Does your office work for you, or are you working for your office? Office rent has become the second largest expense for law firms. In growing cities like Pittsburgh it’s become something of a quest for law firms to find a space that allows them to grow but doesn’t overburden them with overhead.
This is especially a problem for solos and growing practices, because here in Pittsburgh, Class A downtown space is at 90% occupancy. So that means high prices and limited choices, a bad combination for solos and growing practices. Larger firms who want to downgrade and reduce property overhead often believe they can’t do it without downgrading their presence.
So, where’s the happy medium between the efficient starter office in a not-so-great location and the conventional office that burdens the monthly balance sheet?
Law firms are seeking alternatives to traditional office spaces
Business ebbs and flows in most practices, and to maintain the agility they need to weather the ups and downs, many firms have found the high overhead costs and long rental agreements less than ideal. But there’s a growing shift toward alternatives to the traditional space scenario.
Like many of the essential services we use, the business model is changing. Uber created a more direct and convenient model to link passengers with self-managed drivers; crowdfunding applications like Kickstarter allows projects to raise money directly from funders over a distributed network. Tools like Clio and Rocket Matter made it possible to manage your law practice in the cloud for a predictable monthly fee, eliminating IT and software management requirements. And now the “executive suites” model is solving a similar problem for law firms: how to stop paying for office space you don’t need and get exactly what you need, when you need it.
Executive suites provide first class space in prime locations, typically with a package of selectable services based on your law firm’s needs. This allows for law firms of every size to have greater flexibility without sacrificing style or convenience.
It works like this: You lease a professionally designed, fully appointed office, with the amount of space based on the size of your firm. Additional floor space — like reception and waiting area, kitchen, and bathrooms — are included in the lease and shared with other tenants of the center. Conference and meeting room space is also shared with other tenants, and is time-allotted and reserved through the service center on a first-come, first-serve basis. Executive suites provide receptionist, admin and tech support to complete your practice, and it’s ready to go from day one.
Many law firms who have made the switch are enjoying that in most of these scenarios, you sign a flexible contract to make the space yours for three, six, or twelve months, with options to increase or decrease your space without a penalty. Executive suites are more affordable than setting up on office on your own, and because it’s billed either per-person or per-office space instead of by the square foot, you have greater flexibility to adjust your costs with your billings.
BusinesSuites has recently begun offering Executive Suites to law firms in Pittsburgh. We’ve also created a guide to help you navigate the different options and forms of flexible office space that are out there. Get the guide to learn more about how firms and solos are reducing their overhead and landing better spaces.