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The #1 Guide to Start Your Green Garage Office
Some of the biggest names in business all started out with a discreet garage office. Google is one. The leading internet search giants started over a decade ago when co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin rented out a garage space to work out of. Hewlett Packard, Apple, HCL and Borland all share the same stories.
Yet, most small businesses fail within the first year. The mistake most make is to invest in things that don't offer any kind of real return. Office products, new computers, expensive office spaces, are all classic money drainers. The amount normally spent here should be redirected to your business, in investments, market analysis, research, and networking - all things that can get you more informed and your business more exposure.
When launching a startup, keep it simple. Focus on functionality and cost-effectiveness; there are a few important factors to consider in order to have your space be both effective and eco-friendly. Things like using hand-me-down furniture and keeping the space comfortable with an inexpensive electric garage heater. Read on to find out more.
Tips for Saving Money Setting Up Your New Office
Technology Is Your Friend
There are many free technology services available today to help you cut down on overhead. Do you need to have a meeting with business partners? There are many online video chat services available: iChat, Gmail Chat, Skype and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). These services are free within the United States and most only charge a very small fee for international calls.
Software for computers can also be very expensive to purchase. You can eliminate this cost completely by using Google Docs. You can create spreadsheets, word documents and presentations for free! It also allows you to easily share these documents with coworkers. There are also other cloud-based services available that charge a small fee like Apple's MobileMe.
The key here is to think "refurbish and repair." Amazon's Jeff Bezos crafted his first set of office tables from wooden doors, angle brackets, and two by four pieces of lumbar from Home Depot. The idea is to save money and resources by using what you have to create a make shift environment that is both functional and eco-friendly.
Try reupholstering old sofas and chairs, creating makeshift desks, staining or painting furniture to give it a new look. The possibilities are endless if you pair imagination with a little bit of elbow grease. Also, just because you're working in a garage office, doesn't mean it has to feel like it.
Insulate Your Garage
Adding a couple inches of insulation will help keep outside noise at bay (think cars, noisy neighbors, gardeners), which is particularly important if you expect to regularly be on the phone with clients or vendors.
A possible solution here is the use of sprayfoam insulation, which is definitely something to consider if you're based in the northern or eastern states. Depending on the company providing the foaming services, foams are also available in eco-friendly medium density polyurethane.
Get Through the Winter
A regulated temperature plays a big part in creating a conducive work environment. Regardless on which coast you're on, winters are one of the biggest challenges for a garage office.
A higher efficiency rating, (contrasted against the extreme and rising cost of natural gas), makes electric heaters the go-to solution for heating garage offices. Electric heaters also protect against carbon dioxide poisoning. Unlike natural gas furnaces, withelectric garage heaters you don't have to worry about deadly gas leaks. And since electric heaters don't produce emissions, they're definitely the green choice for any eco-minded office.
Many cities and states also offer incentive programs to home owners who switch out traditional heating for electric furnaces. Additionally, many utility companies offer similar perks to those who heat with electricity rather than natural gases.
Other Things to Consider
There are many other things to consider when starting your new business from home. Check out this article From Grungy Garage to Functional Office from Entreprenuer.com. It gives some great tips from people that know first-hand what it's like to work from home. Some of the tips include:
- Secure high-speed internet service - one thing that you definitely shouldn't skimp on.
- Take advantage of public space - since you probably don't want tobring business partners and clients to your garage coffee shops and restaurants make a great alternative.
- If you can't find quiet, create it - block out distracting noises with a set of headphones so you can concentrate on your work.
- Set boundaries - it's hard to work from home because there are so many distractions. This article recommends setting up a routine that separates home and work time.
Taking all this advice into account you'll be able to save money setting up your home office. Then you'll be able to spend the money you saved on more important things for your business, making sure you have the best chance of success.