Opening an office in Bangkok is more challenging than you think. You’re presented with hundreds of potential places to rent from. Somehow, you must narrow down those choices to one. And after you sign the contract you’re left with the joys of setting up phones lines and Internet connections.
You have to buy furniture and decorate your office. You have to hire maids and scrap together decent kitchenware. And you even have to provide your staff with water and coffee. And let’s not forget the responsibility of keeping the place in order, which leads to more costs and the need for greater paperwork storage.
This is why Karsten decided to move his company to use a serviced office from Regus in early 2015. And since that time, administrative works lessened. Monthly bills for electric, internet, phone, water, and maid vanished. Expenses for coffee, water, tissue paper, and dish washing liquid disappeared.
We didn’t have to fix water leaks in restrooms or replace security door batteries. We didn’t lose money selling unused furniture at cheap prices as well. We now only have to pay for serviced office fees. And our provider deducts them from our credit card.
Because of the benefits, it’s no wonder why companies, both big and small, are moving into serviced offices. But it’s not a new business in Thailand, especially Bangkok. Over 20 serviced offices are available from the Sukhumvit business area to the outskirts Bangkok such as Bang Na.
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- 1 What Do Serviced Offices Give You?
- 2 Finding Serviced Offices
- 3 Prices
- 4 Providers
- 5 Other Solutions
- 6 Virtual Offices
- 7 Registering Companies with Serviced Offices
What Do Serviced Offices Give You?
Serviced offices include everything you need to do business: work stations, internet, telephone, printers, maids, accounting services, and even legal advice. You can sign a contract today and start working tomorrow.
Office tables, chairs, and file cabinets are three pieces of furniture provided in serviced offices. If you need more, serviced offices might give you free furniture. Or they might charge you. You can bring your own furniture as well.
Along with private offices, serviced offices also offer shared workspaces and lounges, where you can work with power and internet.
Large serviced offices including Regus might offer member cards allowing you to use their shared workspaces at their branches all over the world.
Your serviced office package might give you free access to meeting rooms equipped with audio and visual equipment. But you’re limited to a certain number of hours per month. Or you’ll need to pay for rooms at member prices. Booking is required in advance.
Receptionists handle mail services. They can send mail or faxes to your room. Some can even scan and send them to your email. For important documents, like those from the Revenue Department, you might need to pick them up yourself for security reasons. Receptionists can also deliver mail for small fees.
Serviced offices also offer phone services. They can take messages and forward calls. Some can answer specific questions from customers. But this costs extra.
Drinking water, coffee, tea, microwave, refrigerator, kitchenware, daily cleaning, and newspaper are provided.
You can get pay-as-you-use services not mentioned above. This ranges from printing, scanning, and messenger services, to IT support, help desk, and even computer server rentals. These serviced offices can be all-in-one solutions for your administrative needs. This includes payroll management, accounting tasks, and even legal advise service.
Serviced offices let you control your budget. Your monthly fees cover everything. When you rent serviced offices your overhead and utility costs drop and administrative work lessens.
And with serviced offices, you don’t need to sign long contracts and make investments. It’s hard to find standard offices to rent for less than a year. With serviced offices, you can find contracts less than six months long. Some serviced offices will let you rent for a month or days. This makes it easy to move in and out without thinking about how to move furniture or sell them at low rates.
In addition, Serviced offices tend to be in great locations with a few minutes away from the MRT and BTS.
Meeting new people is an indirect benefit of serviced offices. These people could turn out to be future business partners. Or maybe strangers in co-working areas can give you unexpected new business ideas.
The first limitation in a serviced office is space. You can barely walk through offices packed with tables, chairs, and file cabinets. There are no private rooms for managers unless you buy costly packages. And you may need to use an additional service for storing documents.
The second limitation is privacy. Most serviced offices in Thailand divide their rooms by glass instead of cement. And they might not allow you stick posters or film on walls. This lets people see everything your company does. You’ll need to be extra careful while handling confidential data.
The third limitation is about the growth of your business. Service office providers limit numbers of available workstations. It’s hard to find rooms with more than eight workstations. You have no choice but to move if you want to increase your firm’s size.
Finding Serviced Offices
Serviced offices in Bangkok are mostly inside office buildings near the MRT or BTS around Sukhumvit, Sathorn, and Ratchada. Although there are some available in Lad Prao, Wongwian Yai, and Bang Na, choices are still limited. A quick Google search shows there are over thirty providers in Bangkok. And numbers are growing.
