12 Common Office Leasing Mistakes You Should Avoid

Renting office space doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are the most common office renting mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Renting office space is an exciting time for your business, but it’s also one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make. After payroll, it’s likely to be your largest expense. You owe it to yourself to be as educated as possible to avoid a bad deal.

If this is your first time renting office space, you’re bound to make some type of error. That’s part of the learning process. But it’s best to insulate yourself from costly mistakes as much as possible so you don’t handicap your company’s growth.

Below you’ll find the most common mistakes businesses make when they rent office space and how you can avoid them.

Is this your first time renting office space? Download our free guide that explains the process step by step.

1. Rushing in Without a Plan

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Before you make the jump to your own office you need to have a plan. Sit down with your key employees and figure out what your business needs in terms of office space. Ask yourself some questions.

  • How much room do you need?
  • What amenities do you need?
  • Do you require a specific layout (like open space or separate offices)?
  • Does it need to accommodate clients, customers or equipment?
  • Will you be bringing in your own furniture or do you require furnishings?
  • Do you know what you can afford to spend?
  • Which areas do you prefer?
  • Does parking or security matter?

Companies who rush through the process and don’t take the time to consider their needs objectively regret it later on.

2. Failing to Read the Rental Agreement

It’s amazing how many people don’t read the things they sign. They usually figure they don’t need to because they’ve already spoken with the landlord/property manager/realtor. Sometimes they assume they don’t wouldn’t understand the terms anyway.

“While a lease allows tenants to stake their claim on a particular space, it can also end up trapping them in an environment that doesn’t live up to expectations,” says Ron Bockstahler of Amata Office Solutions, a real estate provider of massive corporate offices. It’s important to read the lease so you don’t get trapped in something unsuitable. If something is incorrect, you could be obligated to honor what you signed.

We recommend turnkey office spaces to our clients because they come with short, easy to understand agreements without hundreds of clauses.

3. Renting an Unseen Unit

Busy people are often tempted to agree to rent a unit without seeing it first. This is always a mistake. Even if you are given pictures, you can’t be sure what you’re renting until you actually stand in the space.

Clever photography and well-crafted ad copy can be deceiving and won’t give you an idea of the area or any odors or noise. Plus, can you visualize what 1000, 1500 or 2000 square feet of space looks like?

If a property owner isn’t willing to let you into a unit before signing an agreement or taking some money, the opportunity is most definitely a scam. Immediately stop speaking to the scammer.

4. Not Consulting Your Employees

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It’s best to have a discussion with your employees before you rent a particular space. Find out if anyone has any problems with the unit, the commute, the parking, or the neighborhood. You can’t please everyone, but it’s smart to ask their opinions in case there’s a problem you didn’t foresee.

5. Not Documenting the Unit’s Condition

At the end of your lease, you’ll be billed for any damages or alterations you caused. Sometimes tenants get accidentally charged for things that were already there.

It’s a smart idea to take photos or video of the unit during your walkthrough or just before you sign your agreement. Even if the landlord has photos, there’s no telling if they’re accurate or unaltered, so obtain your own. Look for dents or chips in the wall, carpet stains, window cracks, or anything that doesn’t work properly.

Send your photos to the landlord immediately so you have dated communication. Explain that you don’t mind the imperfections, but you’re speaking up so you don’t get charged at the end of the term.

6. Forgetting Renters Insurance

The owner of the building will have insurance on the property, but not your belongings. If you have any property or equipment you wouldn’t want to lose (like computers or electronic devices), I strongly recommend buying renters insurance. It only costs a few hundred dollars for the year, yet (shockingly) only 37% of renters buy it, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

7. Only Viewing One Property

If you rent the first property you see, you’re setting yourself up for a bad experience. This is especially true if you’ve never rented office space before. You need to see multiple units to get a grasp of what you like and don’t like. For instance, you may not know you want lots of natural light until you see a unit with big windows.

Furthermore, viewing multiple properties gives you leverage with the property owners. You get to say something like “I’m seeing five spaces today. I’ll let you know what I decide.” Language like that tells the property owner that he has to compete with other units.

8. Failing to Benchmark Similar Properties

Before you buy anything, you should make sure you’re paying a fair price. Office space is no exception.

The best way to do this is to arrange appointments to view multiple properties and spend a few minutes glancing through ads. Compare units with similar square footage and amenities to the one you like. Is the price reasonable? Does it feel like a value?

