When Andrew Goloboy opened Goloboy CPA 10 years ago in Sharon, Ma., a leafy Boston suburb, he also grabbed an address at The Cambridge Innovation Center, now known as CIC.
Ahead of its time when it opened in 1999, CIC touts shared office space for entrepreneurs and technology startups. Home to 2,500 companies over the years, CIC has since expanded to Boston, St. Louis and The Netherlands. In the fall of 2016, it plans to open yet another location in Miami, according to the Miami Herald.
Today, coworking spaces are popping up all over the world. Some are independently operated, such as WorkSwell Collaborative in Brookline, Ma., and others have several locations, like CIC and New York-based WeWork, with offices in 18 cities. Most shared spaces offer working solutions for independent freelancers as well as small businesses with upwards of 30 employees.
Joining a coworking space entails paying a monthly fee, which varies depending on how much space you need and how often you want to use the office. Pricing will also be based on whether you have a private office or a desk in a common space.
Goloboy initially joined CIC so he could have a city office spot to hold meetings with clients in Boston and Cambridge. It also gave his small accounting firm a bigger presence.
“The energy here is great, and it’s nice to have meetings on the 14th floor overlooking the Charles River,” says Goloboy.
How to Start Your Search for a Suitable Coworking Space
You can check out what’s available in your area by doing an Internet search. From there, you can see what each space offers regarding pricing and amenities. You can then set up a couple of tours.
Global chain WeWork, for example, offers pricing options starting at $45 for one day a month plus additional fees for extra time and services. You can also rent a daily desk spot for
$450 a month, or you can move an entire company with 100 employees to WeWork for a customized pricing package.
Goloboy pays $350 a month at CIC, and this gives him a desk and conference space at the site one day a week.
Besides pricing and the amount of space needed, you might want to consider other amenities that come with a coworking membership. Working at a shared space gives you access to Wi-Fi, office equipment and furniture, conference rooms, and a kitchen with free-flowing coffee and sometimes even healthy snacks. In addition, some coworking companies offer perks like negotiated discounts on Internet hosting technology and gym memberships, as well as access to business seminars and social events.
There is still one more important thing to consider when choosing a co-working space: the networking opportunities.
Not only can you meet possible clients for your business at networking and social events hosted by the office, but some companies offer virtual access to members around the country and world.
Members of WeWork, for example, can network with more than 25,000 other members online to market business services and share resources.
On a local level, Goloboy says he benefits immensely from the contacts he has met through CIC’s community of like-minded entrepreneurs. You get to know the other people here and begin to share resources, says Goloboy, who has 10 clients he met at CIC.
”This is a great way to build community,” he says.