Working as a freelancer has plenty of benefits; no commuting, relaxed dress code and access to a fully-functioning kitchen. However, when it comes to organising certain aspects like face-to-face meetings or round-table discussions, you might not always be willing to open your home, or you might not be in the best location to host. But how do you host a meeting without costing you this month’s food money or worse?
Saving Money on Meeting Spaces
Sometimes you can’t go it alone or your business has reached a point of stagnation and you need to explore some ideas to develop and grow. If you were meeting with a business, you can usually get away with using their meeting rooms, i.e. banks, estate agents, etc. If you were meeting with another freelancer or small business however and a public space won’t do, it’s time to think about hiring private meeting space.
Choosing a Location
There’s no lie that some cities are more expensive than others, usually those with bustling business hubs, excellent transport options and a high professional population, like London, Edinburgh and Brighton. While picking a location near to where you and your intended meet-up partner is ideal, sometimes you’ll need to compromise with somewhere between you both.
Some cities that offer great qualities and plenty to do as well as offering more cost-effective meeting spaces include Birmingham, Leeds and Peterborough.
Comparing the Cost of Travel and Location
Should you and your meet-up partners live at opposite ends of the country, you’ll have to consider the cost of travel and whether it’s worth one of you travelling to the other or if more benefit is available from meeting up somewhere between. Organising a meeting several months in advance means you can save with advance train and coach fares but unfortunately doesn’t save on the cost of petrol. If you do drive down to the meeting point, you’ll also need to factor in any toll and parking fees, especially if staying overnight.
Finding a Space to Suit Your Requirements
Make a list of the things you hope to achieve in your meeting and then the equipment you will need to get the tasks done to the best of your ability. For example;
- Writing equipment
- Whiteboard and pens
- Audio recorder
- Internet access
- Printer access
Personal equipment such as laptops and tablets, you’ll need to bring yourself but there are plenty of meeting space options that provide access to business extras and offer internet connectivity included in the room hire rate. This can save a lot when considering whether to hire in equipment to a space.
For example, look here for a meeting room option that includes complimentary WiFi, an interactive TV, projector and unlimited tea, coffee and water from £30 an hour. When compared to a space that doesn’t provide these options, anticipated rates can skyrocket to anything from £100 an hour all included.
Digital Conference Options
Getting together is great and can help forge better relationships between professionals, however, sometimes it’s not possible, especially if you need to organise something within time restrictions. Digital conference options are a much cheaper option for when just a video call and screen share will do and there are some applications that offer connections for up to 10 individuals for free.
The only downside to a digital conference option is gremlins in the system causing technical difficulties, whether this is a poor internet connection, slow-running equipment or simply the software continually crashing. This can cause a lot of frustration and set you back on time. Even more so if you are trying to connect with someone internationally and have to compromise on meeting times to accommodate time differences.
Saving money when organising a meeting is most certainly possible for the well-prepared individual, but it does require plenty of forward planning and weighing up the costs of travel and extras. The upsides, of course, include the opportunity to explore some new and interesting places and meet up with some informative professionals who could take your business to the next level!