Serviced offices vary in size depending on the building. And providers tend to rent whole floors, or more, and make separate rooms. Common packages are for three to six people. Regus is one of a few providers that offer a small serviced offices with one workstation. However, rooms with over seven workstations are hard to come by.
If you want to compare serviced offices, you’ll have to do it yourself. Unlike renting an apartment, there aren’t any comparison sites to compare prices, packages, and available rooms. Also, this info is unlikely to appear even on serviced office providers websites. You need to contact them directly and ask for prices and packages.
Serviced office providers might not mention some extra cost such as kitchen amenities, internet, key cards, and company signage board until the contract is signed. A short visit is necessary. Make sure to ask about set-up payments, package inclusions and exclusions, more costs, operating hours, and any other needs for your business.
Also, check with companies that do business inside the serviced office. They can give you rough ideas of how good the serviced office is.
Serviced offices tend to cost more than standard offices, especially for large companies. Serviced office prices depend on various factors including size, number of available workstations, and location.
Serviced office prices normally start around 10,000 THB per month. This will get you a ten square meter room with one workstation and file cabinet. You can find cheaper packages. But they come with smaller rooms or shared spaces. For rooms with three workstations, price should be around 32,000 THB per month.
On average, you’ll pay around 250 THB per person, per day for serviced offices in normal locations and buildings, and 350 THB per person, per day for better locations and buildings. For the luxurious building and very convenient locations, you might need to pay 450 THB per person, per day.
But overall, serviced office providers give different prices, even within the same area. In Asoke, for example, a serviced office with three workstations from Regus in Exchange Tower Building costs around 27,000 THB a month. A serviced office with four workstations from Corporate Serviced Office in Glas Haus building costs about 33,000 THB a month. However, it costs only around 20,000 THB a month at Kliquedesk for a similar size room. But you need to walk a further ten minutes from MRT Sukhumvit.
Building location is more than how close it is from the BTS, MRT, or business districts. It’s also about office buildings themselves. If serviced office locations are in new and luxurious office buildings, prices will be higher than being in an old building despite being in the same location. And buildings with 24-hours access will cost more.
Price in each location also differs even with the same serviced office provider. Glowfish, for example, starts at 20,000 THB a month at Asoke Tower. But the number increases to 29,000 THB a month in Siam Square for a similar size room with one to two workstations.
Even within the same building, prices will vary depending on views, space, and noise levels.
|1 work station shared office||8,000|
|1 work station private office||11,000|
|3 work stations private office||32,000|
|6 work stations private office||60,000|
|8 work stations private office||80,000|
*These prices are estimates. Serviced office prices vary. You may find offices cheaper or more expensive.
Check what’s included in serviced office packages. Some packages may be cheaper than others. But they don’t include internet, phone, and coffee. While other packages include everything in one price.
Most serviced office providers promotions for 12-month contracts. Promos can be discounts or free services for the first month of contracts. If you want to end your serviced office contract, send written notification three months before the agreement ends.
Wire transfers and credit cards are common payment methods. Big serviced office providers like Regus can even deduct a 3% withhold-tax (since it’s considered a service not rent) automatically from credit card payments. Withholding tax certificates are still necessary though.
Thailand has seen a huge influx of serviced offices over the years and as providers try to find ways to differentiate themselves from the competition, we have seen serviced offices take on lives of their own. You can find everything from corporate serviced offices to vibrant and inspiring workspaces.
Depending on your needs, there is a variety of providers to choose from. Regus has the most workspace locations in the industry, with 3,000 locations in 120 locations around the world, they have a good support team, work on par international standards, and hold regular networking events.
Another serviced office provider you can look at is Spaces. They are relatively new in Thailand, but they offer a community-focused creative work environment and host lots of events. They even have a location directly above the office of Thailand’s Board of Investment and One-Stop Service Center for visas and work permits, which is great if your company is promoted by the BOI.
Other major players in the local serviced office space include Hubba, Glowfish, and WeWork. Below are some of the most notable providers and what they are known for:
- Regus: largest global network of workspaces
- Spaces: community-focused creative work environments
- JustCo: modernized workspaces
- WeWork: beautiful, collaborative workspaces
- Glowfish: boutique-type workspaces
- The Work Loft: warm and homey multi-purpose co-working space
- Hubba: Startup-focused co-working space
- The Hive: creative, communal workspaces
- Launchpad: creative and community driven environment
Price Per Location
Note that each serviced office provider offers different starting packages, which directly affects their starting prices. Some provide a shared space, while others only have a starting package for a private room with 3 workstations.
