home address would like the perception of a company with its own premises Look for: virtual offices spaces locally websites like: http://www.eoffice.net/ Serviced offices and meeting rooms The traditional solution for many small businesses is serviced office and meeting rooms. This is usually the option for businesses with teams, who are growing and need their own office space. You will likely pay rent for this type of space on a monthly basis and be tied into a contract. Perfect if you: want dedicated office space for your business are looking for a fixed location are happy to sign a contract and pay monthly rent Look for: local business centres and serviced offices websites like: http://www.flexioffices.co.uk/ Business Networks Universities, colleges, chamber of commerce and business networking groups often run business support services for local businesses, including coworking, hotdesking or office space options. Often combined with a program of events and workshops as well as networking opportunities, these can be an affordable option with a lot of benefits, especially if subsidised (which they often are). Perfect if you: want dedicated office space for your business are looking for a fixed location are happy to sign a contract and pay monthly rent Look for: local universities, colleges or chamber of commerces with business support options websites like: http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/ Swap and share with other sole traders If you find other sole traders or entrepreneurs near you who you work well with, why don’t you suggest doing a swap – one day a week they come to you, and visa versa? We’ve even heard of business owners clubbing together to host lunch and networking at their home office for a small group of business friends. Another option is house sitting for someone you know for a short period to have a change of scenery and work elsewhere. This is perfect for getting away and business planning. Perfect if you: have business friends who live nearby have enough space to work together from each other’s homes want to test working from another environment don’t have the budget for other options need something on an ad hoc basis Coffee shops and free wifi spots An easy solution for many homeworkers is finding local coffee shops and spaces with free wifi (like libraries) that are happy for you to work and host meetings. Perfect if you: just want to get out of the house now and then are happy to buy drinks and food throughout your time in their space find a a friendly coffee shop or space that welcomes workers Look for: Independent coffee shops or large chains with free wifi websites like: http://www.thecloud.net/free-wifi Jen Smith coaches entrepreneurs in social media.