Over the last couple of years, co-working spaces have popped up in Kingston and another is about to open in less than a month, so I wanted to take a moment to see what is out there and compare them.
I haven’t really needed a co-working space as working from home has suited me well. It provides me with more flexibility that works better for my lifestyle, but I can definitely see the appeal of being able to timebox your life more like a regular company with clearer divisions between work time and home time.
I don’t even know if this space is still a thing as the last update on their website was over a year ago, but if it is still a thing, their website sucks for providing information. The only pricing I could find is for a private office which is $550 per month. It is in downtown Kingston and includes an open kitchen, retro beer fridge, private w/c with shower, bike closet, phone booth, key fob access, security, AC and “ultra-fast” Internet.
Sanctuary Coworking is a beautiful, near downtown, converted church with stained glass windows and so much more. It is one of the largest coworking spaces in Kingston, as far as I’m aware, and includes a ton of membership options and amenities. Some unique features they have include discounts at local stores like The Grocery Basket and CrossFit Queen Street, free monthly yoga classes on site, IT support from Response IT and tons of workshops.
They have virtual memberships starting at $75 per month which provides just a mailing address, or for $100 per month you also get member pricing on meeting rooms and event spaces, reception services, and access to the member workshops and events.
Above that they have desk rental starting at $175 per month which is a jump desk, meaning you don’t have a permanent space to call your own. You show up on weekdays between 8 AM and 5 PM to use one of the available desks. You do get the features of the virtual membership as well with a mailing address, reception and access to workshops, but you also get complimentary coffee (not something I’d use) and access to their high-speed Internet.
Above that, you have the $215 per month dedicated desk plan which makes sure you always have a space to call your own and you can access it and every option more pricey than this whenever you want, 24/7. Outside of that extended access, they don’t make it sound too different from the travelling coworker plan with the jump desk as it doesn’t sound like you can leave your monitors, peripherals and paperwork there.
Then you get into the real office space. A small, all-inclusive, secure, fully furnished space in a cubical farm starts at $350 per month and goes to as high as $585 per month based on the size of the space. It includes 4 meeting room hours per month, one half day event space booking per year, 100 printed black and white sheets per month, cleaning services and the previously mentioned amenities and services.
Next, we have a private office with all four walls and that starts at $600 per month and goes as high as $1000 per month. This is for a single person and provides all the same things as the previous tier with added privacy.
Lastly, we have the team office space which starts at only $750 per month and goes as high as $2750 per month. It is basically just larger offices but all other features stay the same. I feel like if you were able to rent office space in Kingston, this pricing would be fairly competitive when adding in reception, cleaning and other perks that Sanctuary Coworking has to offer.
I should note that at the time of this post, Sanctuary Coworking has the least expensive space at each tier other than the private office space which goes to Fractal Workspace.
Not too far up the road, a little further from downtown is VentureClub, a coworking space that really wants to be trendy and appeal to a younger crowd. It has a Member lounge area with some games and free beverages, including beer, a photoshoot room with a backdrop, private phone booths, and a swing in the main entry area.
They have a virtual membership at $100 per month that includes a mailbox and reception services, but to increase the value, they also include one full day pass per month to use a jump desk, four hours of meeting room use, and event access, unlike Sanctuary Coworking. So while they have the same price, it feels like the extra features here increase VentureClubs value for this plan level.
Having a desk you can use is $275 per month, a full $100 per month more than Sanctuary Coworking’s option, and $60 per month more than their personal desk option which I would say is comparable. I should also note that the access at VentureClub is one hour less than Sanctuary each day with an opening time of 9:00 AM instead of 8:00 AM.
The personal desk option in a shared office is $450 per month. It allows you to leave your stuff in place, so if you are a multi-monitor user like myself, or you don’t want to carry a keyboard, mouse and headphones back and forth between home and the coworking space, this is a great option for you. I should note that it is $100 per month more than a similar option at Sanctuary Coworking, but I am sure you’ll compensate for that with the free beer, right? I do like that they include sit/stand desks at this plan level though, as that’s a nice feature. You also get 24/7 access to the location at this point, so if you are a late night worker, or an early bird, this plan and the ones more expensive than this will provide you with the ability to use the space whenever you fancy.
They also have another shared office option at $550 per month, I don’t see much of a difference here, except that they will limit the number of people in the space to no more than four, so it is more likely to be quiet, if that’s what you need to do your best work. You also get a couple more hours of free meeting room usage per month.
Lastly, we jump up to the big leagues with a $1000 per month private office. It includes a window and a lockable door. It allows you to have priority meeting room bookings but doesn’t speak to how many people the office can have. It seems like it is for the remote executive that needs a private office and not a startup space for a small team. So if you are looking for team options, you’ll either have to purchase multiple plans, make a deal with the company or look elsewhere. I should note that this plan comes with twenty hours of meeting room usage, which is five times the amount you receive from Sanctuary Coworking for a similar plan, but theirs starts at as little as $600 per month and goes as high as $1000 per month.
Next month, we have a new coworking space being opened in Kingston, and while it isn’t downtown, it has a few people very interested, especially because being outside of the downtown core means free parking! I also like their location as they are close to food options, a gym, and more. The plaza area they have purchased space in is super underrated in my opinion.
They seem to be focused on two set plans, a flex package for as low as $19 per day and private offices for as low as $499 per month. If you can get a private office for under $500 per month, that’s the lowest option of any of the coworking spaces, but how does it stack up otherwise and what’s a flex package?
It sounds like the flex plan is just a jump desk service and you can get in for $19 for the day, but if you buy an unlimited package, you can gain 24/7 access for under $10 per day, so I’m not sure why they aren’t promoting that in their marketing. Their plans page for flex packages seem very focused on one, four, eight, twelve, or unlimited days per month. With more focus on those smaller plans, it feels like they have an expectation that most coworking people don’t need a desk every day.
What about the office space? Well, they come with sit and stand desks and all of the other office amenities you’d expect. They have high-speed Internet, reception, and more. They highlight that they have sound insulated walls for their private offices, which is nice.
Other things they highlight as amenities are that they have a work patio, podcast studio and something called snap cab privacy pods, which are basically phone booths.
What do I think of Fractal? I have no idea what to think. Their website doesn’t give me a good sense of the space, the stock video on their homepage is horrible, it is difficult to figure out what features you get if you sign up, or even all of the pricing options available.
I think I read that they launch March 22, so they have a month to sort some of this out if they really want to be taken seriously as an option in my mind.
For example, nothing except for a custom office build should be listed as pricing on request.