For our company, we are using a serviced office from Regus. It’s not the cheapest option out there. But after talking to a different providers, it’s the one that matches our need the most.
|Corporate Serviced Offices||Glas Haus Building||7,500 THB|
|CROSSCOOP Bangkok||Jasmine City Building||10,000 THB|
|Linuxx Serviced Office||Serm-Mit Tower||15,000 THB|
|Linuxx Serviced Office||Emporium Tower||15,000 THB|
|Antares Serviced Office||RSU Tower||19,000 THB|
|IW Serviced Office||Two Pacific Place Building||20,000 THB|
|Glowfish||Asok Tower||20,000 THB|
|Regus||Bangkok Bhiraj Tower||23,000 THB|
|Regus||Bangkok Exchange Tower||26,690 THB|
|The Right Office||Sathorn Thani I Building||10,000 THB|
|The Office Sathorn||Sathorn Nakorn Tower||15,000 THB|
|Linuxx Serviced Office||Asia Centre Building||25,000 THB|
|IW Serviced Office||Sathorn Thani Building||28,000 THB|
|Regus||Bangkok Chartered Square||30,390 THB|
|Regus||Bangkok Sathorn Square||33,890 THB|
|CEO SUITE||Athenee Tower||10,000 THB|
|Regus||CRC Tower||20,390 THB|
|Glowfish||Siam Square Tower||29,000 THB|
|Regus||Bangkok Siam Tower||34,690 THB|
|Maven Mesh||Lad Phrao 30||9,900 THB|
|Promphan||Promphan Building||15,000 THB|
|Comet Office||Wonwian Yai||9,000 THB|
|ATa Serviced Offices||Thosapol Land Building 4||6,500 THB|
|NNP Serviced Offices||NNP Serviced Offices||10,000 THB|
Like renting an apartment, initial payment includes two-months deposit, service fees for the first month, and office set up fees. You should expect to get the deposit back unless you break something.
Office set up fees get you keys, access cards to both office building and serviced office, and everything related to moving in. It’s a one-time payment of 2,000 – 3,000 THB.
You may have to pay for company signs in front of offices (one-time payment) or at office building directories. You need to pay the latter every month.
If you’d like to register companies with serviced office addresses, you must get a letter of consent. It’s an important document confirming the office building allows you to use their building as an office. It costs 2,000 – 3,000 THB for two sets of letter: one set for the Department of Business Development and another set for the Revenue Department.
Along with service fees, you need to pay additional costs every month. This varies between serviced office providers. Some serviced office packages include everything. Others don’t.
The first common extra cost is for kitchen amenities such as drinking water, coffee, tea, and kitchenware. Average costs are based on the number of employees you have times 1,000 THB.
You may also need to pay every month for internet and phone service. Some packages include both in one bundle, without giving an opportunity to pay for internet alone. This should cost an extra 1–2,000 THB every month.
There are also costs for key cards for security doors, parking lot, IT support, and pay-as-you-use services. They tend to cost more than what you’d pay in normal offices. For these services, you’ll pay by the hour, or you’ll pay fixed prices. Some service providers add 20% service fees to actual costs. Convenience comes with a price.
In case meeting rooms in serviced offices are unavailable, over 30 StarBucks branches in Bangkok have meeting rooms. Rooms are suitable for six to twelve people for five hours max. You can book rooms one week ahead by calling. But you might need to confirm in person. To qualify for rooms, your party must reach the minimum number of people and order the minimum number of food and drinks.
But Starbucks’s meeting rooms may not come with sound and video equipment or high-speed Internet. Also, the room tends to have glass walls, which won’t be of help if you plan to hold confidential meetings.
