Nov 01, 2018
RegisteredAddress.co.uk is one of the largest providers of mailing addresses in the UK, but there are other large companies, who have been in business longer.
One of these is Regus.
Regus focuses mainly on providing flexible office space.
Many small businessmen quickly realise that paying for an office you hardly use is financially stupid. Many others realise that, as they are travelling all the time, having an ‘office away from office’ is a smart move.
When you touch down in a major city you’re happy to have a base you can call into, to collect your thoughts, sort through your paperwork, check your emails, dust yourself down and then head out to land your next big deal.
For most people, just having someplace away from home in the same city they live in is very useful. It’s hard to operate in business mode at home, when the children are screeching and the wife is wondering why you can’t help her with the housework more.
It’s also good to mix with other businessmen, small or large, as they may know something your don’t. You get a feel for what’s going on in local business, generally.
So far, so good.
The problem with shared office spaces is the pricing structure.
– How much is the flat monthly fee?
– How much does it cost to have a mailing address there?
– How long is the contract?
– How much does it cost to exit the contract?
– How much are extras like printing, wifi, telephony, meeting rooms etc?
– Are there any hidden charges?
Regus is currently not ‘getting good press’: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=regus+reviews
Some of this can certainly be attributed to their clients not reading the small print and not having a clear idea of what they are getting for their monthly fee and, more importantly, what they are not.
When you rent office space, you don’t just need a box to work in. You need printing, telephony, internet, kitchen space, administrative assistance, cleaning, reception, coffee, tea, a chill-out space …
If these things are not specified in your contract, you can’t then complain if the provider then charges you extra for them.
Likewise, exiting a contract. It’s up to the provider if they want to be easygoing and let you off with 30 days notice, but if the contract says 90, they can legally enforce that.
We live in an era of instant gratification, cheap Chinese imports, instant publishing and a push-button culture. This is bad news for any firm which tries to upsell clients in a less than transparent manner, retain their money in a way they perceive as unfair, or send them large, unexpected bills.
In the case of Regus, there does not appear to be a simple price list or calculator on their website. You are asked to email them for a quote. Personally, as a cheapskate, this writer is afraid of websites that offer to put together a quote for you.
One suspects that the fee might be quite large, or arbitrary. Sure, business is business and, as a vendor, what you don’t ask for, you don’t get, but, conversely, it’s possible to code ‘shopping cart’ software that lets one mix and match options quite easily, saving your staff lots of time in dealing with customers.
For example, bespoke laptop manufacturers. Clients can mix and match parts to come up with specification they like, online, very quickly.
Clients, especially small businessmen, can be very cost-conscious, down the the last penny. If you seem to be overcharging them or failing to provide a service, they can quickly become annoyed. Setting up and running a business is stressful, unless you’re Richard Branson or a trust fund baby.
To such clients it can seem quite normal to be able to drop a contract with 30 days notice, but the office space provider may think quite differently, and what is actually written in the small print of the contract is what will apply if a dispute goes to court!