Union Cowork has multiple facilities throughout San Diego County, including two spots in North Park, one in Encinitas, and one in East Village. Photo courtesy of Union Cowork

Union Cowork has multiple facilities throughout San Diego County, including two spots in North Park, one in Encinitas, and one in East Village. Photo courtesy of Union Cowork

— As local coworking spaces compete for new tenants, some facilities are offering sweet perks such as in-office hot tubs and kombucha on tap to help fill desks. But when deciding on a coworking space to call home, should perks be a determining factor?

Coworking has been a hot trend in real estate, with most metropolitan areas seeing a surge of these spaces over the past decade. These shared work environments are modeled like gym memberships: Members pay a monthly fee for a desk or small space to work. The spaces are often used by “digital nomads” (think freelance writers, graphic designers, and web developers) who want a space to work outside of their homes.

But coworking spaces are also the favorite choice for many of San Diego’s fledgling startups, which have small budgets and few employees.

It’s these entrepreneurs and startups that should carefully consider a few factors before signing a lease with a coworking space. Here are five considerations for startups hunting for a coworking home.

Flexibility to Grow

Startups are known for outgrowing their workspaces quickly. Once a new company has scored angel or venture capital, it often needs to recruit sales or engineering teams to scale. When choosing a coworking space, consider whether the facility has bigger spaces available for growing companies. Many local coworking spaces, including WeWork and DeskHub, have larger private offices startups can graduate into as they grow.

Industry-Specific Location

Some regions in the county are better known for certain industries than others. For example, software companies are clustered in downtown, Sorrento Valley and Carlsbad. Life science startups gather pretty close to the research institutions on the Torrey Pines Mesa. If attending industry events and getting involved with your industry-specific community is important, consider coworking spaces located in your industry clusters.

Neighbors

Coworking spaces are known for offering lots of networking opportunities. Not only do these facilities normally host regular social events, but the open-concept layout often encourages collaboration between various companies and individuals. If you’re planning on leveraging that in-house network, consider who your neighbors will be in your coworking space. The more members a coworking space houses, the more opportunities you will have to improve your network.

Privacy

Privacy can be critical to some early-stage startups, especially in fields such as fintech or knowledge-based industries that lean heavily on intellectual property and trade secrets. When choosing a coworking space, look for access to private rooms to make sensitive phone calls. Or choose a facility that offers doors and locks for security.

Price

We saved the most obvious for last. All startups are closely watching their budgets, so price can be the most important determining factor when choosing your space. It can be tempting to secure a desk at a glamorous spot with downtown city views, but if that spot shortens your runway then it’d be better to work from home. For early-stage ventures (especially before landing financing), time is money. Give yourself as much time as possible by keeping costs low.