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Business Centres: Watch out for Hidden Costs!

By IanIn standard12th May, 2016

The concept of service offices and business centres is great for small business owners who do not want the capital expense costs of opening an office in traditional raw office space. However, some serviced offices come with hidden costs that business owners do not expect. When renting an all-inclusive office space, make sure that you know in advance what is and what is not included before you sign the rental agreement. Unless you know all the facts, you may sign up for a serviced office space, believing it to be at a fixed price, only to find that there are hidden costs added. What are the hidden charges in a serviced office? Here are some essential questions to ask the business centre provider before signing up for a serviced office package.

Are there set-up costs or charges? You need to ask about any set-up costs that might be incurred when moving into a business centre. This includes everything from phone and internet connection set-up to voicemail and administrative set-up costs that they want to charge as part of opening an office at their centre.

Ask the serviced office provider if they charge cleaning fees for the office space you are renting – even for common areas! Be sure to know if they do charge added fees for cleaning, what those fees are and how often the cleaning is done. If the cleaning fees are an additional hidden fee, you should know the rate and if you can opt out and have your own cleaning company of staffers perform the work.

Many serviced office business centres will say that Internet is included in the rent, but do not tell you that there is a usage cap on bandwidth and additional charges will apply. Make sure you know the cap on Internet usage and if there is a flat rate for unlimited usage. This way, you know what you are getting and will not see hidden usage fees at the end of the month.

Many serviced offices offer clients free meeting rooms and boardroom facilities. But some serviced office providers restrict the number of times per month or the number of hours that meeting rooms can be used. Read the rental agreement to make sure that you are aware of any additional charges that may apply if you go over the allotted amount of hours or sessions. You should also inquire if there is additional costs to use larger conference rooms or seminar training rooms in the facility.

What about refreshments such as coffee, tea or filtered water? Are these free or do you have to pay additional monthly or per-beverage charges for these items? At Telsec Business Centres, coffee, tea and filtered water are complimentary in the two kitchens on a self-serve basis. You can also purchase soda pop in the kitchens, and there is a Starbucks on the main floor of the building to buy fancy coffees.

Most serviced offices and business centres offices don’t typically charge for electricity, but some do. So again, this is something you need to be clear about when signing your rental agreement.

If parking is not included, what does on-site parking cost for you or your guests? When a business centre does not include parking or have on-site parking, you want to know about parking in the surrounding area and if there are monthly discounts that the business centre has worked out with the parking facility.

When your small business needs more space or less space, is there an extra fee to move offices besides the change in rent? There are some serviced offices that charge an administrative moving fee, even when the move is an internal move.

While using a serviced office space, you are not tied into a long-term lease. But what guarantees do you have that the cost of the rent will not change within a few months of renting the space? You should get some sort of written statement that says the cost of the unit you are renting will not increase for a set number of months or years.

With this list of potential hidden fees, make sure that you also ask the right questions of the person you are dealing with at the serviced office space you are considering. At Telsec Business Centres, there are no hidden fees. You get the price that is agreed upon when you sign your rental agreement.