If you’re a digital nomad or if you’ve ever found yourself in need of a space to work in for a day or two, chances are you’ve checked the prices, amenities, and payment options of multiple shared workspaces offering this type of service and made comparisons in order to choose the best one for you.
Now ask yourself this: how many of them had a credit system in place?
Modern problems, modern solutions
If you’ve landed on this article, you already know what coworking is. To be fair, even if you don’t, it’s not that difficult to deduce its function, since it’s made out of «working», and we all know what that means, and «co-», which is a prefix for together.
But while coming up with a definition for the term is quite effortless, setting up every single component that makes coworking successful for all types of workers is not. The concept is so new – it barely passes the two-decades-old milestone – that there aren’t many well-established rules and guidelines to operating these shared offices. And since it’s still new, it’s constantly changing, which means things can get a little fuzzy.
While there are other business models similar to that of coworking, none are quite like it. As a result, people that run coworking spaces are constantly facing their own sets of unique challenges that require fresh solutions. It might present issues, but it’s also a great opportunity for innovation.
How to design coworking pricing plans that work for everyone
Renting a space or a commodity that is not being used by its owner is beneficial for all parties involved. The space or commodity is being used, so there’s no waste; the renter benefits from the rented item, and the owner profits from ownership. Win, win, win.
While renting an apartment or a car is quite straightforward – one needs to pay an amount of money per time slot in which that space or car is used – with coworking, things get a bit more complicated. There’s no one-size-fits-all pricing scheme, as the diversity of coworking environments is boundless. Is the space a cubicle, an open space desk, a four-person meeting room, or a conference room that can hold close to 50 individuals? Is it in Copenhagen or in New York? Is wi-fi available? Is coffee provided? Is there a cafeteria, a gym room, or other amenities available? Does the price cover printing costs?
More importantly, how much should a coworking space really cost? What channels or instruments should be used so that this amount is paid by each member? What happens if one overstays their booked time slot? Who should have access to the space’s financial dashboard and settings?
All of these questions can be easily addressed with a simple tool: a credit system.
Credit systems – how to stop leaving money on the table
What’s a credit system? What’s the difference between paying $10 for a desk or using one credit that costs $10? And why should coworking spaces implement one? Let’s look at them one at a time in the context of coworking, of course.
A credit system is a framework in which booking any space or resource is done in exchange for a certain amount of credits, instead of currency. Every resource (be it a room or a laptop) can be rented for a number of tokens, depending on its characteristics and the period of time it is rented for.
Owners or managers can set up the precise ratio between one credit and its financial value (e.g. $1 = 1 credit), how many credits each resource costs, if the credits are transferable from one individual to another, if or what limitations should be imposed upon spending them, if they rollover to the following month(s), and so on.
Further, coworking members receive a new layer of visibility and understanding of their needs and expenses. If you only have 10 credits at your disposal, you’re going to use them wisely. If you’re constantly running out of credits and need to purchase additional ones, then you know your needs are greater than you estimated and can adjust.
Simply put, whether you’re a space owner or a member, a credit system is an easier way to juggle data, fine-tune settings, and optimize the activity of the coworking space.
Benefits of a credit system
Here are several advantages that implementing a credit system in a coworking business can bring about:
- Increased space efficiency – Since members are compelled to book only the space they need for the exact amount of time they need it, overbooking (booking for more time than actually needed) or abandoning the booked space are eliminated. As a result, space usage is calibrated.
- Full space monetization – Naturally, once space usage is running flawlessly, incoming revenue will rise. If every space is used at its full potential, both the space owner and members will be more content, as the owner is happy that the space is bringing in money, and the member knows their funds aren’t going to waste.
- Improved tenant quotas and reporting – For companies that provide coworking spaces for their employees, it’s important that these spaces have everything they need be productive while maintaining the lowest possible costs. By allotting a fixed number of credits to a group of employees and monitoring how they spend it, the company can adjust the quotas and improve budgeting processes.
There’s plenty of benefits for a coworking space’s members as well. Here are just some of them:
- High level of flexibility – Through its granularity, a credit system ensures that members maximize their renting costs by allowing them to rent only what they need, for the amount of time they need it.
- Quick adjustment – Whether the end-of-month report shows that the space usage estimates were over or underrated, members will have a clearer picture of their necessities and can adjust on the spot.
- Easy access – No longer is a member required to visit the reception area and ask for more time, or a bigger space, or another laptop, or anything else. Everything can be set through the booking window by making use of credits.
The future is digital
There’s no doubt that the future belongs to technology. And as the saying goes: if you can’t beat them, join them. (Although, why would you want to live without technology? It’s fun!)
Many daydream and share opinions on what the office of the future will look like. Some have already taken the path of sensor-infused everything: furniture, appliances, fittings, lighting; everything is chock-full with motion sensors, occupancy sensors, wayfinding sensors, volume sensors, facial recognition, bluetooth connections, wi-fi, NFC, RFID, and many other letters and/or acronyms. (At some point, there was even some buzz about wireless pants!) Jumping on the digital bandwagon has ceased to be an option; it’s now an evolutionary necessity.
While sensors are (still) optional, there’s one thing that cannot be absent from a coworking space – a space management system. We’ll not get into all the criteria on how to choose what system you use, but we do have one suggestion: try one that has a credit system. It will make your life easier.
Choose a space management solution with an in-built credit system
At its core, YAROOMS is an end-to-end room management software which features its own booking engine (so it does not depend on any external calendar), multiple integrations (so its users intuitively know how to operate it), and an app for digital signage – YAROOMS Door, for quick and easy access to any space.
Each space defined in YAROOMS, from the smallest cubicle or pod to the largest conference room, can be set up to require credits for booking. When the room is booked by a tenant, it will consume credits accordingly. The number of required credits is set up by the administrator, applying to booked time slots and varying for different meeting rooms.
YAROOMS comes with all of the aforementioned benefits:
- Increased space efficiency;
- Full space monetization;
- Improved tenant quotas and reporting.
But that’s not all! Through its credit system, YAROOMS also provides:
- Advanced booking window management – Time constraints can also be applied to the room booking itself, allowing users to book rooms in advance with varying degrees of granularity (from a few days in the future to as much as a few years).
- Secure payments through Stripe – the leading platform for online payments. This guarantees a high level of security and reliability.
- Increased visibility – The newly integrated credit system adds an extra layer of visibility to space usage. With YAROOMS, thanks to the check-in enabled digital signage system, usage data can offer a robust and accurate view of what a coworking space’s members’ needs actually are. Available rooms are visible to all involved parties, either in the apps (web, Outlook) or on the devices mounted at the door (YAROOMS Door).
If you own or work for a coworking space and would like to know more about how a credit system functions, or if you’d like to schedule a demo to see how YAROOMS handles credits, get in touch with their team here.