Branch is going to be looking for office space at the end of this summer. We need to accomodate 12-15 people. Where and how should we look? How much should we expect to pay?
Any advice on the process, in general, would be much appreciated!
My old studio was in a Two Trees building in DUMBO—20 Jay Street—with about 2500sqft and I was paying $4500/mo on a multi-year lease increasing 3% annually.
Had 12 people with a conference room and 2 open collab/crit spaces. Could have fit way more.
Two trees buildings tend to be a bit nicer and a bit pricier than the other buildings there, so be sure to compare to 68 Jay St and 10 Jay St (two of the only buildings not owned by Two Trees).
Had to pay 3 months + last month deposit. We did get them to drop the price a bit, signing late 2010.
Finding office space is a pain in the ass and takes a TON of time. I wrote about it here: jaredhecht.com
I'm a fan of renting desk space as long as possible from people who are cool with you being you.
If it's time to get your own, I recommend a couple things:
1) Somewhere with excellent internet
2) Proximity to other startups (it sucks when you have to schlep all the way uptown/across town for every meeting)
3) Close to a major commuter hub where subways meet (Union Square is perfect)
4) 2 year lease w/ ability to renew (you may grow fast and may need bigger space soon)
5) Ability to sublease (contractually) to subsidize rent cost
6) Management company that works with buildings of all sizes in NYC so they can accommodate a move to a bigger space (easier to work with good pre-existing relationships than create new ones)
I like Flatiron/Union Square area for all the above reasons. From what I've seen, expect to pay anywhere from $30-45/square foot depending on building
On Jared's point - it's very hard, time consuming, and confusing. Between free rent, rent per square foot, and tenant improvement dollars, its like a 4 dimensional negotiation. With that said, leases make most startups more nervous than they should. Your rent will be a small fraction of your costs relative to talent.
Get a broker you trust, consult with fellow founder friends, but recognize that it's not your biggest costs, and outgrowing your space is part of life in Manhattan. Just position yourself with more space in the building or outs. And if the mark moves down your small loss on your sublease is just a cost of growth. The alternative would be to take too big of a space, which is an unnecessary cost.
We've been looking for space for a while now. We are actually starting to look outside the normal areas and finding some awesome stuff downtown (near Wall Street) where Stack Exchange and some other startups are. I think it's probably smarter to dedicate a quick chunk of time to viewing things and making up your mind than it is to stretch things out.
Thanks for your feedback! Team Branch