Office Space Square Footage

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NE_RIA's picture
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Joined: 2009-12-17

I'm curious, how does everyone else have their office setup? One, two offices, a single bathroom and conference room? Welcome Desk or not, etc. How much square feet do you have, and do you have external signage (visible from the street).

chief123's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-28

500sqft, one office with small entry way, no conference room, single bathroom, yes external sign, street level walkin

Milyunair's picture
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Joined: 2009-09-25

About 500 square in a neighborhood office building, toilet down the hall, in with orthodontists, dentists, small marketing companies. A great way to some get walk-in business and make friends from a solo office. My office is the windowed conference room, two outside desks for a part time assistant, and an associate, if any motivated younger  person ever figures out that all they have to do call me up and ask for a job. So far, in many, many years, that has never happened. I think that's a sign of what is happening to America. Either that, or my reputation precedes me.

aeromaks's picture
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Joined: 2007-01-13

Rent office in attorneys office.  250sf office upstairs, and large conference room downstairs 

ex-morganguy's picture
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Joined: 2009-12-18

I recently joined LPL in June and came from Morgan Stanley.  I leased a 900 sf. office with 4 offices and a private bathroom.  Also have a smaller area for a sales assistant.  Brand new building about 20 minutes south of Charlotte, NC.  I furnished it with brand new furniture and technology for the entire suite.  All of the offices look the same; Wood floors, high ceilings, Hi-gloss Cherry desks with returns, leather client and advisor chairs and very nice old-world artwork.  Looks better than my offices at MS and Smith Barney.  I negotiated a great deal on a years lease with the option for 2 more additional years.  Total fixed expenses are running roughly $2,000 per month.  I decided to build out a new branch from the ground up versus working out of the house (which is not for me) or a smaller shared office with some CPA or a plug-and-play month to month office burried in a huge office center.  I also choose not to join an existing branch only because I wanted to build out my own.  I guess, looking back, it would have been smarter to join an existing branch in the begining considering it would have been turn key and I could have received a ton of help from the other advisor(s).  I really haven't started marketing the other offices yet as I wanted to finish up the transition and get settled in.  I think that I am leaning towards letting other advisors join me as a completely seperate entity, i.e., not under my DBA, in the beginning.  Just split all costs evenly.  If someone didn't have their 24, I guess I would consider supervising but really didn't want to be a babysitter.  The downside for me right now is that it sure is lonely working by myself.  For the past 16 years I have been in some pretty big branches with lot's of people and a ton of stuff going on around me.  The other downside to not joining an exising branch is that you are really on your own.  I transitions a book of 300 clients all by myself with NO sales assistant.  By myself !  I would highly recommend against anyone transitioning a book of any amount by themselves.  It was completely insane.  Good luck and let me know if you need any guidence.  Peace ! 

Squash1's picture
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Joined: 2008-11-19

ex-morganguy wrote:I recently joined LPL in June and came from Morgan Stanley.  I leased a 900 sf. office with 4 offices and a private bathroom.  Also have a smaller area for a sales assistant.  Brand new building about 20 minutes south of Charlotte, NC.  I furnished it with brand new furniture and technology for the entire suite.  All of the offices look the same; Wood floors, high ceilings, Hi-gloss Cherry desks with returns, leather client and advisor chairs and very nice old-world artwork.  Looks better than my offices at MS and Smith Barney.  I negotiated a great deal on a years lease with the option for 2 more additional years.  Total fixed expenses are running roughly $2,000 per month.  I decided to build out a new branch from the ground up versus working out of the house (which is not for me) or a smaller shared office with some CPA or a plug-and-play month to month office burried in a huge office center.  I also choose not to join an existing branch only because I wanted to build out my own.  I guess, looking back, it would have been smarter to join an existing branch in the begining considering it would have been turn key and I could have received a ton of help from the other advisor(s).  I really haven't started marketing the other offices yet as I wanted to finish up the transition and get settled in.  I think that I am leaning towards letting other advisors join me as a completely seperate entity, i.e., not under my DBA, in the beginning.  Just split all costs evenly.  If someone didn't have their 24, I guess I would consider supervising but really didn't want to be a babysitter.  The downside for me right now is that it sure is lonely working by myself.  For the past 16 years I have been in some pretty big branches with lot's of people and a ton of stuff going on around me.  The other downside to not joining an exising branch is that you are really on your own.  I transitions a book of 300 clients all by myself with NO sales assistant.  By myself !  I would highly recommend against anyone transitioning a book of any amount by themselves.  It was completely insane.  Good luck and let me know if you need any guidence.  Peace ! 
 
It's a good thing you told you came from Morgan Stanley... never would have guessed

Squash1's picture
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Joined: 2008-11-19

That is actually a nice deal.. if your expenses are running $2K/month for that space.. I would advise not letting people a separate entity, because that will muck it up when people come in the office and see 4 different names..

henrybar's picture
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Joined: 2009-09-22

That is a sweet set up for $2K/month..

B24's picture
B24
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Joined: 2008-07-08

Just curious, why so much space for just you? 
 
Also, how are clients reacting to you being completely on your own (versus the branch office with asstsitants, other advisors, etc.)?

aeromaks's picture
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Joined: 2007-01-13

if you want a good free assistant... get a spouse or a girlfriend.
Mine does come in.Also, High school and college interns... they are out there and willing to work for free or little pay, just so they can get some experience.

chief123's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-28

aeromaks wrote:
if you want a good free assistant... get a spouse or a girlfriend.

Mine does come in.

Also, High school and college interns... they are out there and willing to work for free or little pay, just so they can get some experience.
 
