Back Office Services



NCN Webinar I Back Office Alternatives: What You Need to Know About Shared Services

See NCN Shared Services Publications here.


Topics Below

Pricing for Back Office Services
Shared Services Costs
Mailboxes/Mail Delivery
Printing Charges
Best Printer/Printing Company

Pricing for Back Office Services

From an Ask-NCN Discussion


Katie Edwards, Nonprofit Centers Network, 2/3/15
Another member question came across my desk, and I want to make sure I have up-to-date information to share. Would you be willing to share your pricing schedule for back office services (mail service, phones, storage, IT support, etc)? Are these services included as a part of your rent, your CAM Charges, or are they a la carte?

Thanks so much!


Stephanie FallCreek, Fairhill Partners, 2/3/15
Mail service included in lease. All else a la carte for us though often negotiated during the lease negotiation phase.


Ardi Korver, Region V Services, 2/3/15
Reception, mail service, and copiers are provided. All tenants have a code for outgoing mail and copying service which is billed monthly.

Use of conference rooms, coffee, parking, cleaning, utilities is included in the rent.

Phones, IT support, fiscal and HR support, storage, is a la carte.


Mike Gilbert, The Jones Center, 2/3/15

We have lobby mailboxes for all of our community partners.
Each building has wireless internet throughout, dedicated internet is available through the local providers.
We do not offer telephone service.
Our IT tech is available on an “if available” status to partners at no cost.
We offer storage in our basement at no charge. Each partner has a 10 x 20 fenced storage cube.
Conference and training space is no cost, reserved by partners as needed. (we have many rooms and no issues with availability.)

We are fortunate to have large enough space for fundraising events. Partners get one per year if available and a second event after all partners have had one or declined.


Christina Crawley, OpenGov Hub 2/4/15
We try to keep most services in the base rent to keep things simple: – Coffee/tea/water, storage, secure access, HVAC and meeting room space is included in the per-desk base rent ($500-$625/desk per month – which is below the Washington DC market rate)

– We have a mandatory add-on ‘community fee’ per desk as well to go towards a sort of petty cash fund for unanticipated repairs and to simplify social event expenses ($5/desk per month)

Add-ons are for optional services:
– Printing is separate as some groups have their own small printers ($15/desk per month)
– IT is separate as many groups don’t need this kind of support ($15/desk per month)

Parking is separate and managed by an external company.

Hope that’s helpful!

Shared Services Costs

Ask-NCN 12.6.17


Kim Jones, Nonprofit Village
The Nonprofit Village has full service and virtual members in our shared space. As we plan for a relocation to a new site in 2018, we now plan to incorporate a few shared back office services such as bookkeeping, HR and IT. In the future we will consider communications/marketing/design, and other areas. What is your experience with back office operations? Do you contract with the vendor, asking for a reduced rate in exchange for a set amount of business? Do any shared spaces use back office operations to generate additional revenue or is the service charge pass through from the tenant to the vendor, through the shared space? Appreciate any best practices or alerts about challenges in offering shared services.


Lucinda Kerschensteiner, Center for Social Change
We happen to have a PT bookkeeper on staff for our sister company who we have offered out to members on a shared services basis. We have had a couple members express an interest in using her someday (so we have not earned $$ from it yet). We just charge the members for her hourly rate (what we pay her) + 10% (or so) which is an affordable rate. We also have a few members who provide professional services and in exchange for a discounted membership, they agree to provide probono services to our members (in a limited fashion). I’m curious what others offer, too.


Mailboxes/Mail Delivery

From an Ask-NCN Discussion


Nada Zohdy, OpenGov Hub, 2/4/16
We’ve been hand delivering mail to each person’s desk, but this has been very inefficient so we’re looking to install mailboxes and just wondering if anyone has taken any creative/interesting approaches beyond just traditional mailbox slots.
How do you handle mail in your center? Any creative approaches? Pictures welcome!


Dustin Barrington, HNS Life Center, 2/4/16
Not to be a Scrooge, but we chose not to be “creative” to avoid issues by making each organization responsible for their own mail.

We purchased a USPS approved, front loading ‘18box – 2 package’ horizontal mailbox cluster with a cabinet style enclosure through Salsbury Industries. Their URL is<>

We then registered each tenant suite separately with the local building department and US Post office.

We placed our cluster in a warm lobby for the convenience of our tenants but found later that the USPS delivery schedule did not always line up with our regular business and therefore deliveries were missed. We recently relocated it outside in the cold…

We wish that we had picked a cluster option that had slots in the doors to each box so that tenants could also use this to communicate with each other…

I hope that is a useful angle to consider.


Angela Baldrige, The Plantory, 2/5/16
We just use a big filing cabinet with folders for each of our members. It sits by the front desk. We put their mail in their folders and they check them at their convenience. We leave packages at their locations or put a note in their file folder if it needs to be picked up at the front desk.


