Are coworking spaces profitable? How and Why


Coworking spaces are not governed by the same principles of the business of other companies. Most do not hide their prices or binds its members to lengthy contracts. The collaborative atmosphere that is valued both coworking spaces is based on trust among its members, not scratching all possible benefits. But, considering that only 40% of the spaces are profitable today, we can say realistically that coworking is a “success”? The answer is yes, considering some factors, especially with regard to time: 72% of coworking spaces reach profitability after two years of operation. In the case of the spaces in private hands, this percentage is even higher.

Everyone should get benefits of their work, including those responsible for coworking spaces. The 2nd Global Coworking Survey shows that nearly all the spaces are profitable after two years. Most living spaces of revenue from fees paid by members, while another large group depends on indirect income from the second job of the head of space, especially those who are in the start-up phase. The worst economic situation is responsible for very small spaces that do not have another job.

The survey shows that members of coworking spaces achieve benefits by joining a space before those responsible for opening it. Installation is expensive (an average of $ 58,000 or € 46,500) and the founders of the spaces carry the greatest risk. For this reason, members of coworking spaces should startle especially grateful to those responsible, something to remember during the celebration of Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

How to make money spaces: jobs, and more

As expected, coworking spaces earn most of their money by renting jobs (61%). All proceeds from one in ten spaces come from rental jobs.
A half space receives 10% of its revenues from rental of meeting and event spaces (10% each). 5% of revenue comes from food and drink while ticket sales for workshops and events reported another 5%. Unlike business centers, a very low percentage of coworking spaces live virtual office services (3%).

At least one-third of coworking spaces offer all these services as a package, without additional costs. The rental rates of job typically include infrastructure services, such as meeting rooms. Other sources of income identified by the survey include one-time fees, merchandise, public support services, fixed telephone lines, commissions, rent private offices and even selling art gallery inside.

differences in income flows between large and small coworking spaces are observed. The more members they have, the higher the income from the rental of rooms specific meetings. Large spaces are also more likely to offer virtual office services.

The million dollar question: can make money makers coworking spaces?

According to the responses to the 2nd Global Coworking Survey, overall, 40% of coworking spaces are profitable. These figures that a priori might be disappointing, conceal more complex factors.

First, it should be noted that very few companies, whatever their sector, make a profit in the first months of operation. And more than half of current coworking spaces take less than a year open. The fact that most of the spaces are not paying dividends could have a lot to do with that movement is still in its infancy.

Another important limitation is its corporate form. If 13% of the spaces used a model of non-profit organization, the economic gains lie behind social gains for the industry. In
addition, the most important thing to keep in mind is that 74% of those responsible coworking spaces have another job. In the same way, that most coworkers report that they have achieved a great improvement in their conditions, those responsible must also receive benefits from working in their own space.

And finally, it should not lose sight of the long-term vision. The 2nd Global Coworking Survey reveals that 72% of coworking spaces are profitable after more than two years in operation. In the case of coworking spaces in private hands (the non-profit groups or non-public), the rate of return after two years is even higher, reaching 87%.

Three main factors as essential elements can be identified for a coworking space profitable:

  • The coworking space age as expected, recently opened spaces do not benefit from the time of its opening.
  • The number of members:   there is an obvious relationship between the number of members and age of a coworking space, and this relationship is also statistically significant. However, not all coworking spaces have an unlimited capacity to admit new members.
  • Responsible for spaces and other jobs: This   is a crucial factor, especially for small and new spaces. In these cases, the benefits are not obtained directly from the rental of jobs, but indirectly through improved operation of their secondary jobs.

The more members, the more benefits

70% of private coworking spaces with 50 or more members have benefits. Only one in five spaces for this category has losses. Coworking spaces with 10 to 49 members have a rate of return of about 40%, close to the overall average. The more members admit, are more profitable.Economies of scale also affect coworking spaces.

The areas suffering the greatest difficulties are small spaces, with less than ten members. 56% say they have losses. Despite paying a lower rent and less operating expenses, only a quarter of small spaces arranged a direct benefit. It is important to remember that almost all small spaces are also new, so it can evolve over time to improve its business model and increase the number of members if they wish.

The longer it takes working space, the better it works

Coworking spaces successfully attract more members and can be expanded. Those who do not work close, but fortunately, these cases are less common. Nine out of ten private coworking spaces are profitable after two years in operation. Almost all spaces reach profitability between the first and second year. The most recent coworking spaces are less profitable, partly because of their age.

The average is considerably reduced by the fact that over 50% of coworking spaces have no more than twelve months. This general aspect, that might seem negative for the market coworking is, both simply the result of the age of the sector.

Small spaces can also be profitable, it just takes a little more time

What is the situation for coworking spaces with limited capacity, which can not (or will not) increase the number of members? The survey data show that up to two-thirds of the spaces with less than 30 members are profitable after two years. Another third said at least not to have losses after this time running.

Even spaces with a capacity of fewer than 30 members, or at least about two-thirds of them are profitable after two years. Another third said not leak after this time.

The figures show that 30% of private coworking spaces with less than 30 members still suffer losses after two years, a fact that could jeopardize their survival. For all areas, the figure is 6%, while another 7% manages to cover expenses.

A second job is needed, especially at the beginning

However, the distinction between direct and indirect benefits is crucial, especially in the case of smaller spaces. A good coworking space is created for the benefit of its members in mind. By working in a collaborative workspace, members expand their professional networks, keep their skills and knowledge up to date, and 40% increases their income. What works for coworkers should also work for managers who sit beside him.

The founders of small spaces have to make a greater initial investment, but also have more freedom in shaping the image and atmosphere of your workplace. His second jobs are benefiting from expanding their professional networks.

The survey data show that 64% of full-time responsible coworking spaces with less than 30 members, achieve a similar income to average or above average in the general population. This figure is higher in the case of officials who had another job, and 79% of its group states have a similar or higher than average income. As a normal coworker, 83% also have higher incomes than the national average.


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