Have you wondered why Systems Furniture (“Cubes”) can cost as much a good used car? Is there any way around spending 3, 4, $5,000 on a private office? Here are some straight-talk alternatives and their pluses and minuses.
1. Disposable Furniture
Do you really need long term, commercial grade, furniture? Does your start-up or high risk venture really need 20-year, major manufacture furniture? Consider putting your furniture budget into some “big box store” office supply furniture. In terms of value (quality/cost) there is a place for IKEA and Staples-like furniture in some “temporary” business scenarios. Don’t expect it to last, or impress anyone, but in many business situations that’s not what’s going to determine your immediate, short-term success.
Another short-term solution, that gets you reasonable quality without committing to long term use, is to consider a rental agreement. You pay for the use of the furniture plus installation, transportation, and removal. This diminishes the value proposition – but again, you aren’t committing in most cases to any term longer than 3 months. If you have reasonable confidence that you’ll need the furniture longer than 6 months, this is probably NOT the most cost effective option. Check with your accountant about some tax benefit to expensing lease payments.
3. Off Brands
Last time I checked, there are over 1000 furniture manufacturers on the commercial market. ½ the Market is consolidated in 6 manufacturers. The others frequently compete on price with the major manufacturers. Trying to shave 15 to 20% from your projected new furniture costs? Consider shopping among the minor manufacturers. There’s a reason they aren’t leaders, but functionally and in terms of initial cost, some money can be saved.
4. Remanufactured products
Looking for major manufacturer quality, broad choice, and savings of upwards of 30% over the majors? Major manufacturers, dominating the market place and producing super furniture that outlasts their first owner’s purposes, have a following of largely independent remanufacturers. In this arena you can expect to have broad choice including fabric and finishes. Likely discount structure you can expect will be in the 38 cents on the dollar list/ 62% discount from the majors’ list pricing.
Also called “As Is” product, or simply used office furniture, this extreme category of office furniture can reach ½ the cost of new or 25 cents on the dollar list/ 75% discount from list; said another way, this is at least another 30% less than the above remanufacture pricepoint.
The concept with Redistributed Furniture, is to find exceptional, major manufacture furniture that doesn’t deserve to be refabriced, repainted, relaminated …………….match it to a new buyer’s needs, deliver and install. Exceptional value; THE highest value possible in the world of Commercial Office Furniture. Find the right dealer, and the right inventory, and there’s no greater value.
Richard Kirkley is CEO of Restyle Furniture. He’s developed a special process to help commercial and multifamily real estate brokers buy corporate office furniture the smart way.