With many virtual office options available, it can be difficult to know what is best. Learn what you can get to have success with a virtual law office Manhattan.
What a virtual office entails.
A virtual office rental arrangement is a financial arrangement where solo and small firm attorneys pay a low monthly fee (typically starting at under $149 month) to rent the use of a premium commercial address in an executive office suite and the non-exclusive use of office space and amenities, such as conference room facilities, a staffed reception area and access to law firm grade telecommunications and office equipment.
Where are the virtual office arrangements?
Virtual offices can be found just about anywhere, but it is most common to find one at an executive office centers. The highest volume of virtual offices are typically found in large cities.
Virtual rental agreements typically come as a package deal without the huge overhead costs a physical office rental is associated with. You are provided with basic amenities like a commercial mailing address and mail services. In addition to that, other amenities like conference room hours or even use of a day office can be negotiated but this is dependant on the center.
Such centers are likely going to be staffed and professionally operated. Knowing this, you must take into consideration what works best for your practice.
A few things to think about when attaining a virtual office:
Price is the main selling point for a virtual office arrangement. Forget about what’s included. If it is out of an attorney’s price range or seems unreasonable, it can be the deciding factor.
Virtual offices are priced consistently across the board, averaging out at $100 dollars. This can vary monthly with costs of extra services such as conference rooms.
Higher end packages are usually indicative of a larger city like New York or San Francisco where the market is strong.
Location is key when picking a virtual office. What if you travel a lot and fly in and out of a different city each week? What if your clients do the same?
For a virtual arrangement, one must take everything into consideration and be aware. You may want to consider being near an airport or even near the most major transportation hubs.
Having amenities that help your practice means your clients get the right service from you. Conference rooms are probably the most utilized amenity.
Conference rooms differ in rates as rooms differ in size and location. When a center has few conference rooms, it isn’t good for a solo who has moderate to frequent need to use it.
4. Onsite staff.
In an executive office center like Law Firm Suites, staff is hired to manage the site and day-to-day operations. Regardless of the type of client you are, you need to know that the staff is competent and can handle your needs.
You have to think in terms of how the staff will be taking care of your needs, because they will essentially be doing that. The staff needs to provide the best experience possible in order for you to practice most efficiently.
Professionalism is key and that is what potential tenants need to keep in mind for virtual offices.
It is important to cover your behind, so always make sure there is adequate staffing during regular business hours. Some centers have very poor reception patterns. The front desk may be left unattended for long periods of time which does not look good for you when a client is coming in to meet you. Even worse, the front desk may be occupied by someone who is just wildly incompetent.
5. Environment and Business Culture.
Business culture is a very impactful factor for choosing a shared office space because the work environment can mean success or failure of an attorney. Law Firm Suites caters to the lawyer culture. This means that the center feels like a law office. Productivity is promoted when there are closed doors and a professional vibe.
On the other hand, our colleagues at Sunshine Suites, another executive office center in downtown Manhattan, rent virtual offices and office space to start-up companies, mostly in technology. They rent open air, modular spaces that give their clients’ rapidly changing businesses the flexibility to easily grow and contract as needed. Without closed workspaces, there’s a noisy buzz in Sunshine Suites’ center that their core clientele finds inspiring and motivating.
The business culture of lawyers is much different than any other business culture. Something like a tech start-up or even a fashion marketing agency operate differently compared to a law firm which may register as “boring” to other business cultures.
The lack of privacy may be a turn off in some shared spaces for lawyers where other types of businesses may think nothing of it.
Your clients and colleagues have an expectation about what your office space will be like. They expect that they will be meeting you in a law office. Make sure the office center where you are renting your meeting space is consistent with your clients’ expectations. An office center with a high percentage of attorneys (or one that is exclusive to attorneys) is your best bet.