Coworking Spaces in the United States
Big News! We’re unveiling our first United States Coworking Survey. Over the past few months we’ve tirelessly polled hundreds of Coworking spaces in nearly every state in an attempt to learn a little more about the norms of Coworking. At the bottom you’ll find our full survey in complete form, however we’re going to break down what exactly it all means, and how we came to our conclusions.
Biggest Coworking Cities
Through our survey we attempted to contact every coworking center in each state, with varying levels of success. The cities listed above were the ones with the highest response rate, and unsurprisingly, were the cities generally with the most coworking spaces. The most interesting take-away from city contacts however, was the relation between coworking spaces and density. It should come as no surprise that coworking spaces aren’t everywhere, and one would expect the most populous centers to have the most coworking spaces – it turns out this is not necessarily true. Some of the largest cities in the country have next to no coworking spaces. For example, San Diego, California is the 8th largest city in the U.S yet has roughly 1/5th the coworking spaces of Denver, Colorado – the 22nd largest city. The implications for this are interesting – it suggests that coworking may become popular as a result of local culture, not so much regional needs.
Size and Lifespan
The biggest and most interesting point to take away from this section – and perhaps the entire survey, is just how long most of these spaces have exited. The majority of coworking spaces in the USA are less than 3 years, there are very few that have been around for more than 5 years. Our numbers indicate that the amount of coworking spaces opening annually is actually growing at a substantial rate, though often newer locations haven’t made a large enough footprint yet and can be difficult to contact.
Advertising and Space Management
While going through our process of brainstorming what would make good survey questions, it crossed our mind that it might be interesting to see how people advertise their space / manage their membership. As far as management goes, there was nothing too surprising, tools like Excel, in house tools, Quickbooks, and Google reigned supreme – this makes sense, the tools are simple, easy to access, and have a relatively low cost. The advertising aspect was much more interesting however,as most places interviewed responded that their primary tools were classic media (Word of mouth, etc) and social platforms such as Yelp, Craiglist, and Twitter. What we found however, was that while almost all places use these platforms, they also often use several other services; they just don’t remember that they’ve got listings all around. Why this is? We’re not entirely sure; it suggests that spaces remember the tools that give them the largest return in the long run.
Personally, I found this to be one of the more interesting areas. Of all the places polled, it seemed on average that most coworking spaces hovered around 50% capacity. While no one wants to stuff their space so full of people that no one can move, this does mean that coworking spaces have room to grow. Studies in the past have suggested that demand for a seat in a coworking space outpaces the amount available, but of the 200 places polled, almost none reported that they were completely full.
Membership, Meeting Rooms, and Closed Offices
We found that most places cost around 300$ a month to work at (For a coworking membership), have a few conference rooms, and several (more expensive) private offices. Coworking spaces unsurprisingly, scale their extra amenities with number of members. The only notable aspect of this however, is that some coworking spaces had an over-abundance of private offices, while several larger spaces had next to none.
Events and Freelancers
Our final question revolved around the number of events held per month, and the percentage of freelancers in each coworking space. Unsurprisingly, most spaces had some events; what we found is that spaces either had a lot of events per month (2-3 a week) or next to none. This probably has to do with the division between more corporate style coworking spaces compared to smaller more community based coworking spaces and the value they place on membership events.
One of the most interesting pieces of information we found was regarding freelancers in coworking spaces. Going into the survey we expected freelancers to account for a much higher percentage of individuals composing coworking spaces, but that number ended up much less than originally anticipated. What this tells us is that we shouldn’t underestimate the value of small teams and professionals who work from coworking spaces; their needs should be catered to equally to get the most out of any coworking space.
That covers our first U.S coworking survey. It was an interesting process that shed some light on the norms and habits of coworking spaces nation wide. In the future we’ll delve deeper into the system and learn more about the new world of coworking. A special thank you to all of those who participated!
You can find the full graphic here.