9. Failing to Negotiate

Just because you’re renting a small unit with a simple lease doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate. In fact, property owners expect it. In the case of a turnkey space, you be able to negotiate alterations to the space, but you can haggle over your overall rent and which amenities you have access to (like common areas and shared receptionists).

10. Falling in Love

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Sometimes a renter will fall in love with a particular location. They’ll love the lighting, the layout, the furniture (if provided), or maybe the neighborhood. It’s good to enjoy your space, but make sure it serves your business’ purposes. Is it worth cramming into a small room just to have a coffee shop nearby? Are you willing to spend extra to be right on the main road?

“You have to go into negotiations knowing that if you don’t get a fair deal, you can move on and your business will thrive elsewhere,” says serial entrepreneur Melody Stevens. Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement.

11. Miscalculating Growth

When you rent space, it’s important to consider your company’s future size. How many people will you have? Will you be buying new equipment that requires spaces? Will the growth be steady and predictable, or sudden and urgent?

If you miscalculate growth, you might end up in a space that’s too small for your company, or a space that’s too large and waste of money. Take some time to figure out what your company will look like by the end of the rental term.

Career and Workplace Expert Heather R. Huhman recommends anticipating product launches, expansions, employee turnover, industry changes, new business investment, and your goals.

12. Being Picky with Location

Yes, it’s important to find a great location, but there are probably lots of suitable areas within a reasonable commuting distance. Instead of limiting your search to an area you like, figure out what you like about it. You may like the closeness to public transportation or the nearby healthy lunch options. Measure new areas against your requirements.

Don’t begin the rental process without an idea of how it works. Subscribe to receive our free step by step guide on renting office space.

As you view properties and move through the renting process, keep these mistakes at the forefront of your mind. If you can avoid making common errors, you’ll land a quality unit that supports your business’ growth without cumbersome expenses and hassles.

Can You Afford to Rent Office Space?

Renting office space is a big step for your business. Before you visit properties, ask what you can truly afford.

When you begin dreaming about working in your own professional office space, you’ll likely have visions of trendy layouts, colorful walls, and ergonomic chairs. You’ll imagine yourself tossing a ball around with your team while you brainstorm ideas and impressing clients with gourmet coffee. Hey, maybe there will be a foosball table!

It’s great that you have big dreams, but in business, everything boils down to one factor: cost. Before you start visiting properties and signing paperwork, you have to understand what you can afford.

Are you truly prepared to sign an office space lease? Ask yourself these questions before you sign.

Evaluating Your Budget

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Ideally, you should have a thorough business plan that projects your expenses over a few years. A business plan is a fantastic document that not only gives you an overview of your company now, but makes educated predictions about what your company will look like in the future.

But if you’re a little less prepared, don’t fear. You’re in the same boat as many entrepreneurs. In fact, U.S. Trust found that “A large number of business owners have not articulated a strategy…” All you need is a careful understanding of your budget.

(I’m going to give a basic budgeting overview, but Info Entrepreneurs has an excellent guide.)

Step 1: Calculate your income

Gather all information about monthly income you can depend on. In this category, you should round all of your numbers down. Use worst-case scenarios.

Don’t use last year’s numbers. Use what you can expect next year. For instance, if you made $25,000 at a trade show, but don’t plan to attend it this year, you wouldn’t calculate that as income.

Step 2: Calculate your fixed costs

Add all of the costs you expect each month. This category includes salaries, licensing fees, insurance, fees, web hosting, and anything you’re paying for your current workspace.

Step 3: Calculate your variable expenses

These are expenses that may change each month. It includes items like utility bills, material costs, commissions, marketing costs, travel, equipment rental fees, etc. Most of these expenses scale up or down with your sales, so when the bills get higher, you’re also making more money.

Step 4: Predict big expenses

This is tough, but necessary. Consider any big purchases you’ll have to make within the next few years. You won’t be able to predict everything (like a broken computer, which will happen unexpectedly), but new hires or equipment usually have some lead time.

Distribute these expenses into the months leading up to the purchase. For instance, if your expenses total $5,500/month and you have a $2,000 purchase coming up in six months, your actual expenses are $5,833.33 per month for the next six months.

Step 5: Look at the big picture

Now that you know where your money is coming from and where it’s going, put everything together. How much is left over each month after your expenses are covered? This is how much you can spend on growth, including new office space. Ideally your income will grow over time, so your office space will eventually require a smaller percentage of your income (although it should never be more than 10%).

