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Impact of startups on co-working spaces

If you are bitten by the startup bug and are looking for space to expand your growing business, you are in the same boat with a number of professionals who find the home dining table too small. Professionals with small business and consultants are looking for places that do not cost a lot of money but help in growing their business. Based on a report, the real estate expenses make about 9%-12% of the total operating costs for a corporate in India and it could account more for a startup. As of April 2018, flexible workspaces occupy more than 8.1 million square feet of space across the top eight cities in the country. 

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Co-working spaces are offered by various firms across India and it can be rented out on an hourly, daily or monthly basis. If you are looking for an office to your meet clients from time to time, you can rent out a place on a daily basis. The costs are as low as INR 300 per day per person. Alternatively, if you are working on a project and need an office space for the month, you can rent it out for INR 8000 per month. Apart from companies, there are people like business nomads or expats who prefer to work out of co-working spaces. Another reason behind the growth of co-working startups is the growing volume of freelance workers in consulting, designing and advertising.

The available options include fixed seats, private offices and flexible desks. You can reduce or increase the number of seats in the same location according to your needs. The services and prices differ based on the location and the service provider. A lot of domestic and international companies have entered into the co-working space in the country. There are more than 120 operators in the top eight cities that offer shared and co-working space and the competition is increasing. Even established developers like Embassy and RMZ have entered into the space by partnering with a co-working company or by starting their own services. At the same time, there are domestic players like Smartworks, 91 Springboard, AWFIS, CoWrks and Innova8 that are ramping up their operations at a fast pace with stiff competition from foreign companies like WeWork.

It is expected that the demand for such spaces will only grow in the future and the potential market size of co-working across India is expected to reach 13.5 million users by 2020. There are multiple benefits of co-working, one of the most important being cost saving. Apart from the low cost of setting up an office, the co-work centers help reduce the recurring monthly cost. There is a saving per seat in a co-working space as compared to a standard lease. Additionally, the work space comes bundled with support staff like canteen, reception, housekeeping and other infrastructure facilities that an individual will find difficult to arrange for in a small office space. It helps divide cost as well. Another benefit is the flexibility and customization that the spaces offer. You can choose to work from a cabin space or a meeting room or an open room, the prices will vary accordingly. Lastly, co-working spaces have multiple offices which means you do not need to have a full-fledged office in different cities. For clients across different cities, you can look for co-working spaces available in that city. Freelancers are expected to contribute 1.5 million users worth of demand by 2020 and it is anticipated that the startups will demand up to 1 lac seats by 2020.

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