Sustainable coworking space business models

There are a number of sustainable ways to build a coworking space, but not all of them are obvious. Let’s makes sure you get on track to build something that can last!

Below, I’ve outlined some of the most popular sustainable coworking business models I’ve seen.

Check the proven coworking business models:

1. Coworking + offices

This is perhaps the most popular option. Private office spaces are proven profit centers. Offering them in a space that also is home to a vibrant community of coworkers makes them that much more enticing!

2. Coworking + events & educational programming

Planning to host a robust calendar of events offers double benefits: it gives you another revenue stream while also providing a natural pipeline of new potential members coming into your space.

  • You can produce your own programs or work with external content providers.
  • You can charge for programming, or find sponsors to cover the costs.
  • You can focus on technical, design, and entrepreneurship skills, or create an open-ended offering.
  • You can focus on evenings and weekends, or have continuous programming throughout the week.

Once you’ve got this rolling, you can then start going after more substantial sponsorships!

3. Coworking + consultancy

One of the most proven sustainable models for small-scale coworking, this model takes advantage of the symbiotic relationship between a consultancy and a coworking community.

There are two big advantages to this approach. For one, you’re spreading out risk between two businesses—so long as one is performing well, it can make up for slow times in the other.

Secondly, the coworking space can provide a nice pipeline of talent and projects for the consultancy, while the consultancy can provide nice work opportunities for the members. Everyone wins!

If you don’t have a consultancy yourself, you could partner with an existing one that might be looking to upgrade its space.

4. Coworking inside an under-utilized space

A more recent trend in coworking is one in which spaces that often sit empty are repurposed into coworking space during business hours.

To keep costs down and get a lightweight offering off the ground quickly, consider partnering with a local restaurant or church!

5. Coworking in partnership

The positive economic impact of a successful coworking space on its community is incredible. Consider aligning your project with the goals set forth by the various departments and groups in your city, where there may be unique opportunities to access capital, publicity, and space.

If you’re not sure which direction to go, that’s fine—the information you gather from your prospective members will help you refine your plans.

For further guidance, check out my Coworking Business Model Planning Kit. I also do a deep-dive lecture into these models and much more in my Coworking Business Model & Fundraising Workshop!