Sleuths discover a new way to do business

By Nekiesha Reid Business reporter

Wednesday, September 12, 2012    

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Even Sam Spade might find the $500,000 cost of furniture and equipment for a new three-person office daunting. And that's before the rent.

But the fictional detective played by Humphrey Bogart might be pleasantly surprised by the $49,000 a month, inclusive of utilities, that Harcon Business and Investigation Services Ltd pays.

The private eyes uncovered the deal with The Business District, the first company in Jamaica to offer ready-made office space.

"Setting up was easy because space was available almost immediately," said Harcon's operations manager, Claudette Stewart.

The company - a branch office of a Trinidad and Tobago firm - uses contracted personnel, so its space needs vary, Stewart said.

As a long-term tenant at the Old Hope Road premises, Harcon also has access to administrative services.

When entertaining large groups, whether they be clients or suspects, the company is able to use the available meeting rooms, paying per-hour.

Since opening its doors in December, The Business District has attracted 70 clients, most of which wanted to rent a business address, a virtual office, or short-term desk space, said its managing director, Maria Jones.

The virtual office package provides the business owner with an office address, a unique telephone number and a virtual administrative assistant.

At $12,000 per month, this is the perfect solution for Christopher Bedward's software company, Apps Design Jamaica.

"The cost isn't static because it depends on the number of phone calls and if I rent office space short-term, but it saves me a lot of overhead costs in terms of utilities and human resources," Bedward said.

Since his virtual package ensures all the company's administrative needs are met, he is able to stick to essential employees - two full-time programmers and two working on a contract basis.

The Business District concept is popular abroad, said Jones, but people in Jamaica don't always know about it. "What we're doing is unique," she said.

To get more clients, Jones is introducing the business to different groups in stages.

Next week, she expects to outline her services to the Development Bank of Jamaica, Exim Bank Jamaica and Jamaica Trade and Invest.

"When people go to these institutions, it would be nice for them to be able to tell those people about us and what we provide," she said.





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