News/Blog

5 Questions with Mark Hemmeter, founder and CEO of Office Evolution



5 Questions with Mark Hemmeter, founder and CEO of Office Evolution

Mark Hemmeter grew up in Hawaii in a family entrenched in the real estate business and earned a degree from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder.

In 2003, he founded Office Evolution, a provider of shared and private working space in Boulder.

“I used to work from home,” Hemmeter said.

But it became increasingly difficult with his three little daughters around, making him look for a shared office space. After being a customer of a local coworking space for two years, he decided to get into the same business using $300,000 of his own money.

Over the years Office Evolution evolved into a much larger entity providing private offices, virtual office solutions, and conference rooms. By 2013, Hemmeter began franchising the Office Evolution concept.

It was about bringing an entrepreneurial perspective to the private office space market, he said. “Our efforts have resulted in a growing number of business centers located in key metro areas throughout the United States.”

There are an estimated 5,000 coworking locations in the country, he said. The business continues to grow very quickly, Hemmeter said. We are actively acquiring mom and pop coworking locations. “It’s been a very tight real estate market.”

We recently talked with Hemmeter to learn more about his business, which now is headquartered in Louisville.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What is the reason behind the popularity of coworking spaces?

Hemmeter: It’s a reflection of a shift in the way we work today. A large number of people choose to work remotely, and many of them believe in the concept of shared

services. Think of cloud computing, Uber and Airbnb. It’s a big trend. We are a big part of it.

You started in Boulder but moved your headquarters to Louisville a few years ago. Why?

Hemmeter: Yes, we started in Boulder at 4845 Pearl East Circle in 2003. The original 3,000-square-foot facility has grown to 7,500 square feet. We continue to lease the Boulder location. It’s one of the eight locations operated by the company. The other 56 locations are franchised. We recently signed a franchise development deal in Colorado Springs, which will become our 65th location, and 14th in Colorado.

We plan to have 75 locations by the end of 2019.

As we grew our business, it became progressively expensive to have a corporate presence in Boulder. It was cheaper to relocate our headquarters to Louisville, which we did in 2015. The move helped us recruit and retain talent. Office Evolution has 25 corporate employees. I have to admit Boulder’s entrepreneurial spirit has carried us through.

What’s the typical size of your coworking space?

Hemmeter: We are now typically building facilities that range from 8,000 square feet to 12,000 square feet. The idea is to have 40 to 50 private offices.

Who are your franchisees? How do you help them?

Hemmeter: Many of our franchisees are corporate executives, a little bit older, who are looking to start a business that can provide recurring income. Often they are close to retirement, and looking at the next phase in their lives. They are looking to run a business that is family friendly, and allows them to work typically from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. They don’t want to run a restaurant, for example. They want to have a life beyond business.

The franchising cost ranges from $300,000 to $600,000. We want our potential franchisees to have business smarts, an understanding of sales and marketing, and a passion for what we are doing.

We help our franchisees find a location and help them develop it. We also provide digital marketing support. We customize their websites and run email campaigns for them. This business potentially can help them earn more than $100,000 a year.

What’s the secret of your success?

Hemmeter: We focus on the culture of relationship building. A Hawaiian word, “Ohana” (which means family and can be used to describe a group of people fighting for the same purpose) best describes our core values: That we’re all in this together. Our clients are business owners, our franchisees are business owners. We are a family of business owners helping each other grow.

If you have happy customers, business is always going to thrive.

 




Inquire to Own an Office Evolution

Do you meet the financial requirements?*

  Yes, I have $1,000,000 in Net Worth
  Yes, I have $300,000 in Investable Capital

How did you hear about Office Evolution?*

*Required field