Coaches have many different options for providing services to their clients and you’re not limited to just one. The two main service categories are in-person or distance coaching. Services that you provide in-person require a physical location such as an office, conference room, or venue where you will interact with clients face to face.
The image you present to clients is important! You have to look like you are worth what you are asking them to pay you.
You also need to consider the image you are presenting with the coaching environment, whether physical or virtual. You want your coaching environment to be professional and functional; image is an important aspect of attracting clients.
Another important factor is the amount of startup money you will have available to you. The more debt you go into to start your business and the higher your monthly operating costs are the longer it will take to make your business profitable. Do your homework, estimate actual costs (erring on the high side), and assume that it could take you one to two years to make your business profitable.
Keep in mind that Profit = Income – Expenses.
When you are getting started, renting an office can be a large expense that can drive your prices up and increase the amount of income you need to make a profit. There are several different options that can help reduce this initial cost and reduce your start-up expenses.
Some coaches start out by meeting with clients in their home. This has the benefit of being cost effective since you are already paying for space and utilities. However, there are some major downsides such as safety, liability, and boundaries. The main concern is, of course, your safety, which could be compromised when you invite a stranger into your home. It can also be a perceived safety issue for the client, who may feel uncomfortable or reluctant to come to the coach’s home. The second issue is liability; many homeowner insurance companies will not cover you for a home office if customers will be coming to the premise. It is important that you check with your provider because if a client gets hurt on your property, for example tripping on your front step, you could be liable. Another problem is that having a client in your home can blur the boundaries of the coaching relationship. Clients are not friends, confidants, or romantic interests and it is important for the work that this boundary is maintained.
Rent by the Hour.
Many hotels have conference rooms that you can rent by the hour. There are also shared office spaces that allow you to rent time in an office, or even purchase a package with a certain number of hours per month. The more expensive the hourly rental the less profit you will make from meeting with a client, however, this will still be significantly cheaper than leasing a private office space while you are building a client base. This method also allows you to keep your operating costs low, reducing start-up costs. It also has the benefit of being furnished, further reducing your start-up costs. The downside is that you will not have any control over the space, nor guaranteed access which could affect your coaching availability.
Lease an Office and Getting a Roommate.
Another option is to lease a private office which you could share with another person to reduce costs. Many coaches and therapists use this method to have offices at different locations making them more accessible. Sharing an office will reduce your start-up and monthly operating costs by sharing them with another person. You may also be able to find someone who already has a furnished office that is looking for a roommate. The downside is that your initial operating costs will likely be higher than your initial income and you will need to plan for this in your start-up costs. The benefits are having dedicated office time, a set business location and a professional environment that you have some control over. Keep in mind all the costs associated with leasing an office when you are calculating costs including rent, utilities, liability insurance, furniture, cleaning, supplies if any, additional fees for use of common rooms that may be separate from the rent, etc.
Buying Office Space.
Buying office space is the most expensive option and should only be considered if you have great startup capital. For many coaches, this is a long-term goal for their business rather than a startup goal because of the expense involved. The benefits of buying an office space are having complete freedom to set appointments, having a professional environment to see clients, having a space in which your business can grow, and having complete control over the look and feel of your space. If you buy an office you will also have an asset that can build equity, the same benefits you get from buying a house versus renting. Again keep in mind all the costs of buying an office space when you are calculating costs including mortgage payment, maintenance of the building, maintenance of the grounds if any, cleaning, liability insurance, utilities, other supplies, furniture, etc.