A beautiful office completely decked out for less than six thousand dollars. Some startups spend that much on one desk/chair combo.
With a single Amazon.com purchase I had my entire office completely setup; from toilet paper to office desks, monitors to silverware. It cost less then five thousand dollars.
I then spent another thousand dollars buying things as we needed them over the next month.
Here's how I did it.
Why I got an office 🏢
In June of 2016 I closed my first ever round of seed funding. I was elated because it took five months to raise that 1.2 million, not to mention the two years of working on Plasso — solo and bootstrapped — leading up to that point.
With some money in the bank, I started building my company at a much quicker pace. For me, 1 million dollars was a LOT of money. I wanted to make the money last as long as possible. Having always bootstrapped everything for the previous 10 years, I know the real value of money. I know how hard it is to get.
I wanted an office, but I didn't want to waste money on an office. After a month I was eventually convinced it was a good idea to get one. And because I wasn't in SF or NYC, office space wouldn't really cost me too much.
I've never had a separate office before in my life. I've always worked from home (and loved it). But since the team was growing beyond just me, it was definitely time to get a dedicated work place. So I set out on the hunt for an office.
It wasn't much of a hunt though really. I've always know the exact location I wanted my office to be. I had dreamt of running a startup out of Carlsbad for almost a decade. As luck would have it, I eventually ended up in the exact spot I had always wanted.
The benefit of where we are now is the office is designed for entrepreneurs: retail space below and live-able space above. So rather than rent a warehouse or traditional office space — which usually lack a bathroom and kitchen — I have an office that is completely live-able with two huge bathrooms and a large kitchen.
Another great benefit to opting for a live-able office is: I pay zero dollars in hotel costs when remote team members fly in! The office is nicer than even the most expensive hotels. So by picking a place that is live-able out-of-the-box, I saved money. Boom. 💥
And you can't beat the fact that it is right next to the beach! The local commuter train, called the Coaster, has a mini-stop right here too. Couldn't be more convenient.
There isn't much of a tech community in the Carlsbad area. San Diego does have a bit of a community, but that is a 30 minute drive south from Carlsbad. Fortunately when I was originally looking at our place, the managers told me they were building a co-working space directly below the office. It was fantastic news! Not only will there be like-minded people around, but since Plasso is a commerce and payments company, we can help out almost everyone that will move into the co-working space.
That co-working space is Common Grounds. They recently opened their doors and we're lucky to have them as a customer!
Going shopping 🛍
This was the really fun part! Getting to browse and buy all the stuff to fill the office with. And doing it all from my computer was amazing!
Going in, I knew I didn't want to spend much. I was hoping to get it all for less than three thousand dollars. That didn't happen, but I got close.
100% of everything I bought was a single purchase on Amazon. I literally reached the limit of their cart. It actually told me I couldn't add anything else to my cart. 😂 In total, the bill came to around $4,800. Not too bad! For under $5k I had everything I needed to get the office set up, and I had it all a couple of weeks before my move-in date.
I did end up buying more stuff, on an as-needed basis, during the first month after move in. 90% of that came from Amazon as well.
I'm a fan of Craigslist and even managed to squeeze a Craigslist find into the office as well: our Air Hockey table was just $10!
Really? Less than $6k for everything?
Our signs turned out great! One is our word mark logo and is about 4ft. wide. Our icon logo (in white) is massive and is 3.5ft. × 3.5ft. Both are made of wood and were made by Tinkering Monkey. Hanging them was super easy, and I was able to do it all myself.
A few takeaways 📝
- Consider getting an office that can double as live-able space if you have remote team members that fly in often.
- Get a place that has easy access to public transit.
- Find a place with a community of startups nearby.
- Don't spend money on something just in case you need it. Buy things on an as needed basis if at all possible.
- Don't spend money on designer brand stuff. If all you're after is the 'look', there are plenty of drastically less expensive options.
- Work out of your office for a month before you go buy the nice to haves, you may find out you don't need them after all.
Some good finds 👀
Like what you see in our office? Grab some of it for your own office! I made a list of some the actual items you see in the photos above. All on Amazon of course. 😄
- B&O Beoplay S3 Bluetooth Speaker
- Ikea Linnmon Desk
- Baxton Studio Side Chairs
- Mesh Swivel Task Chair
- Altra Owen Retro TV Stand
- Dell Ultra HD 4K Monitor
- Beech Bentwood Bar Stool
- DHP Emily Linen Chaise Lounger
- Oslo Coffee Table
- Frosted Glass Dry-Erase Board
- Bijou Tripod Floor Lamp
- nuLOOM Alvera Indoor Rug
I hope you found this post useful and you're able to save some money on your own office! 💸
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