Discovering the Optimal Office Space for Your Business in Ho Chi Minh City: 6 Steps

Vietnam has been on a remarkable rise in the past decade, firmly establishing itself as a star in Asia's burgeoning economy. Despite the global economic impact of the pandemic, the Southeast Asian country has impressively been one of the few nations that reported a consistent GDP growth. Moreover, its attractive business climate has seen several high-profile retail companies, such as Nike and Uniqlo, investing in the country.

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6 Steps to Finding the Right Office Space in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, the capital and largest city in Vietnam with a dynamic business environment, is the ideal place to establish businesses. However, with 19 districts in the city’s urban area, finding the right office space could be challenging. Whether you are a startup or a multinational corporation, this article will guide you through six simple steps in finding the perfect workspace in Ho Chi Minh City.

1. Determine Your Office Space Needs

The first step in finding the perfect office is understanding your office space needs. From the size of the space, to the layout of the office and amenities, each business has its own unique requirements.

For instance, if you’re an entrepreneur working individually, you may not need a big office, but the priority would be a prime location close to your potential clients, as well as a furnished office that is ready to move in, in order to save time and money in setting it up. Yet, if you represent a large company, the size and layout of the space would matter more. Defining your needs will definitely help narrow down your search.

2. Choose the Right Office Type

The two common types of office spaces in Ho Chi Minh City are traditional offices and flexible workspaces. Here’s an overview and the pros and cons of each workspace type.

Traditional office

Traditional offices are the most common office type, and they are suitable for established businesses that need a permanent space. They offer long-term leases, which can go up to several years, and the space is usually unfurnished or come with minimal furnishing, allowing you to fully customize it such as painting the wall with your brand colours, building your own privacy and security facilities, etc.

While traditional offices give businesses a permanent presence in the city and the ability to fit out the space from scratch, they should also consider the high cost, long-term commitment and the lack of flexibility associated with it. The business world nowadays is constantly changing, and it is risky to commit an extended lease. The cost of branding the space, purchasing office furniture and equipment before moving in, and managing and maintaining the office space can add up to a significant amount. Moreover, scaling up or down can be difficult in a traditional office setting, and the commercial real estate market in Ho Chi Minh City is highly competitive.

Flexible workspace

Flexible workspaces, such as serviced offices and coworking spaces, cater to startups, freelancers, and businesses that need flexibility. The lease terms are usually short-term, ranging from daily to monthly or even yearly. The workspaces are fully furnished and equipped with all the necessary office amenities, such as reception, kitchen and meeting rooms, making it easy for renters to move in immediately.

In addition, serviced offices offer a dedicated office space for businesses that require privacy while sharing other facilities to save cost. Flexible workspaces also provide companies with a prestigious address in central locations at a fraction of the cost. Their ability to accommodate scaling needs is also a major advantage, especially for startups. For those who desire more individuality and privacy, flexible workspace providers can tailor to specific requirements, such as dedicated server co-location and building the company’s own reception and pantry.

3. Set a Budget

Setting a realistic budget for your office space is important to ensure that you can afford all the expenses throughout the lease. Businesses should consider rental costs, additional expenses such as utilities and maintenance, staffing plans in the next few years, and leave room for any impromptu expenses. While it may be tempting to opt for a high-end office space, setting a realistic budget that takes into account all expenses can help businesses avoid overspending and ensure they can comfortably commit to the lease and afford their office space.

4. Identify Potential Locations in Ho Chi Minh City

6 Steps to Finding the Right Office Space in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City has 19 districts in the inner city urban area, and the central business districts (CBDs) lies among District 1, 2,3 and 7, each with its unique features. At the heart of the metropolis, District 1 is the primary commercial hub and the most popular location for office spaces. The area is home to historic landmarks, such as the Independence Palace and the Notre Dame Cathedral, and iconic commercial buildings, such as Bitexco Financial Tower and Vincom Centre, where you can rent with Compass Offices, Vincom Centre and Saigon Centre. District 1 also houses most government offices and bureaus, and has a ton of restaurants and bars for entertainment.

District 2, undergoing significant redevelopment by the government, is another popular CBD. Its proximity to District 1 and the abundance of green spaces attract a large community of expats, particularly in the upscale apartments. Across the Phu My Bridge, District 7 is a newer, modern district home to multinational corporations and industrial companies. It offers a range of high-end office spaces, shopping centres, and entertainment facilities, making it a popular living area among expats.

District 3, on the other hand, is known for its cultural heritage and architecture, with ancient villas residing among modern buildings. This hipsters area has a more traditional Vietnamese atmosphere, with narrow streets and French colonial architecture, and plenty of coffee shops and boutique shops to explore. All these CBDs are conveniently accessed via public transportation, making them ideal places for businesses to establish their presence.

5. Arrange Visits

The next step after research would be to physically visit the shortlisted office spaces, whether it is a traditional or flexible workspace. A visit can provide a better understanding of the workspace and its surroundings, including the size and layout of the office, lighting, and ambiance, which cannot be fully assessed through pictures. It is also a great opportunity to meet with the landlord or property manager to discuss the lease and ask any questions. Taking a walk around the neighborhood to see the accessibility and amenities in the area can also help in making an informed decision, and ensuring that the chosen workspace meets the business’s needs and expectations.

6. Negotiate Lease Terms and Finalize the Agreement

6 Steps to Finding the Right Office Space in Ho Chi Minh City

Lease negotiation is a crucial part of securing your office space. During negotiation with landlords or property managers, businesses should conduct thorough research on rental rates in the area and have a clear understanding of their budget and requirements. While it is important to have a solid understanding of lease duration, renewal options, and specific requirements, companies should also read through the terms and conditions of the lease and ask any questions that may arise. Always be clear and professional when communicating and ensure the requests align with the landlord’s interests, and prepare a backup plan in case negotiations fall through.

Conclusion

By following these six steps, you should be able to understand your office space needs, from office type, budget to locations, then arrange visits and negotiate to secure the perfect workspace in Ho Chi Minh City. It is also recommended to consult with professionals in the field, such as real estate agents or office space providers, who can provide valuable insights and guidance along the way. Ultimately, choosing the right office space can have a significant impact on your business’s success, so it is crucial to take the time to make the right decision.

Joan Wong