An office is one of the most burdensome expenses for a startup company, but there are a few ways you can minimize your office costs, so you’ll have more money leftover to focus on growing your cash flow. Here are seven ways to save money on your office expenses.
Deduct Your Expenses
There are lots of different tax deductions that are available for startup companies, including deductions that are office related. Some of the expenses you can deduct include your office equipment, like your computers, printers and phones.
You’ll get an additional tax incentive if you run your business from home. Your home office can be deducted, so long as it’s a space in your home that’s used exclusively for business purposes (view the IRS website for exact stipulations).
Be sure that you keep track of all your business expenses, so you’ll know exactly how much you’ll be able to deduct when you file taxes. The IRS may also ask that you provide documentation for all of these expenses.
Work from Home
Aside from the tax deduction, running your business from home is great because you can save a lot of money by not having to pay a lease. Working from home is also just pleasant and convenient—but only if you’re able to create a productive workspace.
Be sure you set up your home office in a part of your home that’s free from distractions. If you’re going to hire employees for your company, you might consider renting out a larger house or apartment so there’s more space for your employees—you can always use company funds to help pay for the space. You could also rely on freelance workers until your business is profitable enough to get its own office.
Avoid Shared Workspaces
Shared workspaces were the rage for a while, especially for fast-growing tech companies. Shared workspaces are popular because they’re easily scalable, and because the companies that own these spaces usually throw social events for all the companies that work in the building. WeWork is the pioneer of the modern shared workspace.
Don’t buy into it.
Shared workspaces are overly expensive. And the social events typically cause lots of extra distractions for your employees—and most workplaces find it difficult enough to manage the interpersonal relationships among your own staff. Best to have your own office, with your own singular office culture.
Embrace the Open Office
The open office was championed by Silicon Valley, but most employees around the country seem to hate it because it’s very distracting. However, an open office undeniably has benefits for a new company because you’re able to fit a larger amount of people in a smaller space—and thus, be able to rent a smaller and cheaper office.
You can make the open office experience better for your employees by separating the open floor into sections that are organized by work teams. You could also offer remote work and flex hours.
Buy the Right Office Supplies
Don’t go overboard when you’re buying office equipment. Only buy the necessary devices: conference phones, software, tables, etc. So far as computers go, you’ll probably want to purchase laptop computers, so your employees are able to take work home.
You shouldn’t buy the most expensive office equipment (unless you need it), but you shouldn’t buy the cheapest equipment, either, or else you’ll be wasting money by having to buy new equipment all the time when your cheap stuff breaks. Look for equipment that will give you lots of mileage. For example, if you wanted to buy printer ink that can yield lots of pages, you might prefer buying high-yield cartridges over standard cartridges.
Don’t Go Overboard with Office Perks
Every company wants to be “hip” and have an office that’s stocked with kegs, wine coolers, and video game consoles. These things can cost you a lot of money, and they probably won’t improve your office culture or the productivity of your workplace.
Remember that most employees would prefer perks like work from home days, flex hours, remote work, or an ample amount of PTO. Those are the most beneficial perks that are more worth your investment.
Don’t Prioritize Affordability Over Safety
It’s your responsibility to protect your employees, so don’t choose an office that’s affordable, but unsafe. Try not to rent an office that’s in a dangerous neighborhood and be sure that the office complies with building codes and fire codes. You should also implement office security features, like keypad locks and security cameras.
You may have to pay more money for location and security, but your expenses won’t be as bad as losses that your company could take due to theft or lawsuits.
Follow these seven tips when you’re planning your startup office and you’re sure to have happy employees and lower expenses.