Keep in mind that was just a light overview. Business budgeting can be a complex process depending on your unique situation. However you do it, just make sure you know how much money you have available before you begin looking at potential office spaces. It may seem obvious, but many business owners fail to make these calculations.

The Hidden Costs of Office Space

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If the lease and utilities were the only costs you had to consider, office space would be quite affordable and available to more people. Unfortunately, your costs don’t end there. There are some significant hidden expenses that many new lessees fail to consider.

1. Office furniture

People need to sit, right? You’ll need desks and chairs, which can add up quickly depending on the models you choose. If your staff sits for long periods of time, you can’t buy poor-quality chairs or they’ll quickly complain of back problems. Sure, you can buy cheap or snag free furniture off Craigslist, but it likely won’t last long.

2. Office supplies

Even if your team has always worked remotely and paid for their own expenses in the past, they’ll expect you to provide office supplies once everyone moves into the office. These are recurring expenses you should plan for every month. Your team will need basic items like pens, calendars, printer paper and ink, mouse pads, highlighters, etc.

3. Technology

Your staff used their home computers before, but they won’t be willing to haul their desktops to work every day. You’ll have to invest in new machines to keep the work moving. If your technology needs are high (like drafting equipment, servers, or 3D printers), you may have to pick up new units.

4. Move-in expenses

Depending on the equipment you need, moving in might be a challenge. You may have a few desks, chairs, or maybe a copier sitting around your garage. You can save money by using what you have, but getting to your office space might require renting a truck.

5. Liability or property insurance

Anticipating lawsuits are a part of doing business. Many landlords require the lessee to take out insurance with the lessor named as the additional insured. Since you won’t be doing anything industrial, this won’t be terribly expensive, but it’s a cost many businesses fail to consider.

6. Property taxes

Many leases require the lessee to pay a prorated portion of the site’s property taxes. (If this isn’t listed as its own line item, it’s already been rolled into your rent.) Make sure you’re aware of this charge (and all other charges) before you sign the lease.

7. Common area fees

If your office space shares common areas with other businesses on the site (like parking lots, bathrooms, or waiting areas), make sure you understand the fee structure and how you benefit. You don’t want to be surprised by a hefty fee for a shared receptionist you don’t intend to use.

8. Overtime utilities

In many leases, the utilities are included in the rent as long as they are used during normal business hours (typically set as 7 AM to 6 PM). If you use power, water, gas, or oil outside of those hours, you’ll pay additional fees. If you have a charge like this, make sure you understand how it lines up with your working hours.

9. Communication services

Telephones, Internet, and cable services are rarely included under utilities, although many lessees make the mistake of assuming they do. You’ll have to cover these costs yourself.

Think About the Future

When you lease office space, you’re investing in the future of your company. Naturally, you expect the business to grow, make more money, hire more people, and generally get bigger.

But in most cases, your office space won’t.

Sure, some locations offer nearby units you can grow into. Maybe there’s room for construction and expansion. But the building owner isn’t going to hold that space for you. There’s no guarantee the extra space will be available when you need it.

Before you sign the lease, think about your future. In what ways will your company grow? Will you need more space for people or equipment (both have different needs in space)? Will you need to switch from an open layout to closable offices? Will you need a reception area?

Most importantly, think of your future cash situation. How will growth affect your cash flow? For instance, maybe penetrating a new market will tie up all your cash, so it’s best to sign a smaller lease than you can afford right now.

Before you formalize a new office space agreement, ask yourself these questions. Subscribe to download this free resource.

Going Forward

There are spaces nearby that you probably aren’t aware of. If your budget feels tight, remember that there are all sorts of office types available. You don’t have to rent a large, elaborate space with a complex, tough-to-negotiate lease. A turnkey unit (with furnishings and a hassle-free rental agreement) might be just the thing your growing business needs.

If your business needs its own space, you can search for office space in your area now. If you have questions about whether you can afford space, speak with us.

4D Printing and a New Wave of Office Technology

Technology advancement never ceases to amaze business professionals when it comes to everyday practical use.  Remember the days where office equipment technology was at its infancy?  As the 21st century surges forward we as the workforce are becoming more reluctant to work in an environment where office equipment doesn’t provide a competitive edge. Office equipment has driven innovation in communications, working styles and even in the value placed on certain skill sets.  Geography is no longer a barrier to doing business, nor are business travelers cut off from communications infrastructure that support their work.  It is difficult to predict the office and landscape of the 21st century. Trends point to smarter and faster technology that will be capable of carrying out more complex functions with minimal human input.

