23 Comments

Summary:

Coworking centers — independent collaboration spaces that appeal to web workers who would otherwise be based out of their homes or coffee shops — have been springing up all over the world. But how much does it cost to rent a desk at one of these places?

coworkingdesk

Coworking centers — independent officelike collaboration spaces that appeal to freelancers, solo entrepreneurs and web workers who would otherwise be based out of their homes or coffee shops — have been springing up all over the world. But how much does it cost to rent a desk at one of these places? Deskwanted, an online marketplace for coworking desk space, has carried out a study to investigate coworking costs in the U.S.

According to the Deskwanted study, the average cost of renting a “flexible desk” during regular business hours is $152 a month. As Deskwanted’s analyst Sophie Bonnet points out, that’s probably less than what it would cost to work out of a coffee shop, assuming that a reasonable amount of drinks and snacks were bought throughout each day. A flexible desk membership that allows for 24/7 access to the space costs an average of $209 per month. As you might expect, the study found that renting a permanent desk at a coworking center is more expensive: A permanent desk that’s available for use during regular business hours costs an average of $308 per month, while one with 24/7 access costs an average of $387 per month.

Deskwanted also carried out a similar study six months ago and found the average price of renting a flexible desk to be $150. So prices have increased slightly, despite increased competition in the market as more spaces open.

It’s worth pointing out that Deskwanted’s figures can only really provide an approximate indication of costs. Pricing will vary from city to city, and it will also depend on the location, facilities and types of memberships that a particular coworking center provides. But with centers now available in almost every major town in the U.S. and in major cities worldwide (there’s a fairly comprehensive directory on the Coworking wiki), it seems that coworking is now an affordable alternative to working from home or coffee shops for most web workers. If you’re interested in coworking and want to find out more, check out Imran’s excellent summary of our content on the topic.

Photo courtesy Flickr user  www.cofab.de

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  1. Aaron Von Gauss Monday, June 13, 2011

    If you don’t have to go in to an office everyday, why on earth would you want to rent a desk in an office? I can see the occasional need for maybe resources you don’t have access to at your house, but isn’t one of the major benefits not to have to go in to an office everyday?

    1. Some people don’t like working from home by themselves. Coworking also offers opportunities to bounce ideas off other people and to network.

      1. I definitely understand the concept of not wanting to go crazy working from the house always, but as I sit here in a coffee shop writing this, I still don’t understand the replacing one office environment with another office environment. Maybe its just me.

      2. I’m not sure it really compares to a stereotypical office environment; not in my experience anyway, although I guess it would depend on which coworking center you used and what your “traditional” office experience was like. I’d recommend trying it for a day (many centers do drop-in rates and some of them are even free) if you haven’t experienced it.

      3. Coworking isn’t always about “getting out of the office *space*”. I happen to like working in offices. I don’t however enjoy the bureaucracy, politics and game-playing that tends to happen in large corporations. I like to go to work and get work done – not engage in competitive head-bashing.

        A coworking space would give me the benefits of the office space (access to meeting rooms, projectors, photocopies, and other human beings that I can interact with / bounce ideas off of) – without having to deal with corporate bureaucracy.

      4. @Mike that’s a good way to think about the difference, thanks.

    2. Some people may simply not be located in the same town as their employer. Co-working offers a good option. Don’t forget, office serves a social need as well.

      Pankaj
      http://www.hyperoffice.com

  2. So coworking eliminates the need to eat and drink? Man, why hasn’t this caught on in Africa?!?

    1. No, of course not :) But unlike cafes, coworking places generally have free tea/coffee, meaning you don’t have to keep buying drinks and snacks to justify using the wi-fi.

      1. That’s what I was going to bring up. Cody is right in that you still have to eat and drink but Simon is saying at least coffee is usually free. But I’ve never been to a coworking location with free lunch and I (didn’t read the quoted article) but figure they included eating lunch at the coffee shop into their cost of working at one.
        Keep in mind also that bringing a bag lunch from home is totally cool at a coworking location and I feel kind of uncool if you’re working at a coffee shop.

