How To Choose A Business Office Space In Singapore

SMEs can find a variety of offline office spaces overwhelming. Co-working spaces and business centres as well as government and private offices, are just some of the options available to choose from.

Co-Working Spaces / Business Centres

Fully-furnished and ready-made offices located in the Central Business District (CBD) are known as Business Centres. Such offices are ideal in accommodating 10 or fewer employees and can be a good temporary office.

Pros

Cons

Comes fully furnished and equipped

Low capital expenditure

Higher accessibility

The office is managed by specialized companies and is fully-equipped with amenities such as reception, IT infrastructure, mail support, internet connection, printing services, meeting rooms, office cleaning, pantry and more. This makes working conducive. Furthermore, conference rooms and meeting rooms which were previously too expensive can now be made accessible on a pay-as-you-use basis.

Since they are available immediately and requires low capital expenditure, there is no need to plan out long-term rental finances. In fact, the rent can be fixed on a monthly basis for more flexibility. This also allows you to take up more or less space as you scale up or down. This makes business centres popular with startups, particularly those with unpredictable growth, or those operating in an unstable market.

As the office is located in the CBD area, it is easily accessible by both employees and clients. Choosing one that is close to the MRT can be very helpful too. Beyond convenience, the prestigious business address can also generate more credibility for your business.

High rental cost

Higher cost in long run

Shared amenities may result in inefficiencies

With all these amenities, rental prices can be steep. Depending on the location, a business centre that can house around 3 employees can cost between SGD$2,000 to SGD$3,000 a month, with add-on facility costs ranging from SGD$20 to SGD$50 an hour. As evident, while the initial capital required is low, costs do add up and can be expensive in the long run. This makes business centres a good temporary rental option as opposed to a long-term one.

As resources such as meeting rooms are shared amongst the various tenants, there is a need to book the facilities well in advance. You may also need to queue and wait to utilize common resources such as printing services. All these can become a hassle over time.

Conventional Offices

Conventional offices are empty rental offices that are either owned by the government or private entities. While dependent on the location and building age, the rental costs by the former are typically lower than the latter but tend to be located further away from the centre of Singapore.

Pros

Cons

Freedom to refurbish and renovate

Lower cost in the long run

Longer tenures

 

Conventional offices give you the freedom of designing the space within the rental guidelines. With that, you have more control on the overall look and feel of your office by using your unique corporate colour scheme, incorporating your mission and vision, do up the pantry according to employees’ tastes and preferences, name your meeting rooms according to your core values and create your own office layout. By customizing the overall aesthetics, not only will employees feel more at home, but clients can also form a better impression of the company.

While the initial capital outlay required is high, it can actually be less costly in the long run. In fact, if you don’t have to meet your clients in the office, there is no need to spend too much money on furnishing. A bare-bone office can prove to be even more cost-effective.

As compared to business centres, conventional offices have a longer-term tenure and can hence provide a greater sense of security. Furthermore, lease renewal is more often than not set at a predetermined rate. The peace of mind stemming from the knowledge that relocation will unlikely happen in the short term can minimise disruptions in your operations. This allows the team to focus on propelling the business forward without unnecessary distractions.

When renting commercial buildings owned by the government, Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) can be a good provider to consider. They can offer technopreneur centres, incubators, business parks, warehouse space, and even industry clusters such as that in the Jurong Island chemicals hub. You can also find out how to rent factories on their website.

Long minimum lease periods

High capital expenditure

Additional costs may be incurred

 

Typically, private office space rentals require a minimum lease which spans over two years. This can be too big a risk for startups in an early growth stage when survival and expansion are both unpredictable. There is a need to handle various business-related operations including phone answering, utilities, IT maintenance, housekeeping and more. Researching, sourcing, shortlisting, and deciding on the perfect building can be challenging. There may also be a need to hire an agent for this as negotiations on lease terms take skill and time.

With an empty office, there is a need to spruce up space with a set of utilities, IT infrastructure, furniture and more. Business-related operations such as phone answering, maintenance and housekeeping will also need to be handled by the company.


In conclusion, you should base your judgement on your company’s needs and capital available is needed to select an appropriate office to rent. You may also want to look into financing options such as Peer-to-Peer lending(P2P) to help to fund you rental and lease.

P2P lending is an offshoot of crowdfunding that matches investors and SME-owners through an online platform. You can take up a business loan for your business while investors that collectively funded these loans will earn an interest in return. P2P lending holds many advantages for SME-owners as it has an easier and quicker application process than traditional financial institutions and requires no collateral. This enables many SMEs with limited credit history to obtain business funding.

Have a business office space already and looking for business financing? Consider getting a property-backed loan.

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