First, the good news: Utah is consistently one of the best states to do business. It ranks high in ease of opening an enterprise. The Beehive State is also teeming with talent, many of which are tech-driven.
The downside is property prices here are increasing. That includes commercial rent. The data show that an office in a Class B building can cost at least $20 per square foot.
A small private office usually measures 90 square feet. The monthly rent, therefore, is nearly $2,000.
If you want to spend less, you can open your business in a C-class building. The cost per square foot drops to around $15. However, the location is more likely much farther from the central business district.
Either way, the cost of leasing commercial space may be too much for anyone who’s starting. The next best option: convert the garage into a home office.
Why the Garage?
Many flourishing businesses such as Microsoft and Amazon began in garages — and no, it’s not a startup culture or tradition. This is one of the most practical choices for those who want to set up a home office:
- A garage is more separate than other parts of the house. You are less likely to get distracted from the noise or be tempted to sleep often. It may also be easier for you to manage your time. Being in the garage means you’re supposed to be in “work mode.”
- Garages have plenty of space. You may not realize it with all the items placed here. A 2-car garage that can accommodate a pair of SUVs may measure an amazing 400 square feet. An employee will need at least 86 square feet. Thus, this garage can hold at least three people.
- Garages are durable. The walls are stable, and the floors are more likely concrete. If you wish to convert a part of it into inventory storage, this space will hold the goods well.
- You are likely to spend less on remodeling. Often, all you have to do is to declutter. Get rid of the things you no longer need. Otherwise, place them in a secure storage facility. You can get them back once you’re ready to move out to a real office.
- You can reduce your business-related spending to your taxable income. If you own the property, you can claim a mortgage interest deduction. You can also itemize the estimated costs of utility and fuel, among others, you might have used to run your company. This further lowers your spending.
How to Convert Your Garage into a Home Office
Now you know the benefits of using your garage, how do you transform the space into a doable and safe home office?
1. Get the Necessary Permits
In Utah, you cannot alter or improve any part of your home right away. Often, it requires a permit from the Building Inspection Division. If you live in West Valley City, this document will apply to any home remodeling that may convert the use of a room. The same rule applies if you will change electrical circuits, natural gas lines, ductwork, etc.
If you own the property, you can apply for the permit yourself. If you are renting it, the landlord may need to process it on your behalf.
2. Improve the Insulation
Most garages often lack installation or don’t come with climate-controlled systems. These work well for vehicles but not for humans. This is especially true in Utah where winter temperatures can be frigid.
You need to improve the space’s heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system too. You may also connect this to the rest of the household for easier repair and maintenance.
3. Decide on the Flow of the Space
How do you want it to be? Would you like an open floor plan? Would you prefer to have a separate office? If you expect products to come or clients to visit, where should they go? The ideal space flow promotes safety and time efficiency.
Further, when you know how the space will be used, you can then decide better on other aspects of its conversion. These include the kinds and sizes of furniture to buy and the type of lighting.
4. Decorate the Space
Usually, decorating the space is the least of concern for entrepreneurs, but they offer benefits to clients and employees. For example, studies show that adding indoor plants may enhance productivity and focus by reducing their stress levels. The vibe of the space can also speak a lot about the company culture and the brand.
Many businesses eventually graduate from garages to posh offices preferably in the metro. You will hopefully get there. But while starting, lower your cost without compromising your operations by converting your garage into a startup office.