Coworking franchises represent an intriguing opportunity for entrepreneurs and existing business owners to capitalize on the growing demand for shared workspaces. By transforming traditional office layouts into more open, collaborative environments these franchises allow individuals and teams to work flexibly and affordably while building community.
In this article, we will explore key considerations around converting existing office real estate into a thriving coworking franchise business. From initial evaluations to designing the space, choosing franchise systems, and attracting members we will provide a comprehensive guide to unlocking the potential in unused square footage.
Evaluating If A Coworking Franchise Is Right For You
Leaping into the coworking franchise model requires clear-eyed analysis around fit, profitability, and required investment. Location, layout, accessibility, nearby demand drivers, and zoning requirements will determine if pursuing a franchise makes fiscal sense and sets the venture up for success.
The research projected membership levels for both dedicated desk rentals and part-time drop-ins based on local market rates and used conservative estimates to allow room for unpredictability. Understanding total renovation and refresh costs will verify if moving forward aligns with your budget and access to capital.
Walk through the site with an experienced contractor to compile estimate pricing for all enhancements needed to meet franchisor and member expectations. With quality market research and realistic budgeting, you can make an informed decision on whether the coworking franchise investment delivers the right returns over time given your entrepreneurial vision.
Choosing The Right Coworking Franchise System
With an estimate of the total capital required, explore leading franchise systems in the coworking industry that align with your vision, values, and financial realities. Study options in detail through conversations with existing franchisees, legal review of all contracts and agreements, and transparent dialog with parent company leadership around ongoing support structures and fees.
Ask specific questions about training programs, traction with lenders familiar with the brand, initial investments, royalty rates, and marketing funds to clarify responsibilities on both sides.
Weigh also the réponses carefully as this relationship will significantly impact the trajectory of your business. Consider both well-established global companies and newer providers with innovative offerings.
Designing And Configuring The Space
Coworking layouts require purposeful design centered on flexibility, collaboration, and community. Maximize open areas allowing modification as needs shift while incorporating essential private spaces for calls and focused work.
You may also want to review relevant franchise specifications around square footage allocations between open desk space, private offices, phone booths, conference rooms, events space, and community areas. Map where furniture, partitions, and key infrastructure can adapt to future changes. Prioritize movable elements over fixed build-outs whenever viable.
Think creatively about zones within the floor plan tailored to certain activities like a tech/tools section, a library corner, or an area just for lounging to spur connection.
Outfitting The Office For Modern Needs
Today’s coworking members expect the same level of technology and productivity infrastructure they have in traditional private offices. Successful spaces incorporate robust Wi-Fi networks, printers and scanners with coded access, video conferencing capabilities in meeting rooms, and TV displays for sharing presentations.
Software solutions likewise add convenience while optimizing behind-the-scenes operations through automated access control, visitor management, membership/billing management, space utilization tracking, and community engagement tools.
Proactively plan where routers, servers, cabling, and hardware can be mounted securely and inconspicuously while being easily accessible for maintenance. The initial expense pays dividends through efficient management and delighted members.
Balancing Workspace And Amenities
While desks, offices, and meeting rooms provide primary revenue drivers, amenities tailored to member needs boost satisfaction and retention. Consider lounge-type seating areas for more casual meetings, libraries or cafes for quiet work, phone booths for privacy, and yoga rooms or mother’s spaces to meet personal needs.
Well-stocked coffee bars and kitchen grab-and-go snacks fuel members throughout the day at little cost while reinforcing community. Evaluate any unused spaces in the existing footprint that could be repurposed into value-added areas members will appreciate.
Stay attuned after launch to areas gaining traction along with new requests to continue evolving the offering. Savvy owners continually invest a percentage of profits into elevating the member experience.
Promoting The Business
Once the design concludes, strategically market the upcoming space to make a splash in the local area. Having an established brand name to align with lends credibility and expands exposure. Coordinate a pre-opening campaign across print and digital channels culminating in a launch party for tours and membership sign-ups.
Leverage any marketing resources and connections included from the franchisor to tap into their expertise and broader audience. Seek partnerships with neighborhood groups, Chambers, and economic development councils to welcome the fresh concept.
Ensuring Smooth Day-To-Day Operations
A thriving coworking space relies on seamless administration and member support through responsive systems led by skilled staff. Seek out a dynamic, multitasking operations manager to handle visitor entry, member requests, event logistics, vendor shipments, and facilities upkeep efficiently.
Create standardized processes including checklists and troubleshooting guides. Invest in member management software that automates billing, and tracks space usage and equipment issues while integrating with access control and ID badging for secure access.
Plan proactively around typical pain points like Monday morning Wi-Fi overload or Friday happy hour parking congestion through flexible staffing plans and preemptive tech boosts.
Supporting Member Success
The most effective way to sustain happy members is by providing proactive support for business growth, networking, and problem-solving. Make introductions between synergistic members. Host periodic skill-sharing workshops and pop-up seminars catered to patrons’ expertise areas.
Keep ears open for recurring member pain points you can alleviate through upgrades like faster Wi-Fi or access to specialized software tools. Your members’ success translates to renewal revenue.
The Final Take…
Uncovering potential value trapped within outdated real estate allows visionary owners to capitalize on the growing freelance economy. By following the recommendations around evaluating, designing, and promoting a coworking franchise highlighted here, you can contribute to the changing nature of work in your community while sustaining a profitable business.