At approximately 4:10 PM, Wilbur Jones entered the underground parking garage at 383 South Market Street in Culliver City. There were a handful of available parking spaces within a short walk to the elevator. A sign addressed to Building Tenants and posted at the elevator alerted Mr. Jones to the fact that parking is often tight and sometimes impossible, so tenants are forbidden from leaving cars in the garage while on business trips, etc.
The elevator took Wilbur to the ground floor where an attendant at the building security desk directed him to the Regus entrance, at Suite 150, across the lobby.
James, who was dressed in a dark suit and snappy tie, politely greeted Mr. Jones. “Hi, can I help you?”
“Yes, Hi, I would like to see about using your location to work sometimes, or to meet clients occasionally.”
“Sure, we can help you with that. My name is James” (stands up and holds out hand to shake). “Hi, James, my name is Wilbur”
“Let me give my Manager, Sam, a call and he will help you” (calls Sam). “Have a seat, he’ll be right with you. Would you like some water or coffee”
Mr. Jones replies jovially, “No thank you, but I’ll raid your candy bowl.” James chuckles, “oh, go right ahead, everyone does, that’s what it’s there for.”
Wilbur sits, waiting for Sam, for 5-7 minutes while James answers a few calls and deals with the FedEx driver. Glancing toward the end table, Wilbur notices a plastic tri-fold dispenser filled with Businessworld fliers. This is the only visible and available flier in the lobby.
Mr. Jones is greeted by Regus General Manager, Sam O’Reilly, who is dressed in a pinstriped suit, with purple tie and matching purple pocket handkerchief (his purple accessories match the light purple doors and trim of the center) “A nice touch?”, thinks Jones.
Escorted back thru the Business Lounge to Sam’s “interview room”, Wilbur notices five people working in the Lounge. 1 person in each of the 2 white oval “Pods”, and 3 people in 3 of the 8 individual faux leather chairs.
The interview room is setup with a large LCD monitor at the end of a u-shaped table and 4 chairs. (Wilbur later asked if this was a conference room that could be rented, to which Sam replied, no, it is just for him to use with prospects). On the 46” LCD screen was an internal Regus web page, displayed by the connected IBM ThinkPad, where he proceeded to enter Wilbur Jones’ name and email address, and then walk him thru some of the available solutions – as dictated by Mr. Jones needs.
Sam asked about how Wilbur works, where he works, how he sees himself using this or other Regus locations, and when he needs to find a solution. He asked if he had ever been in a Regus before, and what he knew about Regus.
Sam mentioned as he was entering Wilbur’s email address that Wilbur would be receiving an email from him, which has soft copies of fliers and pricing. And even a contract to easily sign and complete credit card information if Mr. Jones wanted to sign up. Sam stated that if Mr. Jones wanted to sign up for a different location, it was easy to select another location during the sign up process. “Regus is not a franchise, it’s a company; so we can help you wherever you need to work”.
Upon hearing of Mr. Jones needs – an occasional place to work in Culliver City, use of an Office or Meeting Room to meet with clients from time to time, and perhaps, the use of this address for mail receipt (Mr. Jones was mysteriously vague) – Sam proceeded to list a number of ways Regus could meet their needs…
The first solution offered was the Regus Businessworld card. Pointing to the Gold Card, Sam proudly explained this card would give Mr. Jones unlimited access to any of the Regus business lounges in the region for one low cost of $25/mo. Pointing to the Gold Card rate of $15/mo. Mr. Jones says, “but this says $15, why did you just say $25?”. Sam, unapologetically states, “oh, it says “From $15. You see, this is a national flier, so yes, in say, Nebraska, the price is $15, but not here in California.” “Ahh, I get it, I missed the word “From”, makes perfect sense to me now”, Wilbur admits.
Next, Sam pointed to the Platinum Card, and said, “this card adds the ability to work in an “open office” for 5 or 10 days a month, but to be honest, it really hasn’t caught on in this area, so it’s not available here.” Mr. Jones, curious about this “open office” option, presses the issue. “What do you mean by “open office”? Does that mean I would be working in the same office with several other people”. Nodding affirmatively, Mr. O’Reilly confirms Wilbur’s notion that indeed an open office is working with others in the same room. “Is that what some places refer to as, um, what’s it called, “coworking”, Mr. Jones exclaims. “Yes, coworking”, Confirms O’Reilly (his only mention of coworking). “This open desk type of working has really caught on in San Francisco. I guess they are use to being so close together up there. Everyone uses public transpiration or walks everywhere, and lives close to each other, so they don’t mind working close together either. Down here, everyone likes to drive to Starbucks, park right in front, get back in the car and drive to work.”
