Used office furniture hunting — count the costs

Used office furniture is the way to go if you’re just starting with a business that requires an office and you don’t want to have your start up costs getting too high. In the UK (as elsewhere), there are two ways to ask around for used office furniture suppliers: Online or traditional (asking friends, Yellow Pages, etc.

Hunting for used office furniture is faster online — ‘Google is your friend’. If you’re in London, just Google ‘used office furniture suppliers London’ and page one of the results will give you the most popular used office furniture suppliers in town. On the upper right side will be a map pointing the location of the top ones who already listed their businesses with Google Places so you’ll know where to go. You can also check out their websites one-by-one — probably just use the first 3 pages or so, and call or email those you like. You can then set up appointments.

If you don’t like searching online, of course there’s the Yellow Pages (there’s also an online version). If you have friends in the city who modestly furnished their home office, you can ask them for tips. Or you can roam around, looking for notices or billboards about used office furniture. Another idea is asking moving and packing services. They usually come across customers willing to sell their used furniture. But these last tips are not as efficient as doing an online search as they are more of a hit-or-miss approach — but they sometimes give you the best deals.

In any case, narrow the choice down to those nearest your office — the price of used office furniture usually does not include transport and installation. If your chosen used office furniture supplier is willing to include these costs in the price while still being affordable, all well and good.

If the supplier is located far from your home or office, the added costs of transport and installation might make the total cost of your used office furniture comparable to new equipment offered by an office furniture supplier near you. Weigh these costs carefully.

Don’t forget to go personally to their warehouse and inspect the furniture. Used office furniture may sometimes require repair and re-upholstery to make it presentable for use in your office. Add the cost of possible repair to the total cost. You may find that buing new is the best option.

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