4 Questions About Starting a Shared Office Franchise
There’s no doubt that the market for shared office space is booming. Flexible workspace is already a notable segment of the commercial real estate market in the U.S., and it’s expected to grow to 30% percent in less than 10 years.
Some real estate developers and property owners are now exploring how they might turn their existing, lease-based operations into a subscription-based, shared-office business. A lot of savvy investors who are not yet involved in commercial real estate are also eyeing the potential in the evolving coworking space market. And many of these investors are turning to specialized shared office franchise companies for help in entering this burgeoning market.
These firms have crafted different models for acquiring, building out, operating, branding, and marketing coworking-space properties. They’ve packaged their strategies into comprehensive shared office franchise opportunities for real estate developers and investors looking to enter this market. And the number of these shared office franchising companies is growing.
Interested in investing in a shared office space franchise? Here are some questions to ask.
1. What is this franchisor’s experience and expertise in the coworking space industry?
With the relatively recent current coworking space boom, it may be hard to meaningfully evaluate the performance of some of the newer shared office franchise brands. So a shared office franchise brand with a track record and experience in all aspects of coworking-space development and management is of paramount importance.
For example, Office Evolution has been a pioneer in coworking space since 2003 and has been franchising since 2013. They currently support 75 franchised operations across 25 states.
2. How well does this shared office space franchise brand know my marketplace?
Coworking space properties are being developed — in central business districts and suburban office centers alike — in major metropolitan areas across the country. This trend is particularly evident in the suburbs, as America’s distributed workforce is finding alternatives to fixed and permanent office space.
Each major city’s commercial office inventory is different. A shared office franchise brand like Office Evolution performs due diligence on your specific market, including:
- Current and emerging competition in your region
- Preliminary strategies to enter or expand in your market
Results of these analyses should inform your choice of shared office franchising brand.
3. How well do I know what kind of coworking spaces my market needs?
Market-mapping isn’t just the franchisor’s responsibility. Even before you meet with any of the shared office franchise brands you might be considering, there’s a lot of homework you can do, and should do, on your own.
And you don’t have to go any further than your desktop to do it. You can find out how saturated your region is – or isn’t – with some basic online research about coworking needs in your area. Add your geographic specifier to some common search terms, such as:
- Coworking space
- Flexible space
- Shared office space
- Serviced office space
- Satellite office space
- Co-op office space
- Distributed workforce office space
Your search can show you which shared office franchise and non-franchised brands have a presence in your area, and can also give a good idea of your market’s existing shared office space inventory.
4. How comprehensive and flexible is the support that this franchisor provides?
Most shared office space franchise brands provide a comprehensive array of services to help their franchise owners launch their shared-office businesses smoothly and successfully. These packages can include:
- Property evaluation and acquisition services
- Architectural and interior design services
- IT solutions and systems for your business center
- A variety of business plans and operating models
- Staff training materials and online learning resources
- A continuing national brand-awareness campaign
- Marketing, advertising, PR and promotional campaigns and templates
- Bookkeeping, accounting, payroll, and reporting services
- Responsive franchisee-support systems
Of all these items, the last is in some ways the most important. The shared-space market is both a dynamic and growing one. Shared office franchise operators must constantly adapt to the changing profile of the market; and this is especially true for those franchise owners who might wish to expand their presence with additional properties in other locations.
That’s why a shared office franchise owner benefits from the help of the franchisor’s national support staff — not just with day-to-day operations, but also with long-range planning, market research, and growth management. So, the responsiveness of that support staff, and the quality of the support they provide, should be a factor in any investor’s choice of shared office franchise brand.
Office Evolution offers their franchise owners a strong support team with years of experience and industry knowledge. These professionals share their expertise in development, finance, marketing, real estate franchises, operations, technology, and more, helping franchise owners understand market needs and lead their locations with confidence.
Office Evolution’s Culture of Caring
Office Evolution takes franchise owner support very seriously. The company was founded in 2003 with an organizational principle called “Ohana,” which is the Hawaiian word for extended family. From the very start, the founders promoted a feeling of family throughout the company — not just among the headquarters staff, but among each and every one of the company’s franchise owners and their teams, as well. The company’s philosophy has served them well.
“It’s not about us, it’s about them. For when they thrive, we will all be rewarded with respect, wealth, gratitude, and admiration.” – Mark Hemmeter, Founder & CEO
When considering shared office space franchise opportunities, rely on your own market research as well as information and insights shared by franchisor support teams. Companies like Office Evolution, featured in Top 500 franchises, want to see their franchise owners do well and will offer their support to help ensure that happens.