Among the many decisions an owner of a new business must make, the best location for conducting her/his business is an important one. As the founder of Divorce With Dignity, I can tell you that the location of a divorce legal services business has its own considerations. People going through a divorce will want a private and quiet place to discuss their situation. They are already going through a difficult time, so make it easy for them to get to you and comfortable for them to meet with you. Let’s talk about how the location of your divorce services business can be conducive to these goals.
Some people choose to start their business in their home. If you do this, there are some factors you must take into account.You need to check into (and adhere to) zoning laws and other legal restrictions in your area. You also want to create a space that is used only for running your business. This will cut down on distractions, help you keep your business organized, and will make tax time easier for you.
But my advice is to find an office space away from your home, to keep your personal life and work separate. A separate business office also gives a more professional impression. Finding the best location for your divorce legal services business should take the following aspects into account:
- Visibility. I’m talking about making it easy to find your office with proper signage. The kind of visibility you don’t want is a glass storefront where people can easily see in. Most people going through a divorce do not want other people to see them in your office.
- Accessibility. The best location for a business is one that makes it easy for people to get to you, so you want to find a place that has plenty of close parking (free parking, if possible) and that is near to public transportation stops.
- Safety. Although it would be great to be located close to the courthouse, they are often not in the best areas. You want your clients to feel safe, so I recommend a location in a business office complex in a fairly upscale commercial neighborhood.
- Conveniences. Does the building have the amenities you need? Are there adequate support services nearby, such as printing companies and office supply stores? What about close-by restaurants, banks, and shops for you and your staff? Is the office location easy for you to get to from home?
- Costs. What are the rents in the area for the type of office space you want? Are they affordable? Will you have to pay extra for parking or security? You’ll need insurance – can you get it at a reasonable cost at this location?
- Usage requirements. Does the office have adequate wiring for the equipment you’ll be bringing in? Is there enough storage space for your needs? Is there room for expansion?
In addition to the best location for your divorce services business, you’ll need to give some attention to the interior of your office. It doesn’t have to be big; 200-400 square feet should be sufficient. But it should be comfortable and nicely decorated, both for the comfort of your clients and for yourself. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time there. It’s important to have a small waiting area apart from where you will meet with clients. I personally like to conduct client meetings at my desk, so I can type the forms as we go, but other legal professionals might prefer to have a separate meeting area.
If you are not quite ready to commit to a lease, you may want to explore some other options. Perhaps you could share an office with a professional in a related or affiliated field, such as an attorney, mediator, or therapist. This could provide an opportunity for cross-promotion for both businesses. Another possibility is to rent space in an executive suite or virtual office. These are fully-operational spaces for professionals to conduct business; you pay a monthly fee depending on the amount of usage and types of services you need. Most will have meeting space and conference rooms, office support services, internet access, phones, mail services, office machinery, and reception service available.
The main concern with these alternatives is that you are usually not able to store a lot of your files and records, so you have to haul them back and forth, which can be a problem, as well as very cumbersome.
When legal professionals join the Divorce With Dignity Network, finding the best location for their divorce legal services business is just one of the aspects of opening a business that we cover in our intensive one-on-one training in both starting and managing the business. We also offer ongoing training and coaching for all our Network members. Interested to learn more? Please visit our website to discover the many benefits of becoming a Divorce With Dignity professional.
The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice. The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned. Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions.