The Key to Purchasing Pre-owned Furniture & Expectation Management
By Office Interiors President, Bill Coons
I often get asked from both real estate brokers and clients about the possibilities of used furniture as a low cost solution to furnishing office space. They are surprised when I say it could be! The truth is, it can be a very good solution if you have the correct expectations and you are willing to work the way the used or pre-owned furniture business works. Most corporate clients are accustomed to making purchases in the time frame that they choose and want it the way they want it. In the pre-owned business the rules are a bit different. If it is available and you want it, you need to step up and make a commitment immediately or be prepared to look for another inventory. If you work with a reputable pre-owned vendor, they will direct you on timing and expectations. Below are a few bullets that give some insight on what to expect in the pre-owned furniture world.
Expectations—What you should look for:
- Good pricing can be as much as half of a heavily discounted new product.
Example: An 8 X 8 workstation equally equipped:
New $2,500.00 vs Used $1,000.00 to $1,200.00.
- You will get close to what you want but not exactly. You will need to be more flexible than ordering new. Your order will be close to the color you may want and have more or less components that you need rather than ordering exactly what you need.
- Be prepared to buy when you find what you see as a close solution or be prepared to lose it. Pre-owned is sold to the person with the money in hand and is not held off the market to meet your time frame.
- Pre-owed furniture is mostly available in the systems side of the furniture world and is not as easily accessible in the seating and private office areas.
- Be prepared to pay an additional $200-$300 (per workstation) in some cases. This would be for charges that you don’t see when purchasing new. Some examples would be freight, storage and teardown at the current location.
Buyer Beware—Things to watch out for:
- Only work with a proven entity. There are a lot of moving parts in a pre-owned project and any one of them can very easily cause delay and unexpected expense.
- Plan a purchase strategy to insure that you get the outcome you expect. If you approach it with a plan and give yourself time to get educated you can end up with a very good value but it is not a last minute process.
- Don't be so closed minded to buying new furniture. Sometimes good used furniture and new furniture do not have the cost delta that you would think.
- Most clients are not looking for used or pre-owned furniture; they are looking for a low cost solution. By educating yourself to all the options you can get a low cost solution but also insure that you get a great value that includes furniture, services and a consultant that responds to your business needs and not just sell you furniture.
Example of New vs Used Cost Delta
Contact us today, for more information.
Bill Coons is the President of Office Interiors Inc. in Atlanta, GA and has a thirty year history in contract furniture and owns an architectural interior company as well that provides turnkey solutions for corporate clients across the U.S. He works closely with commercial real estate brokers to provide solutions in relocation, budgeting and design.