Hello, we'd like to outsource our home office.
May 19, 2014 10:17 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I would like to rent a nearby office space to use as....well, office space. However, neither of us have enough freelance income to justify the cost on the application papers.

After crunching the numbers, it's just cheaper for us than moving into a larger apartment, and the only reason we'd move into a larger apartment is to get additional office workspace.

Adding to the complication: he's a grad student with good credit but terrible financials right now, while I've got a steady decent-paying job but awful credit.

What's the best way to address all this with the property management folks without scaring them off? Should we try to play up our freelance work, or is it okay to just say we need the workspace for schoolwork and occasional freelancing? We've got a pretty stable renting history, if that would help at all.
posted by redsparkler to Work & Money (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you have to? There are places that let you rent office space and provide switchboard services. I just used teh googles to find Regus ... my old HOA was run out of one of those places, there were five or six small office companies in the space, each with their own office. All six shared the front desk reception staff and meeting rooms.
posted by tilde at 10:26 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What's the best way to address all this with the property management folks without scaring them off?

If it's possible, I would look more for art studio type spaces than for actual 'office' spaces. People who rent work spaces to artists are usually only concerned with getting paid on time, not if you are loaded with cash to make it worthwhile. Artist spaces are typically month to month too.

Oh shit, you're in PDX. Check out all the multi-use artist buildings down on the SE Waterfront area. Portland storage, Oak Street Arts building, etc. This city is littered with office space/creative space. Depending on where you are in the city, there are pretty good options regardless. What neighborhoods are you looking?
posted by furnace.heart at 10:29 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Sorry, tilde, my "outsourcing" comment might have confused things. We don't need any switchboard services, desk staff, conference rooms, or anything like that. We literally just want a large space to put our desks and computers in.

We're in the Brooklyn area of Portland right now, and just looked at an office space that's about half a mile from our apartment. The close proximity is a huge plus for us.
posted by redsparkler at 10:32 AM on May 19, 2014

Regus is terribly, terribly expensive.

Are you cool with a shared space? Look for "maker spaces" and similar--there are a number of these around Chicago, varying from large open spaces with lots of separate desks, rooms with little cubicles/offices, studio spaces for artists, etc. Much easier/more affordable than renting an entire single-purpose space just for yourselves. I'm sure someplace with an even crunchier vibe like Portland will have this kind of thing, too.
posted by phunniemee at 10:38 AM on May 19, 2014

co-work is another google search, as well as local (city, county) biz dev offices/incubators, as they'll usually have by-the-office/cube type of arrangements at low costs.
posted by k5.user at 10:41 AM on May 19, 2014

Best answer: You'll be fine. That part of town is littered with work-space that is adaptable for office space. Portland is pretty understanding of the freelancer and the artist. If that particular space is uneasy about it, there really are quite a few spaces like this set up around town. I work just off Powell, and there are a couple spaces in my building that people have turned into office-share type setups.

I would approach them as 'artists' instead of 'business-folk.' Artists paying for a space; not really expected to be rolling in it. Business-folk paying for a space; expected to have at least a little cash.

But seriously, Portland's pretty lax with stuff like this. Just look for month-to-month setups instead of leases, and you'll be okay.

Depending on your budget, memail me. I work in the Brooklyn neighborhood and depending on your budget, might know a specific spot or two.
posted by furnace.heart at 10:42 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Your situation sounds ideal for a coworking space. It depends what's on offer where you are (and what you can afford), but they range from offices with long tables and plenty of chairs, wifi, a printer, coffee/kitchenette setup meant for individuals working quietly, to large facilities where the two of you could potentially rent your own separate room.

The spaces I've known about in the past don't care which side of the artist/business divide you fall on, and the rates are all standardized. There presumably wouldn't be a credit check or anything like that -- you just pay your $10/day, or $200/month or whatever and you get access to an office space to work in, as needed.
posted by Sara C. at 11:04 AM on May 19, 2014

If all you're looking for is a place to work that's not your home, you should look for small buildings that are being used for law/dental/medical offices. Usually they're owner occupied and often have a room that's not being used, and the rental process would not be so formal as to require a credit check, and would probably be cheaper than maker space, incubators, etc. I know because I own such a building (not in Portland though) and so do many of my colleagues.
posted by HotToddy at 11:11 AM on May 19, 2014

Response by poster: I've always liked the idea of coworking spaces, but this time around we're looking for a private office space that's reasonably quiet (shared bathrooms and whatever is okay).
posted by redsparkler at 11:11 AM on May 19, 2014

Most coworking spaces also offer private(ish) offices with doors that can be closed and locked, available on a monthly basis.

I'm not familiar with PDX's customs on this, but the art spaces and coworking spaces I've used all require the next month's payment up-front for continued access, and with one exception, were all month-to-month or week-to-week arrangements. They're used to turnover, and are quite familiar with broke artists and freelancers.
posted by toxic at 12:49 PM on May 19, 2014

Best answer: Most of the answers are leading you in a direction different from where you want to go.

Most landlords are not going to be particularly demanding on income levels or credit status, as a bank making a loan would be. They simply want assurance that the rent will be paid on time and that you are not going to trash the place.
posted by megatherium at 2:36 PM on May 19, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! Your enthusiasm about the vast variety of spaces available helped me know that we could probably find something else if we needed to.

Megatherium's insight into landlord brains helped me work up the courage to elaborate on our situation to the rental agent, and sure enough, it sounds like we don't need credit checks or anything, just the proof that we've got enough money coming in to pay for it. Which we do.
posted by redsparkler at 3:41 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

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