4d-printing

Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is itself an emerging technology and has in fact been around for over 30 years! It is continuously being reported that 3D printing is now becoming more mainstream, but is still very heavily underutilized in the business world, considering its potential.  The potential to economically and time efficiently 3D print ANYTHING is an irresistible proposition. 3D printed materials is not the end of the story though, there are techniques to create materials/objects which can be pre-programmed to operate in a certain way.  Pretty amazing technology, what if I told you there is technology being worked on that would make 3D printing a thing of the past?

4D printing may be bursting onto the scene and leaving people in absolute awe.  Think of 4D printing as the same as 3D printing with the addition of time. By adding time to 3D printing the concept of 4D printing is born. This enables objects to be pre-programmed in various ways to react to a range of different stimuli.

4D printing is futuristic and a very exciting future at that. 4D printing delivers the possibility of designing ANY transformable shape, which can be made from a large selection of materials. These different materials will have many different properties and a range of potential applications and uses. There is a real opportunity for the creation of dynamic self-assembling objects which could transform and be used in a wide range of industries and in a large number of applications.

Research has cited examples such as the water systems of office buildings reshaping itself to efficiently allow water to be processed with minimal cost.  That very same office building can house a company that develop 4D sportswear/sports equipment that adapts its shape to its user and how they are performing when their body temperature of environment changes around them.  The possibilities seem endless. As time goes on 4D printing may just end up being available at your finger tips literally.  The cup you drink from, the desk you use for your work station to office building production.

4D Printing will play a key role in future production.  Making this happen on a human scale, is much more challenging, particularly in more traditional industries, such as building construction.  There is potential,in using self-assembling materials in disaster areas or extreme environments where conventional construction is not feasible or too expensive however. We might one day experience a future of adaptive infrastructure. In extreme cases we can apply this technology to  geographic locations that are notorious for producing earthquakes.  Just imagine where technology has come from.  If we can help save lives based on a concept that originated over 30 years ago.  Maybe one day constructing a building from 4D printing will be the norm.  Now that is technology.

Using the Olympics to Create Team Spirit

As the 2016 Olympic games are underway in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, viewers around the world will be tuning in to watch their favorite teams compete for pinnacle prize of gold.  It might just strike you to know that around an estimated 3.6 billion people will be glued to the Television rooting their teams on, that includes the 72% of business professionals.

olympic-village

Summer tends to see a decline in productivity, with more workers taking off during the prime months of July and August than other months throughout the year.  Throw the spectacle of the Olympic Games into the mix and–let’s just say there’s plenty to distract a workforce this season.

So rather than reprimand employees, employers can set a new standard by encouraging employees to celebrate the games and creating opportunities to foster strong culture within the office.  Capturing the joy and celebration that comes along with the Olympic games there are ways to welcome the Olympic spirit into your workplace and boost employee engagement.

Host in-office olympic viewing parties. By soliciting employee input on the events streamed in office, you not only show them that you care about their opinions, but also create windows of opportunities for team bonding. Employees may uncover common sports interests with their colleagues.  They may even carry those shared interest forward even after the Olympics end further cementing team bonding within the office.

Companies can also host healthy competitions amongst the co-workers and generate teamwork with a focus on building relationships with one another, workers can simply inspire each other to achieve goals together, then translate that same focus and collaboration into their daily work routine.  One may even suggest starting a company sports team, there is no better opportune time to start a company sports team.  Distribute surveys to your employees on what sports they enjoy playing the most, and what days of the week they’d enjoy participating on a team.

By encouraging team sports you help employees get the routine exercise they need – which in turn has been proven to decrease stress, increase productivity and reduce employee absenteeism.  It also produces an environment where they feel supported leading to a more success company.  These Olympic games only take place every so often, why not embrace these rare moments and celebrate the opportunity to bring strength and unity to the workplace.

When To Take A Break At Work

Many of us are spending more and more of our workdays sitting in front of a desk managing tasks virtually.

In fact, the recently coined phrase “actively sedentary” refers to a new category of office workers who attempt to compensate for sitting 8-10 hrs a day by engaging in at least 60 minutes of daily exercise. While the effort is valiant, recent studies have shown that this amount of exercise is not nearly enough to offset the negative effects caused from sitting all day. Is there anything else that we, as the “actively sedentary” workforce, can do to make up for the long periods of time we remain stationary at our desks? Believe it or not, the answer may be as simple as taking more breaks.

