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I'm looking at working for myself, and working from home is not an option. This question could also apply to people who need to work remotely but also cannot work from home. I've tried searching for office spaces, but either I don't understand the listings, or I don't know what search terms to use to find a one-person office space.

How do I find such a space? What should I look at when viewing listings to tell if an office space listing has a single, small office space I can rent separately from a larger company?


EDIT: By request, I'm adding some of the broader requirements, since those requirements may affect what resources and terms to use for searching

  • Enough space for a desk-style workspace; computer and two monitors
  • Power, aircon + heating, high-speed internet (nothing crazy-fast required)
  • Bathroom, probably shared with other offices in the building
  • Private, reasonably quiet space
  • Within city limits, short commute (in my case, by foot or biking distance would be ideal)
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  • I'm not asking for a perfect location, I'm asking how to search and what to look for.
    – Mar
    Jun 2, 2014 at 19:27
  • 3
    This is still off topic here. Jun 2, 2014 at 19:28
  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is about browsing commercial real estate listings; not about navigating the workplace.
    – Jim G.
    Jun 2, 2014 at 22:07
  • 16
    This asks about a problem found in the workplace. How is it any different form questions about laying out cube farms and the like? Jun 3, 2014 at 3:09
  • In the UK - try your local community centre. Many of them have small rooms/offices that they let out on a daily or hourly basis.
    – Matt
    Jun 3, 2014 at 7:36

6 Answers 6

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There are many ways to find a small office:

  1. Ask around. You probably know someone that is in a similar situation. There may be unrented space in whatever building they are in. Or they know of other places.

  2. Look at listings. Most places with office space advertise someplace. The way to tell if it's small enough for you is to look at the price and the square footage. Actually, you don't really care that the square footage is small, just the price. Figure out how much space you need, and start shopping around for anything that lists at least that much up to about 2x what you think you need.

  3. Check out likely suspects. I see that you are in Utah, so I can't give specific advice for your location. Here in central MA there are a lot of old mill buildings from the turn of the last century that have been fixed up into office and light industrial space of various sizes. These buildings are obvious, and you can go to the main office during business hours and inquire about space. Or, get the names, dig out the phone numbers, and call. Many have a sign out front with a phone number. How that might relate to Utah, I don't know, but there is probably some unique local way like this to find space.

  4. As a last resort, talk to a real estate agent that specializes in commercial property.

In general, the more you are outside of the main "financial" district of a city, the cheaper the space. How fancy or newly rennovated it is also makes a large difference. A old refurbished industrial building at the edge of the metropolitan area is going to have cheaper space than right in the middle of downtown Salt Lake or Provo.

Also, learn what is included, what's not, and how much you have to pay for the not-included things separately. Things to check include heat and electricity, but ask for a complete breakdown of all other fees. Less scrupulous real estate agents will quote you just the prices for a unit, and neglect to mention that you have to pay for your own heat, that there is a common area charge, a snowplowing charge, etc, etc. Also ask how the square footage is calculated. Some will include all the outside walls and half the inside walls to other units, and sometimes even halfway out to the corridor in front of the unit. Others are more honest about it, but of course the price would look higher per square foot. This is all on you to look into carefully. 1000 square feet one place can be quite different from 1000 square feet in another place. You really have to do your homework carefully.

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Coworking

Search for coworking or shared office spaces. Companies like Regis have locations in many large cities. They can be expensive because they offer professional looking atmospheres for meeting clients and amenities like printers, scanners, phones, etc. For normal commercial office space, it's a matter of square footage and price that makes it a one person office.

What other requirements for an office space do you have? Do you need room for a lot of stuff, security or is privacy just enough? You could use a place with wifi if that is the case.

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  • In my case, I'm looking for privacy, wired internet, and enough space for a desk, computer, two or three monitors. There's a space like it in the building where my current employer is situated.
    – Mar
    Jun 2, 2014 at 18:53
  • Oh, and a decent, accessible bathroom. That's a must!
    – Mar
    Jun 2, 2014 at 19:01
  • @MartinCarney, could you edit those requirements into your question? Thanks. Jun 3, 2014 at 3:10
  • I could, but those specific requirements aren't really part of the question. I'm not asking for a space, I'm asking how to go about looking for a space.
    – Mar
    Jun 3, 2014 at 8:03
  • @MartinCarney - Your requirements could determine how you look for a space. Formal office space and some sort of writer's cabin would be very different approaches.
    – user8365
    Jun 3, 2014 at 21:43
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Business Incubators

If you're looking for office space that is geared toward startup companies, look for business incubators in your area. They generally provide cheap office space which is partially subsidized by your local and/or state government, but they can also provide excellent networking and mentoring opportunities - as well as other useful services - for those who are trying to start a small business.

In your case, the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development has a page here that may be helpful.

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Rent A Nook

Small companies often end up with too much space which they might be able to rent out to you. If you know of people who are in your line of work or have a similar work-style, contact the boss and propose renting a desk space from them.

1

Call a company named Regus. Their entire business model is renting out small offices and manning phone banks to have your small office seem to have more of a real world footprint than it does.

Decades ago, when I got my divorce, my one-man attorney was working out of one of their spaces. It took me a few months to realize that his secretary really wasn't "just" his secretary.

There are many that try to emulate their model, for example WeWork basically tried to be a hip-and-cool Regus with free beer. We have a few "tech incubators" in my city that are attempting to do the same. Some are successful, but in reality, most are running off of startup funding. Regus is the one that has survived and grown into a stable company, as it started over a decade ago.

They also offer up conference rooms for the odd company meeting.

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If you just need space, electricity, heat and a (possibly shared) toilet that isn't too noisy, rather than someplace that looks good to a customer, you may want to look at listings for commercial and industrial spaces too. In some areas, a hole-in-the-wall storefront may be available cheap. A space that someone is advertising as storage may be acceptable if you're ok with not having windows. An open mind and a broader search yields more options.

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