The little guy shaking up the serviced office industry

Jamie Vine - Liberty Executive Offices

From humble beginnings as a fax salesman, Jamie Vine went on to found Liberty Executive Offices, a serviced office provider that’s focused on delivering high-quality service and is creating some opposition for the “big guys” in the industry.

Vine opened the first Liberty business centre in July 2011 at Allendale Square, and this month opened the second at Governor Stirling Tower, both in Perth’s CBD.

Vine credits Liberty’s growing success to the clarity of his vision: “From the outset I’ve had a clear vision in my mind and its still there and we’re achieving it.”

That vision involved the creation of a quality product with a focus on service, which has been achieved by some targeted recruitment.

“We’ve made a bit of a thing of recruiting from the hospitality industry. It’s been a long standing mistake in this industry to recruit people from an office job thinking that it’s an office job and its not,” he said.

“The people who use the space have got an office job, but it’s our job to look after them.”

For Vine, looking after the client includes not only maintaining the look and feel of the office spaces, but also maintaining a simple and open fee structure.

“We [charge] fairly and openly and very, very transparently… Which is quite unique in the market,” he added.

Big competition

Liberty competes directly with two of the country’s largest serviced office providers, Servcorp and Regus, who until recently have had a duopoly over the industry in Australia.

“I don’t think we’ve ever lost business because we’re small or because we’re new. If anything its in our favour because a lot of people were looking for a change,” Vine said.

According to Vine, many of his customers say they’ve “had enough of the charging regimes that you find within the systems of the two big operators,” leading them to look for smaller alternatives, like Liberty.

Vine, who is originally from the UK, has found the less competitive atmosphere in Australia advantageous as it allowed him to bring some things to market which some of his competitors aren’t doing.

“The appetite for technology here is not as prevalent as it was when I was in London,” he said. This presented a problem for Vine when he tried to install server-locking technology for his clients.

“We struggled to find someone who could provide the lockers because nobody had ever heard of them,” he said.

While the second Perth venture has been well received in the market, Vine said the real aim of opening another location was to “demonstrate that we could run a multi-site business.”

Not content to rest on his laurels, Vine already has plans to cut a property deal and open a third centre in Brisbane this year.

“It’s a busy time or us,” Vine said, who has a goal of opening four more centres across the Asia-Pacific region in the next four years.