I’m not going to lie. There are some big advantages and big disadvantages to starting a business in the San Francisco Bay area. On the one hand, this region is home to an immense amount of talent. There’s a very good reason that lots of tech companies like to have their headquarters in Silicon Valley or the Bay Area. Our community plays home to Facebook, Apple, Google, Instagram, Yahoo, eBay, and many other big names in the tech industry. Additionally, the area is home to tons of tech startups.
But all of those advantages come with a heavy pricetag. San Francisco is, by far, the most expensive metro area in the United States, beating out the likes of New York and Washington DC. One of the things I miss most about living in Ohio was being able to rent a 2-bedroom townhouse apartment for about $500 a month. Here in San Francisco, $500 a month will barely buy you a parking space.
If you’re going to locate your business in San Francisco, make sure you have the capital to do it. For the emerging technology startup company, you want to be sure that you have a good office phone system. According to this site, Grasshopper is a good choice for startups in the SF Bay area. With so many workers who are mobile, working from home, or otherwise on flexible schedules, it makes sense to get a voice-over-IP phone service that accommodates this flexibility and allows them to take calls from anywhere.
Another important consideration is finding office space. In my opinion, start-ups are better off finding short term office space rather than committing to a long lease. Not only does this put less of a dent in your cash flow, it allows you the flexibility to move to a different location as your business grows and adds more employees. Short-term office spaces are nice because you can rent a desk or meeting room by the hour, so you don’t even need to pay for your office space when you aren’t using it. Craigslist is probably the best place to find office space in San Francisco, because you can get a much better deal than you can from long leases.
What do you think are the most important considerations when you’re running a startup in the SF Bay area?