5 Questions to Ask When Looking for a Coworking Space
So you’ve touched down into a new city, hauled your overpacked suitcase into your airbnb for the next three days, and you’re absolutely hot, sweaty and tired. Now what?
Not only do you need to find a coworking space, you also need to find more permanent housing, and maybe a gym if you’re an active person.
Before we dive into the article, I wanted to explain why coworking spaces are definitely worth the investment as a solopreneur:
- You want to meet other like minded individuals, networking is definitely a really big part of it, you get to meet people doing so many different things in life that it really changes your perspective on what the world has to offer.
- You want to be able to leave your stuff for a long break and come back and not have to worry about your things going missing. This is super important. I feel like I have to pick up all of my belongings every time I work in a coffee shop, just to run to the bathroom.
- You want to attend meetups and community events to mingle with people, I’ve met some really awesome people when I attend meetups
- You need to feel the hustle, there is an amazing vibe in a co-working space that you don’t get in a coffee shop say, when everyone is literally laser focused on their work, you feel that energy too and so you’re also super motivated to get work done.
- You need quiet, yes a coworking space will have some noise, but focused collaboration noise is so much better than screaming children in a coffee shop. Trust me. Been there done that.
You do a quick search in google maps for “cowork spaces” and 30 search results are returned.
You look through the pictures and figure out which ones you’d like to visit.
You walk in, ask about the coworking space and they do a tour with you to explain all the fancy amenities they have, from terraces, to cafeterias, to community programs, etc…
Then, the community manager ask you, “Do you have any questions for me?”
As a matter of fact, you do, and quite a few! Read below to learn more about the questions you should be asking when you visit a new coworking space!
I’ve learned to ask these very relevant questions so that I can figure out what is the best coworking situation for me. And below are five that I think you should definitely ask every single coworking space that you have been to:
- What plans are available and what are the hours? And what are included in the fees?
As a business owner, it is no surprise that we need to be smart about where we invest our money. So you don’t want to go to a coworking space that is too expensive, or out of your reach when you are just starting out. Always ask them what plans they have for you, the standard ones are: Full time with flex/hot desk meaning you don’t have a designated desk to yourself compared to a Full Time with Desk, Day Pass, or Week Pass. Sometimes they will even have part time plans available, though not all spaces have these options. You have to figure out what is best for your work schedule.
Also make sure to ask the co-working space what their hours are: some operate only during business hours, others are open 24 hours a day, again, this comes down to your specific needs as a business owners.
Some places provide a dual monitor set-up for you, and others provide free hot coffee and tea on demand. I’m currently at a place that offers free financial and legal consulting, which might come in handy as a solopreneur.
- Is it possible to do a free trial day if you are interested in the monthly membership plan?
I find that once I am in the space for a day, I can really get an idea of what the vibe is like, what the community is like, and how might I work in this space. I’ve been to an office and realized that their plug outlet set-up is completely impossible to use for me as a digital nomad because I have a brick adapter that I need to plug my laptop charger into, but the plugs are embedded into the work desks. Little things like this make or break a space. So you want to make sure you have a “typical” day in the co-working space to see if you can see yourself in that space working away.
Another hot tip in this realm is to visit the place at its busiest hour, that way you can see if there is enough space for you. I’ve made the mistake of sleeping-in late one day because I wasn’t feeling well, but couldn’t find a seat, and the co-working staff told me to go work in an open space like a flex seating area with couches and sofas, or the cafeteria. This sounds great in theory, but if you need to sit down and get sh*t done, you don’t want to be in the middle of a busy cafeteria where you have to listen to people talk really loudly all the time. It’s distracting and not conducive to focused productive work. But that moment made me realize that this cowork, with it’s awesome amenities, just wasn’t the right place for me. I think this goes to show that no matter how well-decorated a space is or how awesome looking it is, if there is not enough proper seating, then it isn’t worth it because you are fundamentally not getting what you are paying for.
- How many Skype/Telephone booths and meeting rooms do they have?
A lot of my work depends on client conference calls, so that means I definitely need to have a designated room for phone calls with clients. Sometimes I get carried away and I talk loudly on the phone and I’d hate to disturb others, so a must-have on my list is a Skype or Conference Room. I also co-host a podcast, which means I need an isolated room/space to do recordings to make sure I can at least get some clean audio. Therefore, any space without at least one or two meeting rooms or Skype Rooms wouldn’t work for me.
- What community events are there? How many active members do they have?
These two questions go hand in hand because a lot of the reason why you go to a co-working space is to meet and mingle with other like-minded individuals. You want to ask them how many active members they have in the space, and what kind of community events they hold that you can participate in. Some places have Yoga Classes, some have workshops. Figure out what you like and go and mingle with those people. But I find that any location with too many active members though, then it’s harder to get to know people because it gets a bit intimidating. But again, this also comes down to the vibe you would like to have.
When I was in Mexico, the coworking space I worked in had a very tight-knit community of 25-40 digital nomads which allowed us to get to know each other and go on trips together. This was a perfect size for me to get to know everyone on a more personal level, because let’s be very honest, too many people just sounds like an overload to me.
- If there are multiple locations, can you use other locations?
This one is good to ask because you want to be able to be as flexible as possible, so if they have a network of spaces you could potentially use, it just makes it so much more awesome for you. Sometimes co-working spaces with multiple locations don’t let you use the other locations, which makes sense if the plan is super affordable. But if you’re dishing out $280 USD a month for a flex plan, I’d say you want to have the flexibility to work in different locations.
The biggest takeaway is this:
Ask yourself what specifics do you need for you to work comfortably and be at your most productive. Prioritize those items in your list, and happy co-working!
A quick tip when you do your research is to create an excel sheet of all the co-working spaces you want to check out or have been to, and make notes about their location, their payment plans, and what you thought of the place. That way, as you move around, you’ll begin to get clear on what exactly you need.
Can you think of any other questions to ask when visiting a new co-working space?