Don’t Get Nickeled and Dimed by Your Executive Suite

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Regus is in the executive suite business. I’m sure you’ve heard of this company. It spans the globe with office spaces. It has 2,000 office centers in 750 cities and 100 countries. It’s big.

Regus is ready for you, regardless of whether you need an office in Kansas City or Kathmandu. It’s kind of amazing. It has systems for everything and, by and large, it pulls it all off day after day. I’m a big fan.

Getting Caught Up in the Minutiae

However, for a long time, Regus did drive me a little crazy. It annoyed me.

It has a way of nickel and diming you for everything. It charges for copies and scans and mailing things, plus it charges extra for phone lines and Internet connections and a bunch of other small things like drink fees. The little charges add up. While 25 cents seems trivial for a photocopy, your bill gets really big when you copy a bunch of stuff, and then it charges you an administrative fee for sending those copies by FedEx. Of course, you’re also charged for the FedEx fee. Trivial gets expensive, fast.

Now, I don’t mean to pick on Regus. It’s no different from its competitors. All the executive suite providers charge for the services and products they provide. It’s standard operating procedure. It used to drive me to the edge of sanity when I’d get those monthly bills.

It doesn’t bother me anymore.

At some point, I realized I was letting these small charges make me crazy. In fact, the tiny charges were killing our relationship in a death by a thousand paper cuts. I found myself more and more annoyed at Regus and contemplating other office space options. Regus and I were having a fight, and Regus didn’t even know about it since it took place entirely in my head.

I didn’t want to be annoyed with Regus. I really like its service. Most importantly, I like the economics of sharing a receptionist. In the grand scheme of things, providing a receptionist is more expensive than rent for most small offices. Getting that desk covered every day is complicated and expensive. Between vacations, sick days, and bathroom breaks, it’s tricky to have someone at the desk every time a client drops in. Regus takes care of that for us.

I had to find a way to cope with Regus in order to avoid the giant hassle of managing my own front desk. While extra charges for photocopies add up, they don’t begin to compare to salary and benefits for a receptionist.

How to Stop Sweating the Small Stuff

That’s when I hit the reset button. I decided to change the Regus calculation in my head. I reoriented myself around the Regus math, and now we’re in love again (and Regus still doesn’t know).

Here’s what I did:

Regus quotes us $1,200 a month (an example) for our office space. Of course, it also provides details of all the little “extras.” I ignore the extras and simply double the rent. Now, instead of $1,200, I hear $2,400. I force myself to multiply the number by 2, and I’m careful to convince myself it never said anything other than $2,400.

As the months go by, I’m thrilled when the bill is less than $2,400. It’s like we got a discount. Somehow, Regus manages to keep our bill under the “original price.” It’s a miracle each month when the bill is less than expected.

Allowing myself to get wound up about the Regus charges was actually costing us more than the fees we were being charged. It’s not worth it for us to spend our days being agitated by vendors. We’ve got higher priorities for our attention.

Ultimately, I figured out that the Regus “extras” were annoying but not expensive. I spend a fair amount of psychological bandwidth on annoying issues that don’t cost us very much. Don’t get me started on Verizon and its billing structure: I could rant for thousands of words on that. It’s important for us to stay focused on things that are actually expensive. It’s hard to justify spending energy on the “annoying” when it comes at the cost of ignoring the “expensive” issues.

Now I’m happy with Regus. It does a great job at a great price, and we’ve worked out our differences. Regus didn’t have to change, I did.

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