This list of Bangkok Starbucks branches offer meeting rooms:
- Baan Silom Tel. 084–4387355
- Jasmine City Tel. 081–7557365
- UBC ll Tel. 092–2624305
- SOHO Tel. 081–9388131
- The Walk Kaset Nawamintra Tel. 081–8702373
- Im Park Sam Yan Tel. 092–2464190
- The Mall 3 Ramkhamhaeng Tel. 084–7517625
- The Paseo Park Kanchanaphisek Tel. 061–4108966
- Amorini Tel. 02–9197080
- The Street Tel. 062–5901123
- Food Villa Ratchapruek Tel. 061–4192837
- The Jas Wang Hin Tel. 092–2601403
- Bee Hive Tel. 061–3867697
- Suanplern Market (Drive Thru) Tel. 061–4172004
- Fast Fac Tel. 092–2834319
- The JAS Ramintra (Drive Thru) Tel. 098–2573206
- Aoto Mall Navanakorn Tel. 098–2769130
- Baan Yai, Wangnoi Tel. 062–6029490
- The X Place (Drive Thru) Tel. 062–5931377
- Victoria Garden Tel. 098–2514518
- V Market Lat Krabang Tel. 061–4210194
- The Paseo Mall Ladkrabang Tel. 092–2614380
- Vanilla Moon Tel. 092–2464183
- The Crystal Ratchapruek Tel. 084–4387438
- Jas Urban Srinakarin Tel. 062–5985157
- Ease Park Tel. 062–5985223
- SF Chaengwattana Tel. 084–4387376
- All Seasons Place 2 Tel. 062–5985640
- At United Bangna Tel. 062–6010570
- Central EastVille-Think spaze Tel. 063–2262117
- The Scene Town in Town Tel. 084–7517727
- Index Living Mall Rama 2 Tel. 061–4083971
Meeting rooms are also available at many co-working spaces throughout Bangkok. Prices start at 300 to 400 THB per hour. They’re more expensive but come with better facilities and provide greater privacy.
If the serviced office you rent charges for phone handling service, you can save money by setting up a landline phone number in your condo or apartment. Have calls forwarded automatically to your mobile phone.
TOT mainly manages landline phones in Thailand. They charge small fees for the call forwarding service. You can set up the service with a few dials after TOT installs the landline. But this method is only available in buildings that allow landline phone installations.
One weak point of using serviced offices is lack of space, not just for workers but documents too. Working in Thailand calls for paperwork. Some, such as accounting documents, need ample space. And you need to keep them safe and sound for many years. It’ll be a big mess if the Revenue Department comes to inspect your business and you’ve lost important documents.
Document storage providers can help. We use DataSafe. They store documents at Cha Cheng Sao. If we need to send or receive documents, they can do it in one day. Also, DataSafe also has document breakage services. They can destroy document boxes whenever you’re finished with them. This is a good choice, especially for accounting documents you must keep for ten years.
Most serviced offices offer virtual office packages. This is when companies can register with the Department of Business Development using their serviced office address. Average rates are 2,000 – 3,000 THB per month with discounts for 6- or 12-month contracts.
Cheaper packages may let you to use the business address. But not for business registration with the Department of Business Development.
Virtual office packages come with mail and call handling services. But they might charge you extra for every piece of mail received—normally one hundred THB per piece of mail. Costly virtual office packages give you free access meeting rooms and shared workspaces.
With virtual offices, the process to register your business with the Department of Business Development is painless. But if you need to do a vat registration with the Revenue Department, I recommend a serviced office, assuming you don’t have a standard office.
Registering Companies with Serviced Offices
Department of Business Development
The first thing you need to do for setting up your business in Thailand is to register it with Department of Business Development. Required documents between companies having standard offices and serviced offices are similar. For serviced offices, you need the letter of consent issued by the office building to prove your address. This tends to cost a few thousand THB for two sets of letter, one for Department of Business Development and another for the Revenue Department.
Unless company owners are present while registering companies at the Department of Business Development, a lawyer needs to certify documents. So it’s easier to hire a legal firm who can handle everything for a few thousand THB.
After registering your company with the Department of Business Development, they’ll give you a business registration. This registration is an important document needed by all organizations, both private and government. And it’s necessary to have when you deal with them.
If your firm has to pay VAT, you must register with the Revenue Department. They’re more strict than the Department of Business Development. And they need more documents to prove your address. With a letter of consent, the Revenue Department would like to see pictures of your office building, company signboard, and desks. And they tend to send officers to inspect your business every year.
Revenue Department officers tend to be familiar with companies using serviced offices. They can point out exactly which documents you need, and how to fill out forms. But different officers may ask for different documents. It might take a few visits to finish everything.
Unlike the Department of Business Development, if business owners are unable to do vat registrations, they can issue power of attorney to someone else instead.
Register your company with the Department of Business Development and the Revenue Department. The procedure to register with other organizations—including the BOI and the Social Security Office—between companies with standard offices and serviced offices is not different. Needed documents and the procedures are similar.