Taking mid-day breaks is something most of us do of course. The questions is whether we are taking enough of them. Many recent studies have shown that for every hour that someone sits in a chair typing away, or immersing themselves in product software, or whatever their job might entail, they should be getting 5-10 minutes of activity (walking, stretching etc). That means in an average 8-hour workday we should be getting anywhere from 40 to 80 minutes of activity.

Now of course some bosses are more lenient then others when it comes to allowing employees out for a quick walk around the block every hour. However if you manage your time well throughout the day and exhibit proper “break etiquette”, most everyone can achieve this goal and stay healthy even while sitting all day.

In order to develop a proper daily break routine at the office, you must first and foremost know when to NOT take breaks. For me this falls under three categories: When you’re “in the zone”, when it’s inappropriate to do so, and when you are under immediate time constraints. The first category deals with breaking your concentration. We all have periods of time during the day when we are more productive then others. If you find yourself “in the zone”, working quickly and efficient and knocking off you’re daily to-dos rapid-fire, don’t stop what you are doing to get up, stretch and go out to grab a coffee for you and a colleague just because it’s break time. This can completely disrupt your concentration and inhibit those productive moments. Remember, we are trying to convince the boss that short, semi-frequent breaks actually enhance overall productivity, not hinder it.

It’s also prudent to refrain from taking breaks when it would be inappropriate to do so. For example, if you just got back from lunch 5 minutes ago, or your boss asks you to do something for him or her right away, it’s probably not the best time to go out for some fresh air. Similarly, if there is a task that requires your immediate attention, or if there is an approaching deadline for that day, it can be inappropriate to take breaks.

The key is to develop an adaptable routine where you are regularly getting up to stretch or get some air, or to go for a quick walk, without it affecting your productivity and without causing too much fanfare in the office. 5-minute breaks are great for not attracting too much attention and give you enough time to stretch your legs, use the restroom, get some water etc. The 10 and especially 15-minute breaks should often be reserved for later in the day, where even the bosses start becoming a little jaded. It may be likely that you’ll go less noticed from, say 4:00-4:15pm then you will from 9:45-10:00am. Therefore, pick your times wisely and do your best to get a minimum of 40 minutes of activity every day.

The Briefcase Replacement: A Low Down

These days fashion is synonymous with office culture. Does your getup match your furnished office?

Maybe you need to take a harder look. Sick of throwing on that backpack every morning? Perhaps you wish you had something more sophisticated to tote on the subway on the way to work. With the evolution of technology comes the evolution of fashion. At Turnkey Office Space we’ve synthesized a list of the best designed bags that look great in any environment but especially thrive in the office. Check ‘em out!

Tubo Rayado Duffle by Mafia (Starts at $99) Mafia is Paz and Marcos Mafia, a brother and sister team from Argentina. Marcos is a kitesurfer and Paz was a banker, the two merged their passions for sustainable product design and watersports to create Mafia, a company that produces a variety of bags made from recycled sails. Mafia works with Argentina and San Francisco-based NGOs to sew and produce the bags. They’re in the midst of their Kickstarter campaign to raise money to expand their San Francisco production shop. Our favorite is the Tubo Rayado Duffle, not only does it have a special, secure space for your laptop but its size allows it to double as a weekend and travel bag.

Waxed-Canvas Weekender by L.L.Bean. ($179) This is the perfect bag for both flying and regular ground commuting. It’s timeless beige and tan color palette with leather trim gives the owner a glow of sophistication and business credibility. There’s an option to add monogramming, but we don’t recommend that because its look is so unique that it’s difficult for anybody to forget that it belongs to you.

WWII Bags by Temple ($250-650) Does your office need a history lesson? Maybe your executive suite needs more of a ‘general officer’ feel? These duffel bags from Temple will give your workspace that regal presence its been lacking. Each bag is uniquely made from authentic World War II field wool blankets, bags and camp packs. Although the price is a little steep, knowing that your bag has survived an epic 6 year battle is pretty much worth it.

Ultra Light Cargo Duffel by Brics ($200). Teddy Minford, an editor at Fodors tested this light and breathable duffel and said, “The size was great for packing the necessities and still being able to navigate crowded subways and trains, and I actually felt quite fashionable with it.” This bag will brighten up your desk or workstation, and it also fits great in overhead bins on airplanes.

