Whether you are opening a home office or you’re renting an office space, you understand the importance of projecting an image of success and professionalism to your clients, associates and employees. Of course, large offices and staff, and high end furniture and accents aren’t in the budget. So, how can you project the desired image while staying within your budget? Here are a few tips.
Share the Space
If you are set on having an office space away from home, but aren’t in a position yet where you can afford the rent or keep it fully staffed alone, consider sharing the space with another attorney. The idea of sharing saves money on all fronts. You share the expense of the rent and utilities, and both attorneys split the cost of the staff as well.
Another idea is to seek out a space from an already established firm. You can enjoy the benefit of having your office in a high profile location without breaking the bank.
Furnishing and decorating your office can be a major upfront expense. However, by planning ahead and being frugal, you can save a lot of money. For example, consider decorating your office with plants instead of fancy artwork. Plants can have the added benefit of making clients feel more relaxed and comfortable.
As far as furnishing your office, look into real estate staging companies or stores that sell used office furniture. They often have a large selection of high quality furniture at low prices, and since most of the furniture was previously located in an office environment, it will still be in good shape. Office supply stores that sell new furniture are not your best bet, as they can be prohibitively expensive. Additionally, you should avoid leasing your furniture. The low upfront cost may sound attractive, but in the end, you often end up paying much more than what the furniture is worth.
If you have items from home that you can use to stage your office, consider taking them in and trying them out. This is a particularly good idea when thinking about pictures and artwork. Family portraits or paintings you already own could work very well, and potentially save you thousands of dollars.
It may not be what you signed on for when you chose a career as an attorney, but there is an awful lot you can do yourself to save money when preparing your office. It doesn’t take much to paint a wall, so if the space is relatively small, think about painting the walls, hanging the drapes or blinds, or installing the new light fixture yourself. You could save hundreds of dollars by spending one Saturday preparing the office yourself.
Establishing a new office is expensive, and the cost can seem prohibitive, especially to those just starting out in the profession. However, there are a number of things you can do to control the costs. By utilizing items from home, doing some of the prep work yourself, carefully evaluating your space and staffing needs, and buying used instead of new, you can save thousands of dollars in upfront and ongoing costs.