Furnishing an office can be extremely expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a number of ways to save on office furniture besides buying cheap stuff. There’s also hidden costs that are easy to forget about. Below we’ve outlined some of those hidden costs as well as tactics that you can use to save money on office furniture.
Determine Life Expectancy.
Sometimes it pays to save money. Other times, you’re better off spending more. When it comes to office furniture, ask yourself how much the item will be used and how long you expect to have it. Consider the chair that your office admin or front desk person sits in. More than likely they’re required to sit in that seat all day so that they can greet visitors. A cheap chair is going to wear out quickly and will probably get uncomfortable very quickly. But how about the lounge chair in that same reception area? Probably going to be sat in only a few times per day. Also, if you’re planning on doing a major renovation, moving to a new space, or otherwise don’t think you’re going to need the item for a long time, it may make sense to go with a cheaper item. A two year life expectancy might make the most sense if you don’t plan on keeping it for very long.
Similar to the consideration of how often you will use the item, consider how often you will see it. Folding tables and chairs are usually pretty basic looking, but that doesn’t matter much because you typically see them on rare occasion. But what about the desk that you will sit at every day? Aesthetics matter! Then again, if you’re an early-stage startup, you might want to go with inexpensive looking furniture so that you maintain that scrappy startup vibe.
Low cost furniture typically requires a little bit of elbow grease because you need to assemble it yourself. The major upside to office furniture that requires assembly is that it is often shipped in flat pack boxes, helping you save a ton of money on shipping costs. If you’re ok with assembling it yourself, or if you have a handy team of employees, you can save a boatload of cash here. Note though that DIY office furniture is often made of recycled wood materials and as a result, it has a shorter life expectancy than solid wood and metal furniture. Anyone who has tried to move an IKEA bed has felt this pain. If you’re planning on staying put for a while, this furniture can last for many years. HT to Workingnaked.com for this idea.
Get Office Furniture Quotes
Once you know which items you need, give your shopping list to different furniture retailers. Give them your specifications (12 desks, 2 feet by 5 feet, preferably in white or light grey, need to last 5 years) and then ask them to provide you with a shopping list. This will then provide the office furniture store with an opportunity to give you a competitive bid. Make sure to tell them your budget and then ask them to explain the rationale for the pieces they chose. A good commercial real estate broker can refer you to some office furniture dealers.
Shipping can be a very expensive factor in buying office furniture. You’re dealing with large and heavy items, which means freight shipping. If your furniture requires assembly, it will likely be shipped in flat pack boxes and will be far less expensive to ship than furniture that has been assembled at the factory. Locally-sourced furniture will only need to be delivered across town instead of across the country. Don’t forget too that anything that has been shipped in may need to be shipped back if you don’t like it. For some items, you may find that the cost to have your team pack it up and the cost to send it back is more than you paid for it. But if it’s locally-sourced, the vendor may be able to send out a truck with their delivery people and retrieve it from you.
When offices shut down, the office manager typically calls in a furniture liquidator to remove it all. But that furniture is still useable, so the liquidator doesn’t just throw it away. Instead they sell it to other companies who are perfectly happy with used furniture. Often this furniture is in fine working order and looks very good. This is actually a great option if your office decor is somewhat old, as the new furniture will blend in relatively easily. Another source for used furniture is companies that you know are going out of business or are moving locations. If you hear of a massive layoff, the company doing the layoffs may be interested in selling the furniture. Landlords at office parks are also very knowledgeable about who is ending leases. Craigslist and consignment stores are also good options here. For more ideas on ways to save money on used office furniture, head over to BillCutterz.
Involve Office Workers
Like a good tailor, you will want your office workers to try on the furniture before making the purchase. An easy mistake to make when buying office furniture is not involving the people who will actually use it. A smaller framed person might not like a big puffy chair. A larger employee may be uncomfortable in a chair that has armrests. Some people may want open desks so that coworkers can assemble around the, while other people may need partitions so that they are not distracted. Soliciting your employees for their needs and desires may avail you to factors you’d not previously considered. You can try using a Survey Monkey or Google Form questionnaire. All of this will help you make sure you buy the right furniture and don’t have to deal with the time and expense of returns.
What have you done to save money on office furniture? Have any ideas that we didn’t mention?