Working from home sounds like the ideal situation to those who go to an office every day and take part in the typical rat race. However, working from home can have its limitations as well. There are many different distractions. Even if you live alone, it’s tempting to get distracted with laundry, the telephone or even what’s on daytime television. Add a family into the mix, and getting any work done might be next to impossible.

It’s estimated that, by 2019, about 40 million people in the US will work for themselves. That may be the reason the same report indicates that the number of co-working spaces has increased by 3,000 percent since 2005. The number of people using these spaces has increased dramatically, but figuring out the type of space and all the ins and outs of leasing that space can make a freelancer’s head spin.

Different Workspace Options

Although a co-working space is a great choice for sole proprietors who do freelance work, they are just one option. There are many different things you can do to gain the space you need without breaking the bank:

  • Renting a:
    • communal desk in a shared workspace
    • private office in a co-working environment
    • permanent location
  • Leasing a room in someone else’s home
  • Heading to a public, free workspace, such as the local public library or a coffee shop
  • Some universities offer free startup space to encourage entrepreneurship

While free workspaces might not be ideal, if your business is not yet making enough money to justify the cost of renting shared workspace, it can be a nice way to break up the monotony of working from home. And allow you to focus on work when you need to work and home when you need to be home.

Co-working Spaces: Expect These Amenities

One of the biggest advantages of renting space in a facility set up to rent office space to entrepreneurs is that the majority of them already have everything you need to do business. Most shared workspaces are located in major cities and offer amenities such as:

  • Office furniture
  • Phones
  • High-speed internet
  • Meeting space
  • Free coffee

Essentially, it’s similar to going into a job in an office, but you’re your own boss. You set your own hours, bring in your own clients and determine all aspects of how you’ll run your own business. If you’re a freelancer who needs to get out of the house to complete work, want to separate home and work life or need to meet with clients occasionally, a shared workspace may be just what you need.

Expect to Pay About This Much

The costs of the ultimate workspace are going to vary drastically from city to city, location to location, and even based upon your individual needs as a freelancer. Obviously, if you rent a room in someone’s home, you might pay a little less, but you also won’t have the opportunity to meet with other entrepreneurs around the water cooler or access to some of the amenities available at a professional workspace building.

If you choose to rent or buy a permanent office, such as leasing a suite in a business complex, you will also pay more. The cost is typically based on the square footage you need. You will also be responsible for your own internet, electricity and other costs.

With a shared workspace, expect to pay the least for shared desk space that’s communal. So, you might have a cubicle at a table with four other people. It will typically be an open space. For a barrier-free space in Miami like this, expect to pay around $200/month. For a “fixed solo desk,” expect to pay about $500/month, and for a private suite about $700/month.

You will likely have to place a deposit on your office space. Read your lease agreement carefully. Document any damage before you take possession and take photographs with a time stamp on them. Take careful note of what is and is not included, such as internet, air conditioning and parking.

Pros Versus Cons

Most workspaces require you to sign a lease for a year. If you don’t already have a credit history, you may need to get someone to co-sign for you or pay a large deposit. You will now have more monthly overhead than if you just worked from home. Be sure your business can sustain the additional payments. What would happen if you suddenly lost your biggest client? Or someone didn’t pay you on time? Can you still afford that rent? You will also have to deal with other personalities in a shared workspace that you wouldn’t necessarily have to deal with at home.

On the other hand, you’ll also have the benefit of networking with other business-minded professionals. You could form some advantageous alliances where you can help one another.

One of the biggest advantages to renting space outside your home is that you won’t be tempted to work around-the-clock. Separating work time and home time can ensure you create a balance to your life that many freelancers struggle to achieve.

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