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Philadelphia Coworking Survey, Use Cases, Pricing, Events, etc

30 Jun 2007
by Alex Hillman

I’ve just made a really big post to the Independents Hall Google Group, so I wanted to share it here for anybody not already subscribed.


Hey IndyHall!

I feel like my emails tend to get crazy-long, but I hope you stick with me through this one. TONS of important stuff!!

First and foremost, please take 5 minutes and hit this 10 question survey.

5 of the questions ask you to rank importance on a scale of 1-5, and the others are a bit more specific.

Finally, there’s an optional field for your name and email, as well as a spot for additional thoughts that the survey might stir up.

(Link)

Please, and pass it around to others who might be interested and for some reason aren’t on this list!

There’s a really important reason I’m sending out this survey: we’re close. Oh boy, are we close.

At yesterday’s Cream Cheese Session, which was graciously hosted by Bart Mroz and had more new attendees(flickr) than ever before, we spent about an hour at the end of the day talking about the last couple of weeks of research and what we’ve come up with as far as locations and memberships.

Before sharing the entire discussion, I’d like to get some basic information from the rest of you who weren’t in attendance, and when we compare that to the conversation we had as a group, we’ll get a really good feel for the group’s direction as a whole.

In the mean time, once you’re done filling out the form, check out the start of the use cases that I’m working on.

I took an article on Bootstrapper as a framework and am working from there. This seemed like a perfect cue for a number of case studies to show why, and how, coworking works.


Keep Flexible Work Hours

One of the greatest benefits to working from home, be it for yourself or as a remote employee, is the flexibility to keep the hours flexible. For those of us who work for ourselves, we work when the work needs to be done. As a remote employee, you’re a bit more committed to the timeframe that your office dictates. Either way, though, you’ve got more flexibility with the start and end of your day. Coworking allows, and encourages, you to work when you are inspired. Hopefully, the inspiration happens more often than not now that you’re surrounded by the energy and buzz of a bunch of other people excited about the work they’re doing, too.

Comfortable work clothes

When working from home, I’m absolutely guilty of working in my pajamas until noon and showering right before the client meeting. This kind of behavior is hard to curb when there’s nobody to present yourself to. On the other end of the spectrum, putting on a suit and tie every morning isn’t for everyone. Being able to dress comfortably does help keep me motivated. While there’s no designated dress code for most coworking spaces, you can dress comfortably without staying in your underwear until after lunch.

Time for personal tasks

Like the point on the flexible work hours, your time is your time. You can come and go from a coworking location as you need, with no boss watching over your shoulder. At the same time, though, since you aren’t at home you are able to easily designate “work time” and “personal time”…keeping you more productive when your focus is on either.

Quality Time

It would seem that when you get away from your home your ability to spend quality time with family, pets, etc would lessen. In fact, it should increase because as stated in the previous point, you can more easily designate time to spend on work. At the end of the work day, you can come home and leave work at work, instead of having it sit on the coffee table and distract you from the quality time you should be spending with loved ones.

Higher net income

This seems a little counter-intuitive, considering working from home costs $0 extra beyond rent you already pay, and coworking in most scenarios costs at least some money. Consider, however, the increased productivity of working in a collaborative environment. Your ability to better use your time translates into more income. Also, your ability to take on work that you simply could not as a solo freelancer allows you to increase your net income. In the case of Independents Hall, freelancers are already collaborating on each others projects and accomplishing bigger things than they could have alone.

Combat expanding work hours

As suggested in the point about “quality time”, I know that I’m often guilty of working long beyond the end of the business day. While many of my clients appreciate my high level of accessibility, and dedication to their work, they also know that I SHOULD have a real life. By putting the divide between work and play space, coworking helps you keep work within the workday.

Avoid slacker temptations

in progress

Productive distractions

in progress


This document is very much alive and in progress, but since many people asked for this kind of material to be put down somewhere besides being in my head, I’ve gone ahead and done that.

If you find typos/grammatical errors, feel free to log in and edit. If you feel you can contribute more to the cases, log in and do so. If you think of more cases that you’d like me to elaborate on, log in and add them. This is FOR YOU, and I plan to share this with the coworking community outside of Philadelphia as well.

