Virtual offices shield SMEs from rental costs

Enterprising house owners in Nairobi and other towns in Kenya are making profits monthly while insulating medium size business operators from high rental costs with virtual office spaces complete with internet access and virtual telephone services at a monthly rent of Sh7500.

This is a reprieve to many business operators’ especially international brands setting their bases in Kenya after a recent Hass Property Index indicated a surge in rental prices in the country.

The Knight Frank Africa report 2014  pegs prime rents for office space in Nairobi at USD31 (Sh2,700) per square meter per month.

Virtual Office Solution Limited for instance are offering office spaces at TVR plaza along Muthithi Road in the high end Westlands, Nairobi.

The Sh7500 a month package include a five square metre space, a table, chair, a telephone number, a virtual receptionist to answer calls and unlimited Internet connections.

This offer is much cheaper compared to normal renting that will see one pay Sh8100 for the same space, buy furniture and pay for Internet connections.

The company also offers such spaces in other towns which include Mombasa, Kisumu, Machakos and Eldoret.

Apart from renting office spaces, it also helps individual house owners to design office spaces at a fee.

According to the company’s General Manager Benjamin Gachie, an average of 25 clients are offered office spaces daily while a similar number of house owners request for office design services from the company across the country.

He told Dhahabu Kenya that the price of the space varies with the location of the building with the highest price being Sh10,000 per month.

Another business operator who runs an information technology firm from the same building explains that no bureaucracy is involved in hiring the space.

“I secured this space via a mobile phone and paid for it via M-pesa, ” said Collins Muli.

A house valuer from Ayala Office Solution Company, Timothy Bengo  is optimistic that this kind of office lease profits the house owner.

He explained that an office space of 1000 square metre along Mombasa road cost sh120,000 a month.

If such house is partitioned into five square metre space, it will generate 200 spaces that is offered at Sh 7500 each, the house owner can make Sh150,000. With this calculation, Bengo concludes that virtual office business guarantees mutual benefit to the tenant and the house owner.

Other services enjoyed in this office include access to printing, copying, scanning and binding services, meeting room and complimentary gourmet coffee, tea, and water.



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