How To Turn Your Spare Office Space Into A Coworking Office

Wednesday, 21st February 2018  |  Articles, How To

Traditional businesses with spare office space are putting their unused desks and offices to work.

They earn a monthly income by licensing them to likeminded businesses and individuals who pay an average of $510 per desk per month.

While Coworking spaces make the headlines with multibillion dollar valuations, there’s a staggering $2bn worth of unused office space in regular offices in Australia.

Rubberdesk has helped businesses share and earn from their spare office space since 2016.

Here’s how to turn your unused office space into a Coworking Space and spare desks into spare cash.

How does renting spare office space work?

Ok, so this is the first question we’re asked and our answer is that it’s pretty easy. In short:

  1. Get permission to licence short term use of your spare office space
  2. Advertise your space for free
  3. Meet potential Guests
  4. Find the right Guest for you
  5. You can use a Short Form Licence Agreement for free
  6. Get paid!

(Rubberdesk.com only gets paid when you do – check out our Host Membership Agreement)

Let’s go through those steps and answer some common questions as we go.

Landlord Permission

As a leaseholder of an office, you’ll likely have a leasehold agreement with your landlord. There’s no one leasehold agreement that covers all cases and they can be pretty varied, but there is often a clause to the effect that permission be sought from the landlord before subleasing or licensing use of the space. (Note to reader – have a check of your agreement, as we say, no two agreements are the same.)

Simply write to your landlord and get their permission to licence on short term basis the use of the space.

It’s pretty straight forward because happy tenants make happy landlords, and keeping you as a happy tenant increases the chances of you staying put right – which landlords love.

Advertise your Spare Office Space

Just like Airbnb, Rubberdesk has made it super easy to create your listing (advert) for your office space. You can list your space on line for free here.

You can create a listing for desks in open plan offices, private offices and meeting rooms, add photos and a description as well as the type of Guest you’re looking for.

Desks can be rented individually or all together – you choose – the prices show how much the Guest will pay each month(ex GST).

Private Offices are rented as a whole – and are typically rented by businesses who need a bit of privacy.

You can set rates by the month so you don’t have new Guests every week Typically, we find that Guests keep renewing each month – so there’s very little turnover of Guests – easy right!

How much do I charge for my spare office space?

This is another common question we get and it’s up to you. A good question is “what is a realistic market price?” not “what would I like to earn?”.

As a guide, the national average is $510 / month per desk. but give every office is different – there’s no right answer. What we do find is that desk space priced over $500 takes considerably longer to rent – so you decide. Have a look at what else is around is always a good idea too.

What do I need to provide?

Typically Hosts provide a desk, chair, power and Wifi access and that’s it. That’s enough for Guests to bring their computers, sit down and start working.

What to include in the monthly licence fee

Utilities and all outgoings are generally included in the monthly licence fee – so the price they see is the price they pay.

If you’ve a printer/copier you can share then terrific – and most Hosts make these available on a “fair usage” basis – which is where common sense prevails – if your Guest is going to use the printer a lot then it’s reasonable to ask them for a contribution to running costs – but many businesses if not paperless are paper-lite.

Access to Meeting Rooms

When you’ve a client meeting or a team meeting – a meeting room is a real plus. Again most Hosts offer a casual use of meeting rooms on a fair usage basis in the listing price. A shared calendar is a great way to manage and keep a track of usage.

Finding the Right Guest to Rent Your Spare Office Space

At rubberdesk we like to put the right Guests in touch with the right Hosts, because business is about people not desks and chairs. Whether looking for opportunities to collaborate or simply want to avoid any overlap between business there’s the chance to make sure you’ve got the right fit.

When Hosts list their space they often mention who would be the ideal Guest and describe the working environment – is it a vibrant office with people on the phone a lot or quiet? Is there a typical Guest type the Host is keen to share with? Creatives, Financial Services Professionals, Media, Lawyers, Accountants – you name it!

When Guests hit the “Request a Tour”, it’s their opportunity to let the Host know who they are and what they’re looking for, and when they meet they can explore the space and each other further to make sure their the right fit.

Rubberdesk Standard Short Form Licence Agreement

To help make the process super easy, Rubberdesk have developed our Standard Short Form Licence Agreement (Licence) – available to use at the discretion of the Host at no cost when bookings are made through Rubberdesk.

_It is at the discretion of the Host as to use of the Licence, noting that the Host may well use an amended version of the Licence as no one standard agreement can cover all circumstances. We strongly encourage Hosts and Guests to consider independent legal advice before using or entering into any legal arrangement (including use of the Licence), as well as considering in full the particular circumstances of their proposed space sharing. Rubberdesk accepts no liability or responsibility as to the use of the Licence (as is or amended) by either a Host or a Guest and use of the Rubberdesk website and all services provided by Rubberdesk are covered by the terms and conditions of the site. _

Welcoming Your Guest on Their First Day

Giving the office and desk area a really good clean creates a great first impression. No one likes working on a desk with coffee stains and post it notes left over by the previous occupant.

Ensure the area is clear of exposed wires and cables and trip hazards as you would to create a safe environment for anyone working there.

When Guests arrive spend a few moments to give them an induction to the office, where the bathroom is, fire exits and fire extinguishers as well as any first aid points.

Then if there’s a key-code or keys to use the space as covered by the Licence show them how to access and exit the building out of hours if appropriate.

Get Paid by the Month

When your Guest Books the space online through Rubberdesk we capture authorisation on their credit card so that when you accept the booking the Guest’s payment is taken there and then.

Rubberdesk holds their payment for the first month’s rent and pays the Host after the Guests’ first day with you. We pay the Host for the month in full less our fees and issue a remittance advice upon payment.

The whole process is super easy and designed to be low hassle for all parties. As a marketplace for office space Rubberdesk has worked hard to make earning from spare office space an enjoyable experience.

So why not get started today?

List Your Space For Free