Is Telecommuting Good?

Working from home. A dream for some people, a time management nightmare for others.

It takes a kind of resilience and penchant for solitude to work from home. It can require a great deal of self-motivation, strong emailing skills, and of course a steady internet connection. Avoiding traffic, or the bus or train can be a virtue, yet the freedom to brainstorm and socialize with your coworkers without a screen is a difficult benefit to match.

The concept of telecommuting is relatively new. In the early 1970s, Jack Niles, a rocket scientist for NASA first coined the term when a colleague asked, “If you can put a man on the moon how come you can’t do something about traffic?” Niles’ first foray into telecommuting was with an insurance company in 1973. Since the personal computer still hadn’t come into existence yet, Niles worked from one of the satellite offices the company had set up.

The statistics of people who opt for the home desk rather than the office suite are rather surprising. According the think tank, Global Work Place Analytics, the average commuter is breaching middle aged, has a college degree, works for a company with 100 or more employees, and earns around $58,0000 a year. They estimate that about 50% of the U.S.’s full-time work force holds a position that allows for flexible at-home work.

The environmental benefits of telecommuting are unprecedented. Global Work Place Analytics says that if all U.S. full-time workers spent half the week working from home, their business would save $11,000 per person per year, workers would save between $2,000 and $7,000 a year, and “greenhouse gas reduction would be the equivalent of taking the entire New York State workforce permanently off the road.”

However, it’s difficult to replicate the kind of creativity and productivity that an office produces by working at home alone. “I love being in an office and bouncing ideas off of my coworkers. Working in-house promotes a stronger sense of camaraderie within my team.” Says Alfred, who has been working for a San Francisco-based start up the last three years. Without the physical presence of an employee, it’s difficult to determine the caliber of their work, is the most common argument against telecommuting.

Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Automattic, a company which permits more than half of its employees totelecommute has a different theory. “It’s easier to slack off in that office than if you’re working remotely. If you come into an office and are well-dressed and on time, you assume people are working because they look busy. At home, all you have is your output — did you commit the code, did you write the post, did you make the proposal? There’s no theater of physical proximity.”

On A Mission For The Best Money Exchange App

Smartphone-Apps

Last weekend, Nicola went camping in the Berkshires with a group of ten of her friends.

Someone bought groceries, a couple others drove, and another one paid for the campsite. Instead of engaging in an awkward conversation about who-owes-who-what, writing checks, and making ATM stops, Nicola’s friends “charged” her and the others whatever amounts they owed through a money transfer app called Venmo.

It’s programs like Venmo, PayPal, Square Cash, and Google Wallet that have quickly become the norm for casual payments. Instead of asking a friend to “spot you”, we’re now whipping out our phones and opening up a virtual wallet app. In 2013, there were $235 billion of transactions made through online payment systems. Gartner technology analysts estimate that there will be $720 billion of transactions through money sharing programs by 2017.

With news of the iPhone 6 featuring the Apple Wallet, an app that is partnering with Visa, Mastercard, and American Express to allow its user to make retail purchases with just the stroke of a finger, we at Turnkey Office Space have decided to evaluate our favorite money exchanging apps.

PayPal. For being the oldest payment service on the block, PayPal certainly spends a lot of time on the sidelines. Probably because the program is mostly associated with business transactions and its 2.9% +$0.30 fee it charges its pay-ers. As of late, the company has been stepping up its retail game. Over the last several months, PayPal has been partnering with eateries and small business and offering their customers discounts on their products if they pay using the app. It’s also the only service of the 4 available for Windows Phone.

Square Cash. This is the only money-exchanging app that requires only the pay-er to have an account. Square Cash and Venmo are the only programs that don’t have a service fee for debit card payments.

Google Wallet. Perhaps the most fickle of the four, Google Wallet is attached to your Gmail address and requires answering several security questions. Wallet lets you pay with credit card, which Square and Venmo don’t, but it charges 2.9% for every debit or credit card transaction.

Venmo. A Twitter-esque social media feed and check cashing center is how Venmo defines itself. When signing up, the service gives you the option to link up your Facebook profile and add “friends”. You also have the option to make your transactions public or for “friends only”, so others can check out and “like” your transactions.

Big Pharma Leaves New Jersey and Vacant Office Space Awaits Impatiently

Office-Space-New-Jersey

The pharmaceutical industry used to be a dominating force in New Jersey commerce.

