Pre-owned Possibilities – How it can work for your business.

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 up to 50% less than new. Example: An 8 X 8 workstation equally equipped: 
New $2,500.00 vs Used $1,000.00 to $1,200.00.
  • You will need to be flexible. You may get close to what you want but not exactly. You may end up with slightly more or less than exactly what you need.
  • Be prepared to act quickly. 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 for charges like 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 ahead. Buying used take patience and a well-defined purchase strategy to ensure that you get the outcome you expect. It is not a last minute process.
  • Don’t forget to evaluate new product options. 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.

Example of New vs Used Cost Delta