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WeWork Is Ratcheting Up Broker Commissions to Lure New Tenants

Flush with VC funds, WeWork is making a new push for its competitors’ customers. 

A WeWork rendering of the lounge in the upcoming UBS office in Weehawken, N.J.
A WeWork rendering of the lounge in the upcoming UBS office in Weehawken, N.J.

Last September, WeWork Cos. made a show of trying to poach customers from rival co-working companies during the slower months of late summer and early fall. Employees of the co-working giant cold-called competitors’ tenants, set up games and couches outside of other shared-office spaces and offered up to a year’s free rent if they switched over. 

This year, WeWork is enlisting another party in the battle: brokers. The company is offering commercial real estate brokers worldwide a 100 percent commission on the first year of rent paid by any tenant who switches to WeWork from a top competitor and signs a lease by October 1. Tenants also get half off the first year’s rent if they sign for at least 12 months. That means, accounting for the discount, that WeWork’s current bonus to brokers is five times the standard commission it typically offers of 10 percent on the first year’s rent.