What's The Going Rent for a Table In An Empty Coffee Shop?

July 16, 2011

For a change of scenery, I’ve been spending one or two days a week working from coffeeshops rather than my home office. I don’t live in a large city, so the coffeeshops around me have maybe one or two people in them when I go.

The upside is that I have a quiet, spacious work environment, and I don’t have to fight for electric outlets. The downside is that I feel a bit self-conscious about camping out for 5 to 7 hours, especially when the coffeeshop is not a chain like Starbucks, but rather privately owned.

What’s the going rent for a table in an empty coffee shop? Does the $2 I spend for my cup of black decaf really buy me a seat for the day? Thats about $0.25 per hour. If I buy a muffin, it may go up to about $0.50 per hour. I rarely buy lunch. Part of me wants to just chat with the owner and say, “Look, I’ll give you $20 a week if you let me sit here” so that I can work with a clear conscience.

I’ve also thought about trying to organize weekly informal co-working events; clear my conscience by bringing in some extra business. And if everybody who shows up turns out to be cheap like me, buying $2 coffee and that’s it, well, at least I won’t be the only one camping out.

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