  3. TelBitConsulting Monday, June 13, 2011

    AltamontCowork (http://AltamontCowork.com) in Tracy, CA costs $150 per month with 24 x7 access, free coffee, free WiFi. BUT….people are still in love with their private offices in Tracy, and they must also love DRIVING over the hill a couple of hours one way to get to work, since we have not had one commuter come in here. I’m hoping to change all that, but, after two+ years in business, I am still two full-time members away from breaking even.

    1. A bit of friendly, constructive criticism. Your price is fine. The pics on the site may be the problem. The area you have provided for working doesn’t look office like. It looks community center/senior center like.

      Hire an interior designer and have them design you an office with a ‘tech startup’ look and I think your business will improve.

      Good luck

      1. TelBitConsulting NDP Saturday, June 18, 2011

        NDP: Thanks! Constructive criticism is always welcome! The plan is to change the look and feel, and in fact, it has evolved considerably since opening (but please understand that cost is a factor). AS for your specific comment…I was wondering why the most requested activity was shuffle board! Now I know why. :-)

  4. This is actually the first time I’m hearing of the concept ‘coworking space’ and it’s rather interesting how the work paradigm is shifting now.

  5. Can the cost be claimed back on ones tax cost of doing business.

    1. Yes (see Mahesh’s comment below)

  6. Mahesh Grossman, ghostwriting guru Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    As a denizen of NextSpace in Santa Cruz, there are several other advantages:

    1) Unlike Starbucks, your coworking space is tax-deductible.
    2) You don’t need to ask someone to watch your computer every time you get up to go to the bathroom– and it’s even safe while you eat lunch.
    3) The networking opportunities can make you money that you wouldn’t otherwise earn. Just one client or job can more than pay for your coworking space for years.
    4) You have a place to have a Christmas party like everyone else with a regular job.
    5) You can finally get rid of your leftover Halloween candy by bringing it to the office.

    1. I have an issue with your claim that it’s tax-deductible. That hinges on a lot of issues, including if you’re an employee or not. It also jeopardizes being able to claim a home office. More mileage can be considered business miles for deducting car expenses if one is using a home office. You’re not going to be able to deduct miles for commuting to a coworking site. Overall, I think the tax advantage is far on the side of having a home office. With coworking, you’re paying a four-digit yearly figure to give up lots of tax deductions as well as the principal advantages of working from home.

  7. I work out of a coffee shop every day – for the price of a single coffee most days. So, no, this isn’t a cheaper solution, unfortunately. For the “real bootstrappers”, coworking spaces are still pretty much an unaffordable luxury (checking my sbucks card, looks like I drop a little under $60/month on average).

    1. Deano,

      I see your point, but why not just work out of your house, buy your coffee and brew at home. For a true bootstrapper, that’s another $40/month you might save ($20 for coffee at home).

      1. $20 for coffee AND the cost of living in a “home?” You guys must be rolling in the dough over there! I work from a park bench just outside a Starbucks (free wi-fi!), drink only water, eat only the leftovers people toss in the trash can next to the bench, and sleep on said bench. Total cost: $0/month.

  8. With the number of mobile workers on the rise, coworking is becomming a very popular option. While some find it easy to work from home there can be all kinds of distractions such as kids, pets, roommates, etc. So for those who find it difficult to work from home virtual offices offer a superior option for those who are seeking a more professional enviroment to work in or to entertain clients somewhere other than a crowded coffee shop. I recently found Servcorp, http://www.servcorp.com/, a great company that offers virtual offices and executive suites in 13 cities across the U.S. and 21 cities around the globe, they also offer services such as phone/mail handeling, business address’, and meeting/comferecne rooms. Servcorp offers many different membership packages to fit everyones budget, so if your struggling with the disractions of workinf form home, check them out!

  9. Coworking costs less than working from a coffee shop http://t.co/DT7dQdoI #vancouver #coworking

  10. RT @thehubzette: Coworking costs less than working from a coffee shop http://t.co/DT7dQdoI #vancouver #coworking

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