I tried that but my spouse got mad because I had a girlfriend..

aeromaks's picture
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Joined: 2007-01-13

pictures of your office setup?  would love to see.

aeromaks's picture
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Joined: 2007-01-13

ttt?
I am now looking at getting a bigger office, apx 1k sf.   

san fran broker's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-25

I think the best office layout is a conference room, kitchenette, advisor office, reception and work area. If you have a small office, then I think you'll need to have very nice furniture.

aeromaks's picture
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Joined: 2007-01-13

my only concern, unless you have a few advisors working with you, and all your meetings in person, conference room goes unused.

san fran broker's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-25

I agree, and ours goes unused for most of the week, but it's an image thing and for certain reasons it's nice to be able to fit five people around a conference table (you, your asst, client/spouse, client's cpa).We've set up a large screen monitor with two wireless keyboards / mice so that clients can come in and review their accounts online with us and prospects can easily give us access to their accounts / download statements for ACATs. Makes preparing for meeting very easy (no printouts) and I think it's accelerated a lot of closes. Everyone loves it.

Indyone's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-30

I moved out of an accounting firm last fall and renovated a 1450 sf office building.  We're on the 2nd most traveled east-west street on the city and one building off the corner, right across from one of the busiest restaurants in the city.  The setup is more than I need right now, but was bought with expansion in mind.  As of now, I have my assistant in a reception area with a 32" flat screen TV on the wall.  It's all trimmed in mahogany and poplar stained to match.  Behind the reception area is two offices...mine and a spare that my summer intern (daughter) will use for now.  Eventually, that will be a second advisor's office...once I find the right fit.  In between the two offices is a public ADA-conforming bathroom in front, with a second private bathroom behind it, accessible from both offices.  Both baths are all tile floors...the rest of the building is tuscan mahogany Pergo...looks great and can be had for about $3 a square foot.  To the right of the reception area is our conference room, complete with a ten-foot walnut conference table with a 42" flat screen TV at the end of it mounted on the wall.  The TV is connected to both the satellite system and the Dell tower tucked in a corner of the room.  I run the computer with a wireless keyboard and mouse from the conference table and do all of my client reviews in this room.  Clients love seeing their numbers (especially this year) on a 42" monitor.  If I had it to do again, I would have put a small second monitor on the conference table facing me for looking up stuff outside of the client's field of view.  As it is now, I have to try and do all that kind of stuff before the meeting starts.
 
The other side of the conference room is a break room and a large 24X16 unfinished storage area that if I expand enough, will be my office.  I also have about a 900 SF basement under all but the break room and storage room.  At this point, I'm using the basement to store old files and house my network storage drive (housing all our files and data), router and phone system.  The end result is, I have a lot of room I don't really need at the moment, but it feels great to be able to stretch out a bit.  The building will comfortably house three advisors and two assistants and I don't ever intend to be larger than that.  At that point, we'll have to schedule the conference room and have some meetings in our individual offices.  If we schedule carefully, this shouldn't happen much as I rarely schedule more than 2-3 client meetings a day.  All-in cost here in low-rent midwest - $175K.  My monthly nut on the building all-in (insurance, taxes, mortgage, cleaning, maintenance and utilities) is about $2K.  I feel like I bought at the real estate bottom and expect the office to easily be worth $250-300K in five years (doesn't hurt that a major north-south interstate will be completed about a mile east of my office by 2012).
 
That enough detail for you?

aeromaks's picture
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Joined: 2007-01-13

Indy, that is fantastic.  Now is your office like a brick building type or a converted residential house?

Indyone's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-30

It was a residence, but had been converted to commercial use long before me.  I did a complete facelift to make it look more like an office with a bedford stone facade.  As it looks today, other than the general shape of the building, you'd be hard-pressed to ever guess it was a house.

SometimesNowhere's picture
Joined: 2008-12-22

My office is about 400 sq ft. It sits in a strip mall between a Chinese restaurant and a liquor store. When you walk in there is a big picture of Ted Jones sitting above the plastic desk where my assistant sits and reads romance novels.
 
In my office there is a beautiful green wall behind me with a bunch of nail holes in it from the last 6 advisors that were here. The only documents I really have in my office are a large stack of ICA guides ready to share with a client. After all, nobody was ever hurt with half of their net worth in ICA A-share. There is a random industrial sink in my office that I presume is there because this used to be a dog grooming parlor.
 
 

Indyone's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-30

I know it's an old joke, but it was still well done and funny.

chief123's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-28

Indy you have a nice set up... Can I join you...?

Indyone's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-30

Maybe.  First you need to live in the midwest and I need to review all your posts on here to see if you are a suitable candidate...

AdvisorControl.com's picture
Joined: 2009-05-29

Currently I lease most of the second floor of a large midwest bank building (their mortgage unit used to be there...but things didn't go too well).  I have 6 employees (3 advisors, 3 support staff, plus me) so we've got about 2,700 sq/ft.Since I honestly hate writing and most of you know my little site in the tagline - I'd be happy to do a short video walk-through of the space and show what it looks like from the exterior.  Just shoot a pm and if it seems there are enough people who really want to know this sort of thing it wouldn't be too tough to do.Also - we're moving our office soon.  Going from burbs to downtown and moving up into a significantly nicer space with more sq/ft.  Curious others thoughts on that.  We're doing it because it seems a lot of the $3MM+ clients don't like going to the area we're in and downtown is more convenient for me than the other side of town.  So we're doing a ground level space with private parking for our building directly in front of the door.  Our downtown is in the second largest city in my state, so not huge, but pretty good size.Feedback is welcome and questions too.

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