What Is A Serviced Office? A Comprehensive Guide

Serviced offices have been around for several decades.  It is a proven workspace model that is suitable for various business sizes and types.  Even today, serviced offices are a favourite among businesses when they enter a new market.  Or when businesses have a specific need for projects.  Serviced offices are also “swing space” which is used when businesses need some interim space for their office renovations. Startups as well as large corporates experiencing large growth also rent serviced offices.  A flexible lease at serviced offices means businesses do not make a large financial commitment for a long-term lease. The main reasons for the constant demand for serviced offices are its lease flexibility, convenience and cost-effectiveness.

Are you new to the concept of serviced offices?  Or actively researching serviced offices as an office solution?  This guide offers all the valuable information you would need to know about serviced offices and make the right business decision.

What Is A Serviced Office?

A serviced office is an office that is fully equipped and managed by a facilities management company.  Essentially, you have an office within a larger office that is fully equipped with shared work amenities.  Businesses occupy smaller private offices within the serviced office.  Your private office is either on the same floor or on different floors.  Serviced offices are also known as business centers, managed offices, executive centers or executive offices.

Serviced offices are usually located in prime locations in the business districts of large cities. The smaller serviced office outfits can also be found at the fringe of the CBD or in industrial hubs such as Changi or Jurong.  Serviced offices are a favourite for offices that need to be closer to the industrial hubs or provide shorter travelling times. Serviced offices “on the city fringe” offer more affordable leases.  They are a good option for small and medium-sized businesses, or startups which are ready to scale up.

Interested to read further about serviced offices?  Here is a short article that gives you a head start on everything you need to know about serviced offices.

Types Of Serviced Offices

Serviced offices fall into three main categories.  Here are the three most commonly found in the market:

  1. Locally-Operated Serviced Office:

    These serviced offices are operated by small local companies which offer an experience and vibe more tailored to the needs of local businesses in Singapore.

  2. Regional Serviced Office:

    Typically, a regional serviced office is part of a network of serviced offices operated by a single operator in major cities across the region and/or the world. The biggest benefit of these regional serviced offices is the instant access to one of the regional or global offices when on a business trip.  If you would like to learn more about regional serviced offices and their perks, read our piece on the crucial benefits of regional serviced office providers.

  3. Hybrid of Serviced Office + “Coworking” Environment:

    The hybrid model is a new trend provided by serviced offices.  With “coworking” as a new workstyle gaining traction, serviced offices are merging the benefits of the private office space with the coworking concept.  Open-plan working areas are now available for those who prefer the quiet environment of a serviced office but not in an enclosed private office. Additionally, some serviced office operators also organise social events such as end-of-the-week cocktails.  

Serviced Office versus Coworking Space

Serviced offices and coworking spaces both fall under the category of “flexible space.”  If you’re looking for flexible office space, you might also be considering coworking spaces. While both options provide flexible leasing terms, the vibe and types of companies in serviced offices and coworking spaces are very different.  Coworking spaces place much more emphasis on community engagement and collaboration. Your decision ultimately depends on what will best suit your business, style of work, and culture. This article will be helpful in ironing out the differences between serviced offices and coworking spaces.

Benefits of a Serviced Office

Office space in a serviced office is “flexible” because it allows additional workspace to be allocated at short notice, and can scale along with business growth.

Serviced office providers allow tenants to share reception services, server machines, and access to IT support and security services. This provides reduced costs and access to equipment and services which may otherwise be unaffordable.  

Businesses can make use of pay-as-you-use facilities (such as meeting rooms) as well as a regional or global network when travelling, with a very quick set-up time.  With all these benefits, it’s clear why serviced offices are still the workspace of choice for many companies, no matter a small or medium-sized or large business.

To gain more insight into these benefits, check out this article that extensively discusses the top reasons why you should consider taking up a serviced office for rent.

Leasing Terms of a Serviced Office

Serviced offices generally offer more flexible rental terms, as opposed to a conventional long-term office lease which may involve furnishing, equipment, and more restrictive lease clauses.  The ability to provide additional furnished office space with short notice can help companies with their businesses tremendously.

You can rent a serviced office from as short as six months to as long as two years.  Most businesses lease a serviced office for a period of 6 months to 1 year, and renew their leases for another 6 months or 1 year as needed.  Small and medium-sized businesses with more employees usually lease for a much longer period so that they avoid all the challenges associated with changing offices.  

The longer a lease term you sign, the more negotiation leverage you have and the more rental costs you can save.

6. Cost of renting a Serviced Office

The cost of renting a serviced office depends on a number of factors such as the size of the private office, location of the serviced office, commonly shared amenities, special amenities (eg: server rack) and the duration of your lease.  

The most important thing to note is that most serviced office operators will quote an “Asking Price”.  This “asking price” is not the final price and it is in fact negotiable. You would be surprised as to how many businesses are not aware of this basic, yet critical point.  

The key takeaway here is to always negotiate on the “Asking Price”.

Select the perfect Serviced Office for you

You may now be keen to find the serviced office that best suit your business needs.  

First, start by asking – what type of office space you need and how you like to work.  Do you prefer a private office or “open-plan” desks?

Next, how long will you need to be in this office?  6 months? 12 months? 

How will your business be growing in the next 12 months?  

When do you need to move into your new serviced office?

A common mistake is to start looking for serviced offices either “too early” or “too late”. Remember serviced offices are flexible spaces. If you would like to move in next week, you may have fewer choices than expected. If you would like to move in only in 6 months’ time, you may not be able to get a serviced office to commit to your request. We recommend you start your search about one month before your current notice date. If you are looking for your first office space, you should start 4-6 weeks before your move-in date.

In order to make the best choice from the hundreds of serviced office options out there, take a look at this article to find out more about how to find your perfect serviced office space.

Signing the lease for your Serviced Office

Now that you’ve found your dream serviced office, you have one final step – you need to sign your lease! Always read the lease very carefully to make sure you know what you have signed up for. You need to ensure that the information you received during your visits matches what is stated in the lease. If you have any concerns about any information that is stated in the document, approach the operator to seek clarification before you sign the lease! Take a look at our article on hidden costs that could come with your flexible office space lease.

Summary of  Serviced Offices

With the mounting choice of serviced offices, looking for the perfect office space can be intimidating, time-consuming and confusing. We have two decades of experience and know-how and have helped companies all over the world find their best workspace. We hope this guide will be helpful to you.  

If you feel more confident about serviced offices and are interested to visit a few, you may consider using a free online marketplace like GorillaSpace, a one-stop solution to search and book your serviced office. You can browse hundreds of verified serviced offices across various locations for all budgets. Additionally, you can experience the real feel of the serviced offices through 360° panoramas and high-definition pictures.

If your business has specific requirements, use our smart recommendation tool to find your serviced office faster.  Simply state your requirements and the algorithm will propose the most suitable options available that match your needs.

Have more questions you’d like answered? Require specific help for your serviced office search? Our industry experts are here to help you. Give us a call at +65 8817 9170 or drop us an email at support@gorillaspace.co.

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