The coworking industry is largely a 21st century phenomenon, and has been growing exponentially in recent years. Because this is such a new industry, franchises are few and far between, which is why there are only two companies on this list of top coworking franchises for 2019. But they’ve both managed to achieve rankings on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list.
There are two factors driving the growth of the coworking industry. First is the rise of the gig economy in which freelancers hire themselves out on “gigs” for project work, typically performing computer-based work for clients remotely. Second is the growing number of regular employees who have the flexibility to work some or all of their hours remotely. When both kinds of people want the option to perform their work away from their home, coworking spaces are the answer.
In the U.S. alone, more than 500 new coworking locations were opened in 2018, and there are now more than 6,300 coworking spaces across the nation – a figure expected to rise above 7,000 in 2019. As you might expect, coworking spaces are twice as prevalent in urban areas than suburban or rural places. It’s also worth noting that because this involves real estate in prime urban markets, startup costs for these franchises can be substantial.
The U.S. coworking market is already beginning to mature, so the kind of explosive growth seen in recent years is expected to slow down but the industry will still continue to grow. Here are the two best coworking franchises of 2019:
1. Office Evolution
Office Evolution was founded by Mark Hemmeter, who continues to serve the company as its CEO. Each location offers a variety of fully-furnished spaces. Those who want dedicated space can choose a dedicated desk, a micro office, or a full private office (each option comes with its own monthly fee). Conference rooms and day offices can be rented by the hour. There are also three different levels of shared workspace monthly rentals. Phone answering is also available (for a fee), as is having a real address for a business (also for a fee).
Monthly plans come with a range of convenient perks such as staffed reception to welcome guests; meeting equipment available in conference rooms (computer projection by TV or projector, speakerphone, whiteboard); community kitchen outfitted with all the essentials; onsite support to ensure your office and meeting needs are addressed; community printer/copier/scanner; complimentary wireless Internet; and complimentary coffee and tea. Both month-to-month and long-term agreements are possible.
This company currently ranks #160 on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list. Founded in 2003 and franchising since 2012, the number of locations has grown to 60, of which eight are company-owned and all are located in the U.S. The company website, however, claims 81 locations in 26 states.
2. Venture X
Venture X opened its first location in Naples, Florida by the father and son duo of CEO David Diamond and COO Brett Diamond. They partnered with Ray Titus and his United Franchise Group when they decided it was time to franchise the concept.
Each location offers five different membership plans all available on a month-to-month basis without long-term leasing requirements:
- The Community plan is for those who only need the occasional day of workspace but want it to come with all the perks of membership;
- The Dedicated Desk plan includes a dedicated desk in a common area, filing cabinet, and ergonomic chair with unlimited 24/7 access, a mailing address, and three conference room hours per month;
- The Private Office plan includes a private office with a full-height glass wall facing toward the community with the other three walls insulated for sound and visual privacy and comes with 24/7 access to the personal lockable office for individual members or for up to 10-member teams, a mailing address, and five conference room hours per month;
- The Virtual Office plan comes with a professional business address including mail and package handling (coworking day passes and conference rooms are also available); and
- The Conference Room plan gives access to one of several different well-appointed conference rooms to handle business meeting needs.
This company currently ranks #499 on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 List. Founded in 2012 and franchising since 2016, the number of locations currently stands at 15, one of which is company-owned and one of which is located outside the U.S. The company website, however, lists 21 locations open with another 21 listed as “coming soon.”
An Important Note About Our Methodology
The franchises on this list were ranked according to the number of units in the franchise system. If you are a prospective franchisee searching for franchise opportunities that meet or exceed certain performance benchmarks for sales, profits, and return on investment, please check out this list of America’s Most Lucrative Franchises.