Let’s see if Populus Coworking can save your small business a few thousand dollars a month on office space.

The Basics

Comparing the price of coworking spaces to traditional office space can appear complicated. Frankly, just understanding a conventional office lease can be challenging enough. The following is a guide to understanding how a coworking membership might compare to a traditional office lease for small businesses or startups.

Traditional Office

When it comes to a traditional office lease, there are several different types. The differences primarily deal with how a landlord will treat the expenses outside of base rent amount. One of the most typical leases is a triple net lease, shown often as NNN. Another common type is a gross lease. You might also find an absolute net lease, full-service lease, or modified gross. All of these options act differently and present expenses differently to renters. Ultimately, all of this means it is essential to understand your all-in cost to lease traditional office space.

Traditional office space will present costs on a per square foot basis. The price you pay for rent will vary vastly depending on the quality of space you are renting. On the basic level, you’ll see office space referenced as class A, B, and C. Even within these classes, the quality of space can vary widely. In the Omaha office market, office rental rates may vary from as low as $10 per square foot to prices over $30 per square foot. In larger markets, rates are much higher.

Your cost of traditional office space will be higher than your per square foot rate. Depending on the type of lease, you’ll also be responsible for taxes, insurance, common area maintenance, utilities, and other building-related expenses. This might be directly billed as a NNN expense or rolled into a full-service lease. Additionally, you should consider further costs of office space such as internet service, cable TV, furniture, coffee, and snacks. All of these expenses, including other amenities you might provide your staff, can add to the total cost of an office location for your small business or startup.

Coworking Membership

When it comes to coworking space, you will most often encounter a fixed cost with little or no fees charged in addition. The cost of coworking space is presented as a monthly membership, not on a per square foot basis. This is what makes it difficult to compare. To understand how coworking compares to office space, you must compare the all-in price of an office to the membership fee.


Let’s look at an example from Populus Coworking versus a traditional Omaha office space for a startup company with six people.

Traditional Office

Rent: $16 PSF
Utilities: $2 PSF
Cleaning: $2 PSF
Total for a 1,500 SF office: $3,125
Gym Memberships: $240/mo
Internet: $200/mo
Coffee and snacks: $75/mo
Furniture lease: $350/mo
Parking: $200/mo
Total: $4,190 per month

Populus Coworking

All Included: $2,600 per month


It’s apparent with a comparison like this that coworking is an efficient option for small businesses. The reason is simple: shared resources. While traditional office makes perfect sense for larger companies, the numbers rarely add up for startups or small companies that want to offer a competitive work environment. Dedicated office space is too inefficient. A large office building may contain 30 companies paying $200 each for internet — a total of $6,000 a month. A coworking space can pay $1,000 a month for internet and share that cost amongst all of its members. These simple economies of scale make coworking an excellent choice for startups and small businesses of 2-20 employees.

You might also like The Benefits of Shared Office Space

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