With the well-documented growth of niche coworking spaces, let’s explore the pros and cons to this industry.
First of all, what is a niche space? Coworking has grown so much that a sector for specialized, targeted spaces toward a specific market has evolved. For example, there are women’s only spaces that are thriving throughout the nation. There are successful coworking spaces aimed at specific industries, such as cannabis, veterans’ services, the LGBT community, musicians, and many other groups.
Attacking an Underserved Market
Whether it’s a niche space for lawyers, moms who need child-care services, or graphic designers, there are unique sectors of the workforce that need unique amenities on a daily basis. While there are plenty of coworking spaces out there that offer fantastic perks and benefits, there’s nothing quite like being surrounded by those who have the same interests and needs.
You do have to take into consideration whether there is going to be sufficient demand to fill your space. Since many niche operators have experience in running spaces before expanding into the niche sector, it would be a good idea to reach out to some of them to see how to pinpoint an underserved market, and how to gauge interest from the general public on joining a new space.
Community is at the heart of much of what coworking is all about. It’s one of the biggest retention factors for workspaces, as well as one of the biggest reasons people escape working from home or coffee shops.
When working in a niche space, the sense of community is almost built-in seamlessly. Having large groups of members who work on similar tasks not only creates natural conversation and collaboration, but it builds networking relationships that could help many parties grow alongside eachother.
Guide to Build Off
In the grand scheme of things, it was much harder for operators that entered the niche market in its infancy. There was no track record of success to build off, and word had not spread within coworking as to how popular these niche spaces could be.
Now, operators who spot a niche thats underserved have access to models that have worked extremely well, even some that have expanded nationwide. Also, as with any other growing trend, there’s now a much larger pool of candidates searching for niche spaces and looking to see if there are any geared toward their needs.
Narrowed Target Audience
Overall, the fact that a business model is targeting such a specified market is normally a drawback. In the case of coworking, its reduced even further, basically a niche within whats already a niche market.
Some would say its a positive overall to know exactly who you need to reach. Or that it helps to not have to cast a wide net. That being said, having to expand marketing efforts to get more prospects in your space, and having to count on word of mouth more than generic spaces is mostly a downside to being a niche space operator.
There are two monetary factors to consider as a con here. The first is that typically niche spaces are priced higher for members than your typical coworking space. This is largely due to the unique amenities they offer, and partly to compensate for having a much smaller pool to draw from.
However, take into consideration as well that the cost to fit out a niche space is traditionally much higher. You may need pet friendly areas if that’s your niche, or child care areas, or extremely high end conference rooms if you’re catering to wealthy attorneys, for example. The list goes on. Some wellness specific spaces need yoga studios or massive windows for natural light, among other cost driving features. So as much as this will allow you to charge a bit more, just keep in mind that designing a luxury sports car costs far more than a budget sedan.
Overall, niche coworking is a fantastic trend in our industry which is only growing in popularity and demand. Whether you are an operator who is looking to specialize initially, or after starting multiple spaces, Yardi Kube is the platform of choice to power your space and scale efficiently.