Australian PropTech disrupter Rubberdesk, today announces the relaunch of its peer to peer marketplace for businesses to earn by renting out their spare office space. In a twist to the enormous and growing coworking trend, over two thirds of office rentals through Rubberdesk are peer to peer, where one business has spare office space and another rents it from them, monthly or a year at a time.
With over 15,000 spaces available to rent, the Rubberdesk relaunch adds extended 3, 6 and 12 monthly rental terms, coupled with online payment processing and standard licence agreements, the business is focused on making the sharing of unused office space as easy as possible. And demand has been high, with Rubberdesk doubling in size over the last 4 months alone.
"The choice of turnkey offices available has never been better and that's great news for businesses of all sizes.
Said Jim Groves, Co-Founder and CEO of Rubberdesk.
"And with more businesses renting space for a year or more without ever taking a lease, peer to peer rentals is a game changer and valuable addition to the industry."
Despite traditional office space availability now at an all time low across most capital cities, Rubberdesk has seen an enormous amount of unused flexible office space come to market. Research published by JLL, expects the flexible office space market to account for 30% of office space in the coming years, and Rubberdesk's own research puts the value of unused office space globally at over $130bn per annum.
Rubberdesk Guests want a space their team can thrive in, without the headache and upfront expense of leasing. The freedom to focus on their business without worrying about real estate is very liberating.
The global coworking phenomenon has brought flexible workspace to the attention of corporates and small businesses alike. In fact, most of the big name and boutique commercial coworking operators list their offices on Rubberdesk alongside traditional businesses with spare office space to rent. It's a mix that Jim is very proud of.
The challenge was to make it easy for traditional businesses with spare office space to earn without it becoming a full-time job. Now, businesses have the tools to list their space, get paid online, have agreements all done for them.
Said David Dale, Co-Founder and CTO of Rubberdesk
Our focus is on using technology to reduce friction around the rental process. From start to finish we've put control in our customers' hands. The design of the site is an intentional departure from the traditional real estate feel, and instead is more organic and human, which reflects our "people first" approach.
Businesses renting their spare office space through Rubberdesk have seen more than just the financial rewards of doing so, as explained by some of the Hosts on the site who have had success:
"...the office was finally well utilised, financially that was a great outcome, but also the culture was a much more fun place to go to work." Cesar - Rubberdesk Host
"It takes a massive strain off our business to have three quarters of the office filled by another agency."
Adam - Rubberdesk Host
"we get a really good team atmosphere and a creative space which is better for everybody"
Among the Hosts on the platform are traditional businesses keen to earn by renting their spare office space, as well as the big names of coworking such as WeWork, IWG and Servcorp to name a few. In fact the site is available to anyone looking to rent office space on flexible terms.
The company that started out being referred to as "The Airbnb of office space" quickly found that although the similarity of renting spare space resonated with customers, the analogy didn't cover the nuances or duration of workspace bookings.
On Airbnb, guests rent space for days or weeks at a time without viewing before arriving. With Rubberdesk our Guests and Hosts meet and if both are happy to proceed they typically rent for a year or more.
Said Jim Groves Rubberdesk Co-Founder
Over and above the financial returns, Rubberdesk is about connecting likeminded people, not just desks and chairs.
In the past there have been any number of terms for office space not leased or subleased. They've been referred to as hot-desking, managed or serviced offices, turnkey offices and most recently coworking spaces. But the overarching theme is flexibility, whether to describe the reuse of the physical space or the people that inhabit it. It's not just the workspaces that are flexible, its the way we use them and they interact with our lives.
Cofounded by Jim Groves and David Dale, the Australian PropTech startup was launched in 2016 to provide an alternative to leasing commercial office space for small and medium and sized businesses. After the initial build out phase, the site grew organically before Domain brought Rubberdesk in to power their coworking site on CommercialRealEstate.com.au. It's first funding round closed successfully in July 2018. Rubberdesk only gets paid when it's Host members do. It deducts 10% from the rental amounts shown as the Rubberdesk fees.