Erin Prefontaine, Jerry Forbes Centre Foundation, 2/5/16
We’re in the operations planning stage for our new home and are leaning toward making each organization responsible for their own mail as well.

When we forecast the potential volume and issues of delivering it in-house, a good option looks like a mailbox cluster.

We will also be dealing with very cold winter weather, and possible delivery scheduling so will have to see what options are available via Canada Post.

I’d love to hear more on what other organizations with a distinct winter season and delivery scheduling conflicts are doing.


Cheryl, Artspace Inc., 2/5/16
We’re located in Winnipeg, and have pretty frigid winters as well.

We have a standard mailbox cluster located inside our building lobby for regular mail deliveries from Canada Post, which our members are responsible for. We also have an internal mailroom on the 4th floor in our shared-use copy centre (which includes copying, scanning, postage meter, etc.). Any packages/courier deliveries are received by our office admin staff and are placed in the mail room for our members to pick up. All our members have keys to the internal mail room so they can access their deliveries at any hour.


James Thomson, New Path Foundation, 2/5/16
At both of our shared space locations we have a back office behind our reception desk that houses the mail slots for each respective organization. As mail is delivered to our reception staff directly (one point of contact), they in turn place mail in the respective mail slot for each organization. The organization in turn is responsible for checking the mail slot on a frequent basis (they have a key to access this room). If packages are delivered (UPS, Purolator, etc.), our reception staff signs for the delivery and then directly notifies the organization that there is a pick up waiting; the package is placed in the back office on a counter awaiting pick up.


Ask-NCN Conversation 11.14.17


Elin Ross, Federated Charities
We have a co-work space within our larger multi-tenant space and I’m wondering how everyone handles the physical mailbox when you’re dealing with a co-work/shared space situation. Does all the mail come to a single box and you sort it for your co-work tenants? Something else?


Andy Neal, STAR Center
At The STAR Center, we invested in a larger multi box unit that attaches to the wall in the entryway. Each occupant has their own receptacle.


Ask-NCN 3/2/2017


Jenny Camhi, Leichtag Foundation
We are in the process of transitioning from a free space to a paid center. Up until now, we have offered unlimited free printing. We have now implemented a system to keep track of people’s printing and have told everyone that the first 500 prints are free, but after that we will bill. What do you all charge (if at all) for printing?


Bria Brown, Community Shares of Wisconsin
We have a couple of types of membership but for one:


  • Per copy cost – Black & White $0.06 each, Color $0.12 each.

And for the other:


  • Per copy cost – Black & White $0.08 each, Color $0.25 each.


For both, they have a printer code and we send an invoice monthly.


Lillian Gutierrez, The Alliance Voice of Community Nonprofits
We charge the following:
Copy/Print/Fax Costs:
0.05 Black and White per print/copy/fax cost (faxing out no cost)
0.10 Color print/copy/fax cost (faxing out no cost)


Kim McNamer, Consultant
Our copy prices were low. I can’t fully recall exactly what they were because the couple centers we had were priced slightly different, but I think they were no more than $0.5 for black and white and $0.10 color. They didn’t get any freebies, but we bought all the reams of white paper for the leased machines.


Nada Zohdy, OpenGov Hub
We literally just went through this process 🙂 We charge $15 per month per person for unlimited black and white copies/prints and 20 color copies/prints per person per month. Then any additional color pages are charged at 5 cents per page (which is the actual rate we pay).


Mike Gilbert, The Jones Trust
We pass through the cost of all copies. We are .03 for b/w and .07 color


Marc Kondrup, Midland Shared Spaces
We charge per click: $.05 for b/w, and $.13 for color. That covers the click cost + maintenance agreement charge + all paper for the two shared machines.


Diana Higuerra, Aurora Welcome Center
We charge:

Black and White: $0.009/copy
Color: $0.10
But it also depends on how much is the cost to you.

Best Printer/Printing Company

Ask-NCN 4/21/2017

Champagne Huges, The Flight Deck
We’re looking for printing company and looking for referrals. We’d like to have a printer that is suitable for our co-working space, handles bulk printing, and can code (for tracking prints for different companies).

If you can, can you let us know if you’re renting your printer? Did you buy it? If so, how much does it cost? Also, are you charging your co-workers per print or is it a part of their membership?
Details are highly requested but not required. 🙂

Diana Higuerra, Aurora Welcome Center
We went from a konica-minolta, which was good to a Kyocera that is working great for us. We decided to get our leasing from a local vendor that has great service and the response time on ink and others is 1 day.

We give our tenants a number of free copies black and white, depending on the square footage they occupy. For the extra copies they pay $0.009/copy. Color copies are $0.10/copy. Some of the leasing companies give you the first 10,000/month for free. We are currently paying for what we make.

Last updated byNonprofit Centers Network