However, over the last twenty years times have certainly changed. Today we see the offices these international, billion dollar pharmaceutical producers now sitting vacant. There are a few factors responsible for big pharma’s disappearance from New Jersey. The billowing tech industry is partially responsible for the evaporation of old school biotech. Companies choosing to cut costs and outsource to India and Asia is another reason. Yet, figuring out what to do with these vast, empty New Jersey office campuses is another predicament.

New Jersey is in search of a new nickname. “The Nation’s Medicine Chest” was the former home to several pharmaceutical companies including Novo Nordisk and Roche. Several pharma companies have merged, downsized, and relocated. In 2009, New York-based Pfizer bought Wisconsin-based Wyeth. Merck reduced its workforce by 15% when it purchased Schering-Plough formerly based in Summit, New Jersey. Many displaced workers have been forced to change careers. Kim Haas, a former drug designer for Wyeth and Sanofi called the transition “a bloodbath” when the drug giant abandoned its Malven, PA campus (located on the Jersey border) in 2010.

According to James W. Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, the dissipation of New Jersey’s pharmaceutical industry is due to the fact that biotech is attempting to reformat its environment to be more academically reflective. They’re moving their campuses to places like the Bay Area, Cambridge, and Manhattan where science technology is thriving in nearby universities.

So, the question remains – – what’s to become of these massive, deserted buildings? In December, Roche, the Swiss mega drug manufacturer and creator of Valium, shut down its 2 million square foot campus in Nutley, NJ. When Genentech acquired Roche in 2009 it moved to San Francisco and gradually decreased its New Jersey presence.

“Our mission for Roche is to sell the entire site at one time. So, while we have a lot of various interest in portions of the site, those that are looking at the site to purchase as a single entity are large, financially capable, integrated, multidisciplinary development-type companies.” Said Thomas Stanton, managing director of JLL, the real estate firm marketing Roche’s campus for NorthJersey.com. Stanton has toured the property to over 35 prospective buyers, but hasn’t received any bids. In the meantime, JLL is leasing a couple of the 13 buildings to small businesses. The space is perfect for biotech start-ups that need minimal lab space, but unfortunately due to financial reasons, JLL must hold out for a big spender.

Everybody Needs To Move To Oklahoma City And Start A Business

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Minimal income tax. Low-cost of living. The two things that every fresh-faced entrepreneur wants to hear.

Furnished, business ready office suites at cheap and reasonable rates? Sounds too good to be true! Not in Oklahoma City! To say business is booming in Oklahoma City would be a drastic understatement. Status reports that there are more than 100 new small startups cropping up every month in The Cinderella City. With only 4.4% unemployment, ranked as number 4 on Forbes’ “Manufacturing Boomtown” list, listed as no.1 for economic strength in The Business Journal’s list, and no.1 in CNN’s book of “Most Business-Friendly Cities”, what is stopping anyone from moving to Oklahoma City? According to CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Roy Williams, people are drawn to OKC for a variety of strongreasons. “It’s relatively easy to start up a business here. The revelatory environment, the access to capitol and the technical assistance. Small business development assistance – those type of infrastructure capacity and resource are here.” He says.

Oklahoma City is rich with culture – after you’ve landed in Will Rogers Airport, it may be difficult to believe you’re truly in The Midwest. Jazz and blues bars line downtown’s art-deco stylized streets. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art contains the most comprehensive collection of Dale Chihuly art work, including his 55-foot tall glass sculpture. From the deadCENTER Film Festival, to the abundance of American Indian organizations and shops (Oklahoma has 38 sovereign tribes), to the Bricktown Water Taxis, and across the way to Prosperity Junction, a 14,000 square foot replica of a 20th century cattle town – there is no shortage of fun and excitement in Oklahoma City.

Renting and owning real estate is a breeze in OKC. The city has some of the most affordable luxury apartments in the country. Executive suites start at $400 and many feature a variety of amenities – including but not limited to phone answering reception, office machines, internet, and cleaning services. Due to its low cost of living, Oklahoma City is also one of the country’s biggest hubs for recent graduates. For those who fear Oklahoma’s obesity rates, take a look at Mayor Mick Cornett’s “This City is Going on a Diet” project. In 2007, Cornett “challenged” the city to collectively lose 1,000,000 pounds. With nearly 50,000 participants and 8 years later, the city reached its goal. During the challenge, the city built new sidewalks and added 100 miles of bike trails to encourage citizens to be more physically active in their daily life.