Sam explained that the Platinum Plus Card might be something that would benefit Mr. Jones. He would have unlimited use of the lounges, PLUS 5 or 10 days in a Private Office to meet with clients. Sam mentioned that this card starts at $249/mo. (even tho the flier says “From $99” (probably in Nebraska), but seemed to indicate that all the pricing would be in the email he would send. O’Reilly generally brushed off questions of pricing, although later did mention that all the Virtual Office pricing is on the back of the flier he handed Sam.
Mr. Jones, trying to understand the benefits and limitations of the Platinum Plus Card, asked if the definition of a day was any length meeting – say 2 hours, 4 hours, or even 8 hours? “Yes, use of any amount of time uses up your day”, explained O’Reilly.
“Can I use a Meeting Room or Conference Room for any of my “days”?” “No, all days must be used in a Private Office.”
How much will I get charged if I want to use a Meeting Room? “Meeting Rooms and Conference Rooms can vary from about $40 per hour, but a large Conference Room in LA will run about $130/hr.” (not sure why he mentioned LA, but it emphasized the fact that they think as one company catering to mobile workers).
There was no mention of the Blue Card (Free, 10% off)
“Can I use your address as my address and receive mail with this Businessworld card?” Mr. Jones asks, knowing this will turn the conversation toward Virtual Offices.
Sam says, “No, but the Virtual Office is a good way to use our address”. (Pulling out a Virtual Office 8.5×11” flier) O’Reilly explained that the Mailbox Plus is a good way to use the address for $99/mo., and then suggested Jones add the Businessworld Gold card to have a place to work. He pointed out several times that this combination, at $124/mo. would be less expensive than the Virtual Office plan at $249, so he could save money (since Wilbur probably uses his own cell phone), and then just rent a Meeting Room hourly when needed.
Sam seemed to be trying to move Wilbur more toward the lesser expensive plans than toward the plans with more value (he never used the term value or more value). Maybe he didn’t believe they had more value.
The phone answering was only mentioned briefly, if that. A keen Mr. Jones did ask about where calls were answered, and learned all calls are answered locally. When asking if that would be a problem should he decide to change locations, Sam suggested using a cell phone and the Businessworld card solution (with the Mail Plus option for mail receipt) to avoid any future complications with phone answering. Jones also noticed the phones were Meridian vintage mid 90’s.
Wilbur asked a few questions about the office use included with the Virtual Office and Virtual Office Plus plans, and found the same thing applies to Virtual Offices as Businessworld – only Day Office can be used, and one meeting = one day of the 2 or 5 days included. Meeting rooms cost extra and are charged at their regular hourly rate.
After meeting for about 15-20 minutes in Sam’s office, Wilbur was given a tour of the center. The center consists of 62 full time offices, one Day Office, one 4 person Meeting Room, and one 10 person Conference Room. Sam proudly proclaimed they had been full for 3 straight years (apparently high-tech magnet, Culliver City, didn’t participate in the recession), until a large tenant moved out a month or so ago. They currently have 4 or 5 offices available.
During the tour Mr. O’Reilly showed Wilbur a full time office to let him know what he could expect if he ever had the need for a permanent office.
Sam mentioned that if Wilbur had called ahead for an appointment he would have been met by a Sales Person, but since he just dropped in, he met with Sam the General Manager, since he was the only sales person onsite. Sam has worked at 4 locations including downtown LA, but makes this Culliver City location his home now. Besides James, there is another admin person. Sam made sure Mr. Jones knew he could, for example, email their Admin staff a document, have them print 20 color copies and have them bound into booklets, all for only $15 every 15 minutes.
They parted about 4:50 with small talk about local restaurants, but not before Mr. O’Reilly asked Mr. Jones if, after seeing the place, he wanted to sign up now. Jones declined and O’Reilly reminded Jones that he would send an email with a proposal, and that it would be easy to sign up (for any location) with the documents that would be attached.
View our complete Dissecting Regus Businessworld presentation to find more about Regus’ Mystery shopping, including Wilma’s surprising experience when shopping for a full time office!