Opening a remote working hub is similar to opening any retail business. You look to identify a right sized property in good condition with strong footfall and a suitably large population. From there you conduct competitor analysis and try to identify the needs of that community – is there a market for your service, in our case, a remote working hub?
We were so thrilled to find the location on Emmet Street. A busy spot, enough square footage, very good condition building and a great landlord! A few months of hard work later, lots of paperwork and lots of conversations after the kids went to bed and here we are, open and trading.
One of the trickier parts after all the groundwork is calculating the pricing. We offer coffee and coworking and so had to create pricing for both. As the coffee has cost associated with it, that is a far easier task. The market also helps to regulate prices and it is easy to find a price point in relation to competitors and so forth.
So, what to charge for coworking? What if the market and competitors are not there for comparison and regulation? Well, you have to make it up for want of a better expression. We knew that we weren’t going to be charging Dublin prices, that was easy. In the months leading up to opening we visited many of the larger providers and took away information on pricing. There were small variances in the pricing, but most were at least €300 per month, heading toward €500 for membership. ‘Dedicated’ desks were €30 to €35 per day with ‘hot-desks’ at €20 to €25. We didn’t want to be at that level. We also knew that we would be running a stand alone coffee dock that would also generate revenue, allowing us to potentially keep the coworking costs lower, and that is what we have done.
Initially we were only going to offer memberships. This was due to the size of the space and the shared nature of the desks.
To explain, we currently have 12 workstations but want to build a membership of 25 members. But 25 doesn’t go into 12… So, we must share the space. Much like a fitness club, of say 500 members, they don’t have 500 treadmills! That is due to the nature of membership orientated spaces where some members may use the space three days per week or less, or more. We are open 68 hours per week with 12 available desks. That is 816 hours, or 32.5 per person based on 25 members. Remote working hubs are designed as an addition to the typical working week so we feel more than 32 hours is a good offer, and that is based on full membership.
We offer membership at €199 per month plus VAT. If you do 32 hours per week at Flat Out, that’s €1.42 per hour. We think that’s pretty, pretty good.
We are also offering daily rates of €19 per day plus VAT. Open for 12 hours on weekdays, this too is in and around the €1.50 per hour mark but we appreciate that people won’t be here 12 hours a day, if they are, wow, fair play! So, to that end, it is better value to be a monthly member, even on three days per week or 14 days per month, that’s €14 per day instead of €19.
Finally, don’t forget the macro factors. What is the saving in fuel? The average journey to Dublin is 80+ km, which is conservatively €10 (for now). Do you take the toll? Another €3. And as per the aul Mastercard ads, getting back that commute time? Priceless.
So that’s a little insight into our pricing. Half the cost of a Dublin remote space, a big saving on commuting costs and time. A rate of some €1.50 per hour to sit in a space with comfortable chairs, barista made coffee at a 10% discount, optic fibre broadband (with back up) and the gratitude of the business owners who are onsite each and every day to ensure you are getting the best of service.