It’s a cautionary tale we hear far too often: Company A, hiring staff and growing rapidly, finalized a 10-year lease for office space. One week after move-in they had filled their space to the brim, with engineers sitting on top of sales staff, interns working in the hallways and the CEO operating out of a small conference room.
Company A had backed themselves into a corner, in desperate need for more room with no easy solution to the problem, and looking to swiftly dispose of their inadequate space.
In the startup environment, everything moves at a breakneck pace. Raising venture capital, hiring staff, assembling a board, etc. – all while working day-in and day-out to refine a product or service meant to disrupt the world. With senior staff pulled in different directions, there is little time for a strategic analysis of office space needs.
My team at Colliers specializes in working with technology companies at all stages, from pre-seed to IPO and beyond. We have advised dozens of companies literally from their first day of operations, to others whose market caps are well into the multi-billion dollar range.
We have developed some metrics and strategies that help our clients to grow without having to worry about scheduling an hourly team huddle at the downstairs Starbucks.
We have extensive experience working with companies with offices around the U.S. and world, but a majority of our work is in the New York City area. The analytics and strategy formation for each company is different dependent on a multitude of factors: budget, concrete or tentative headcount projections, timing, etc. – but there are a few baseline rules that can help jumpstart the education process and conversation.
From working with hundreds of technology companies in various states of flux (capital infusion, rapid growth, headcount reduction), we’ve become experts on which office may be the best fit for a company, from a month-to-month WeWork licensing agreement to a long-term lease.
Rarely in the commercial real estate world are issues black-and-white; and strategies are unique to each company. But there are several basic questions that need to be answered when evaluating office space: