Your Home Office - Stay Put or Move Out

By: Brad Trupp

Is it really your time to take that a leap and move from your home office to a commercial property?

To help you answer this question, let's take a step backwards for a moment and answer two other questions. Why do you want to move? Why is this move necessary?

The first question is -- why do you want to move? Sit down, grab some paper, and make a list. Put down as many reasons as you can think of. Put your list aside for a day or two and revisit it a few more times. You obviously have some of your reasons already or you would not be thinking about the possibility of a move.

The second question is -- why is this move necessary? For each reason, jot down a few notes on why each reason is valid. Let's look at some of the more common reasons and discuss your rational behind each.

Do you get a lot of clients coming to your home? Most of us do not have the luxury of a separate entrance for our office that keeps the clients from tramping through our messy house and down the hallway to our office that was once that spare bedroom.

Can you arrange to use a meeting area at a shared office complex for a half day per week as a permanent off-site location in order to have a special time each week to meet with clients? It might even be better for some of your clients if they do not have to trek into the wilderness of suburbia each time they need to meet with you.

You might even become more productive by limiting meetings to one or two specific days each week. Should you make the trip once in a while to visit your client instead?

Is your reason that a commercial location would provide better visibility and this would lead to more clients? Perhaps? I just love questions that can be answered with "it all depends". Outside of a retail store where out of sight is truly out of mind, most of your customers likely come from advertising and word of mouth anyway. When was the last time you hired a plumber to fix something? Did you drive done to the local mall and visit the plumber store or did you look in the phone book?

Do you have employees coming to your home every day? If so, your probably already are in violation of most residential zoning regulations and need to move your business out. If employees come on a less frequent basis and do not cause a problem for your neighbors, then stay home.

Do you feel the need to socialize more with humans that are not at the other end of a phone or via e-mail? That is a whole other issue. People are social animals by nature and need the company of others. Maybe working at home is not for you but more likely you need to get out more. Join some business associations or special interest groups where you can meet with other people on a regular basis. Your local chamber of commerce likely has some monthly programs. How about groups like Toastmasters? Find some non-work interests. Take a course. Just get out of the office for a while each week.

Is the cost necessary? I recently read an interesting statistic. What it said "approximately" was that if you keep your car for ten years rather than trading into a new car every few year, you will end up with $500,000 more in the bank when you retire, even after accounting for the increased maintenance costs of the older car. This is a bit of an analogy to our home office but the reason most of us work is so that someday we can stop working. The less we spend on our day to day costs of running an office and the more we can sock away, the more savings we end up with and sooner we hit our goal to stop working.

What else did you come up with? Look at your reasons. Look at your justifications for each reason. Does moving still make sense now? If so, start planning. If not, sit back, relax a bit, and think about the simple pleasures of being able to work where you live.

Copyright © 2000 Brad Trupp

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