Expanding to an office is one of the biggest growing pains of any startup, but it’s often necessary and, in many ways, beneficial. Add the cost of putting up an office to hiring new employees, ramping up your marketing, and polishing your website–and the expenses can be quite hefty, especially for a new company.
But the time has finally come for your startup to have its own office. While this step is almost often expensive, it doesn’t have to run your company dry or negatively affect your cash flow. Here are some of the best ways to save money while putting up an office for your startup.
Be extra careful with estimation
Before you can come up with a budget plan to build a new office, you’re going to have to estimate how much you would need for office space, equipment, supplies, and everything else your company needs to operate. Start by estimating how many people your company will add to its payroll in the next year or so. Ten? Twenty? Perhaps even fifty? Once you have a ballpark range for the number of people you will take on in the future, you can start estimating the size of the initial cost you need for an office.
Of course, you don’t have to estimate much personal equipment (equipment that only one person can use at a time, e.g., headsets, computers, office chairs, etc.), seeing that your future employees aren’t here yet. For example, when buying Plantronics call center headsets, purchase only the amount that your company will use for its initial stage of growth, plus a few extras. You wouldn’t want to buy a hundred if you only plan to add fifty people in your first year.
Take advantage of bulk orders
Buying in bulk may be expensive initially, but it will save you more money in the long run, just like when buying a big bottle of shampoo instead of those single-use sachets. If and when your budget allows, buy certain items in bulk to take advantage of discounts, such as paper, office furniture, computer equipment, pens, and other office essentials.
Easy on the free office perks
Most startups like to offer office freebies to employees to increase morale, encourage loyalty, and basically keep people happy. However, the free snacks in the pantry or the endless supply of coffee—no matter how cheap—can still add up. Thus, it may not be a great idea financially to go all out on the office freebies until you have surpassed this extremely critical growth stage.
Although you don’t have to eliminate the freebies, try offering only a few or less expensive variants. For example, instead of gourmet coffee, go for the cheaper brand that most people probably already drink at home. Or instead of offering free unlimited snacks in the pantry, pick a few days out of the week to hand out snacks to each employee so that everyone gets a share.
Offer remote work setups
Not everyone needs to come into the office to help the business remain efficient. And if there is one thing that the pandemic taught us, it’s that a company can be successful even when everyone works at home. However, there’s no denying that it is sometimes more advantageous to put up a physical office. But for employees whose jobs do not involve many meetings or have no real need for face-to-face interactions, offer them work-from-home setups—either full-time or a few days out of the week.
This way, you can save money on office space since you need to have all of your workforce coming into the office every day. Furthermore, this can also help you save on overhead costs since fewer people use the water, electricity, food, and Internet.
Ask for discounts everywhere you go
If you want to save money on office expenses, you’re going to need to sniff out every deal you can get. Whether it’s buying office furniture or negotiating with a stationary business, or even looking for office space, ask if they can offer you a discount or any other way to save money on your purchase. Remember: the answer is always ‘no’ if you never ask.
Setting up an office for your business is one of the first signs of growth. But as always, when it comes to business, growing means additional expenses. Be smart about where you put your money—by applying these strategies to this stage, you not only get to save money—but you can also put up a cost-effective office in the long run.