Finally, and this is the most exciting thing I’ve got short of an actual place for us to move into:

Pricing

I know, I’ve been promising this one for a long time and it’s been incredibly difficult for people to gauge their commitment without figures to work from. Geoff and I have worked hard on a model that will allow the costs and risks be distributed across the entire community and therefore be very low for each involved individual. The current target pricing model falls into all of the estimates that we had originally mentioned.

Day-pass non member – $25/day

This user might be the traveling business person, or someone referred by a member, who is not yet a member but wants to use our facilities.

A day pass includes: a day of working with the group, a work space(table or desk, pending availability), WiFi and access to conference space, also pending availability.

Basic Membership – $25/month

This is someone who plans on using the space more than once a month, participates in events (Cream Cheese Sessions, social events, educational events, mixers, etc), or simply wants to be an ‘affiliated member’ of Independents Hall for the purpose of being on a member directory or otherwise. In time more benefits may come with this status, including group rates for various utilities and services.

The idea is that this membership base is widespread at a low cost to help the entire community share the cost of the physical facility, enabling everyone to participate for an affordable rate at the tier appropriate to their needs. If there is any intention of using the space more than once a month, having a basic membership makes sense because the first day is free and additional days are discounted.

Basic membership includes: same usage as day pass member with priority for space and conference room, 1 free day per month is included and additional days passes are $15/day Being a member also ensures that you are included on invites to various events, as well as an optional listing for you or your business on the public member directory

Lite Membership – $175/month

Lite members are people who want to know that they have a desk and office resources whenever they need, but don’t need a desk 5 days a week. Secure storage for equipment will be available.

Lite membership includes: All of the basic membership benefits are included, with increased priority on workspaces and conference room usage, up to 3 days a week. $25/month monthly membership fee is included.

Full Time Membership – $275/month

Full time members are people who wish to use the coworking office as their full time office.

Full time membership includes: All of the lite membership benefits are included, with no limit on usage of the space. A permanent desk is available. These members have first priority on conference space. They are also optionally keyholders, if they wish to be, since they will likely be at the space the most. Pending final arrangements on space, these users are most likely to have 24/7 access to the office. $25/month monthly membership fee is included.

There are some numbers left to consider, things like non-member conference space usage, and specific utilities (VoIP and P.O. boxes are two options for things that we may provide, if people are interested, for nominal extra cost). And of course, until a lease is signed and final numbers are crunched, we can’t guarantee that things won’t flux BUT I’m committed to keeping things affordable and will do anything I can to mitigate cost increases.

Finally, EVENTS!

July 12th and 13th is BlogPhiladelphia.

If you haven’t registered yet and plan to attend, do it now! It’s going to be awesome, and IndyHall needs to show our presence! Because the 13th is the Friday that we’d normally do our next Cream Cheese Session, it will be postponed until the following week, space to be determined.

BlogPhiladelphia/Independents Hall Party!

Thursday July 12th, from 8->???, we’re going to be co-sponsoring a social evening event at Triumph Brewery at 2nd and Chestnut in Old City! This is another opportunity for us to show off and talk about what we’ve been up to. Details: This event will include free pass around hors d’oeuvres being provided by Triumph. Beers will be $5 (they are a microbrew and have a whole slew of awesome beers), and the wine and liquor will be cash as well. BUT THERE’S A TWIST!!!

I’m implementing the microsponsorship model that I participated in at an impromptu party at SXSW(laughingsquid.com). The way it works is that anyone can open up a tab as a microsponsor of the event. I’ll have details about the smallest contribution allowed (I’m not sure Triumph allows pitchers) but the hope is that individuals and businesses will make small to medium contributions for the purpose of keeping the party going. To kick things off, WeKnowHTML/Independents Hall will be starting the night off with a $500 tab, and we’ll see where things go from there. I believe we have a handful of other microsponsors lined up to keep things moving just in case, but this should be a great time. Dress to impress, and have a great time!

Keep your eyes peeled for more Junto-related events too, I’ll announce more of those as details solidify.

That’s all for now. As always, if you have questions/thoughts/ideas, don’t hesitate to talk about them here, or hit me up on AIM, skype, or my cell phone.

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Hey, thanks for reading!

Alex Hillman I am always thinking about the intersection of people, relationships, trust and business. I founded Indy Hall in 2006, making us one of oldest fully independent coworking communities in the world. This site is packed with the lessons and examples I’ve learned along the way. You can find me on Twitter, too! 🐦 Say hi.