By Tom Kaiser
Shared coworking spaces remain hot in this economy of countless startups and shrinking workplace square footage. The latest entering the franchising world is The Work Lodge out of Houston that just signed its first franchise agreement for Fort Worth, Texas.
Billed as an “all-inclusive flexible workspace concept,” The Work Lodge is looking to grow across the country with the start of its franchise program. Citing stats showing the freelancer population swelling beyond 65 million, the brand is looking to attract contract workers and entrepreneurs of all types.
The brand currently has two locations open and operating, so cue up the standard cautions about future growth. Coworking spaces have blown up more than I would have ever guessed, however, so I’ll be curious to see The Work Lodge’s progress six or 12 months from now.
The brand’s workspaces offer private and virtual offices, as well as the coworking and conferences spaces that you’d expect, with space for teams of one to 100. It touts custom-made furniture, cul-de-sac hallway layouts, common areas and “purposeful intent behind every single piece.” That sounds like my house, so I’ll be curious to see how much Prince or Golden Girls memorabilia is included in the design.
“As entrepreneurs and corporations search for flexible workspaces, Work Lodge is able to provide our members with a holistic approach by removing the friction of facilities and growth, freeing entrepreneurs and businesses to focus on building their dreams,” said Founder and CEO Mike Thakur. “Our mission at Work Lodge is to build, maintain and grow reimagined workspaces for everyone—from the solopreneurs to fortune 500 companies—while also giving back to the community.”
The total initial investment to open a Work Lodge ranges from $300,000 to $1.5 million. The Work Lodge is looking for franchise partners in both new markets, with openness to both single- and multi-unit agreements.
In addition to providing top-tier all-inclusive shared workspaces, The Work Lodge also launched The Gabriel Project with the noble cause to shine light on the unloved, overlooked and unwanted in society. The foundation funds programs focused around four worthy causes: building children’s homes in India, fighting human trafficking, feeding those in need and providing micro-assistance to families and community members with focused, unavoidable needs. The Gabriel Project is fully funded by Work Lodge and its partnering businesses, and more information is available at helpgabriel.org.
“The Gabriel Foundation is our way of changing the world,” added Thakur. “Because shared coworking spaces are in demand, potential Work Lodge franchisees have the opportunity to capitalize on an industry that hasn’t yet been exploited while giving back to those in need. We’re also able to provide Work Lodge franchisees with unmatched support ranging from site selection to lease negotiations to build-outs, we walk this process together, and do business with a greater purpose.”
I’ll be curious to see if The Work Lodge makes its way to my neck of the woods up in Minneapolis. If anybody in the biz looking for ways to innovate, let me share that my ideal workspace doesn’t get angry about loud typing, cereal choices are diverse/unlimited, white noise is turned up as high as it goes, and dogs of all breeds are paraded through at 9 AM and 4 PM sharp. You’re welcome.