About half a year ago, when we had around ten office employees, we began thinking about moving to a new office. Our old office could only house a maximum of fifteen people. We wanted to relocate to either Portland, OR or Vancouver, WA. We searched Craigslist for spaces. We checked other listing sites and many options around the Vancouver/Portland area. We looked at various offices, big and small, new and old. Most of them required at least a three-year contract. We decided to find something that could eventually house at least fifty people and started looking at only 5,000 sq/ft plus offices.
It was difficult to find the right place because we did not have the time to check all the options. We were focused on building Finic, which was more important than finding a new office.
Eventually, a few options stood out to us in Vancouver, WA at Park Plaza Towers. They had several offices available, and we picked the most suitable for us, 5600 sq/ft on the second floor. All we needed was to renovate that office.
After a couple of months of negotiating, we settled on an agreement with the landlord.
Here is the summary of terms:
First: We signed a contract for five months and five years. Five years is the minimum length they required. The five months were free and would start at the beginning.
Second: Rent included all utilities and cleaning. After the first year, it would cost us $12K a month. Compared to our other options, we felt this was a great price.
Third: We had to prepay for our first year seven paid months with a little discount. The total amounted to $56,531.00.
Fourth: They gave us an allowance for renovation of $30,000 not enough for a whole renovation, but helpful.
The price amounted to $11,564.98 for the security deposit plus $56,531.00 for prepayment.
Months Annual PSF Base Monthly Rent:
We looked for a perfect contractor and decided to hire an architecture firm. Architects estimated their involves, and it came down to $12,000 for three visits. The price was OK, but their involves were close to zero. We agreed not to proceed.
We met a contractor from Landlord and received an estimation from him: $60,000 plus taxes. This seemed too expensive. I tried to find another option. But we did not have much time, so I ended up with the contractor from Landlord. The whole renovation cost $60,000, so we had to pay an additional $30,000.
It took around two months to receive all materials and get the job done. Nothing fancy.
Here is what we did:
– Removed all doors and left only two to make the office more open
– Removed kitchen and installed a new one, because the old one was probably twenty years old
– Painted all walls
– Removed carpet and installed a new one
– Changed baseboards
At the end of the renovation, the cost increased to $65,399.89, and we had to pay $33,403.46.
For our new office, we ordered new electrical standing desks because standing desks are said to increase productivity up to 10%. By making a simple calculation, I concluded that the difference would be paid off in two months maximum. Initially, we were going to purchase desks at IKEA, but IKEA did not stock what we needed or accept online orders. We found a company called HumanSolution. After a couple weeks of bargaining, I landed a big discount and ordered 30 tables from it. The default price for desks is $699. When you select 60”x30” white top, it adds up to $809. But we purchased ours for $600 and saved $6,270.
Items we bought for our new office:
• 20 chairs from MadisonSeating with headrest for $598 each (lower than an original price by $50 each)
• twenty 34” wide monitors for developers for $999 each and arms for those monitors which is $150 each.
• 20 new MacBook pro’s for $1879 each (original price $1999)
• 20 Apple mice – $69 each
• 20 keyboards – $69 each
• Italian Coffee machine (with grinder it comes up to $3,180)
• Fridge from IKEA for $1,899
• Eight conference chairs for $375 each
At this point, we spent $199,878.44. It sounds like a lot, but we have to remember a few things:
- we paid $11,564.98 security deposit
- prepaid $56,531.00 for month 6-12
- got five free months for the space
- received discounted seven months for the space
- received good deals on the desks, MacBooks and chairs
By my estimates, we already saved $76,743, which is not bad. I believe that the money we spent for the office is worth every penny.
The office looks empty at the moment, but we plan to purchase more things soon.
Here is what we plan to get:
- Conference table
- Couch, chair and coffee table for our entrance
- Couple of couches for open area
- Pool table for open area
- Ping pong table
- Plenty of white boards
- Small file cabinets
- Book shelves
- Plenty of wall art
- and more