How Rentadesk came about...
In a galaxy, far far away the Rebel Alliance slowly gathered strength.
Meanwhile, in London Soho, having incorporated a small business back in 2002 and working from home for the first 2 years, I started looking for a few desk spaces in London Soho so that I could be near my customers and have extra space for a part-time assistant.
I wrote up a leaflet asking 'desk space wanted' and posted it in several buildings in the area to see if anyone would like to rent out one or two desks. Several people replied, they all wanted in the region of £500 per month per desk; this would have been a corner desk on a floor sharing with one other company, so basically sharing with 'employees', not business owners.
I also looked at a few serviced offices which offered a minimum office size of 2 desks with prices around £1,400 per month for 12 month contracts, way out of my budget, and not the most appropriate use of my resources I thought, each pound spent on desk space being a pound I couldn't spend on paying for an assistant, who was crucial to grow my business.
One of the respondents to my leafleting campaign was a tenant who had much more than a few desks available. He wanted to sublet his entire office as his fashion label was expanding to a larger office around the corner and didn't need the space any more. The office was on a standard commercial lease with 20 months left to go, so he had quite a liability to the landlord that he preferred not to pay if at all possible.
I negotiated a reasonable rent, and decided to move in to this 265 sq ft office at Market Place next to Carluccios restaurant. With my desk and my part time assistant, there was still room for a few other desks, so in 2005 I decided to rent them out individually. Everyone who came and viewed the desk said they thought it was a great idea and soon we had all the spare desks rented (we had a web designer, a genomics expert, a security specialist and a fashion stylist).
Mixing with these inspiring individuals and having such a warm working community was a incredibly positive side-effect of having such an eclectic mix of people in one place. The metaphorical light bulb went on, and so that's how Rentadesk was born. Once the lease came to an end at Market Place, we all moved together to a beautiful grade II listed building at Marshall Street, Soho, incorporated Rentadesk, and started Rentadesk proper in summer 2006.
We're looking to grow Rentadesk organically, one space at a time, focusing on growing a strong mature community that provides genuine inspiration and practical benefit to all freelance and independent workers.