The concept of spring cleaning is said to originate from a tradition related to the Iranian New Year, which is the first day of spring. Everything in the home is thoroughly cleaned, from the curtains to the carpet. Spring has also traditionally been the season for businesses to renovate, redecorate, and move to completely different spaces as the weather warms up and the days get longer.
Those due for complete office makeovers have to make the decision between new and used office furniture. Several factors will help you make this decision, including budget, time and locale. Of course cities like San Francisco, New York, and other large metropolitan areas will have the best selection of used furniture simply because so many major corporations make their headquarters in said locales.
Many business owners and managers are embracing new trends like shared office spaces, smart furniture, and open plan designs that eliminate traditional walls in favor of portable, adjustable dividers. But when you're deciding between the old-fashioned and new-fangled approaches, your choice between new and used becomes a lot more clear.
The first and most obvious advantage of used office furniture is cost. The fact said furniture was formerly in offices usually means it was used by professionals. That means good to excellent condition at a fraction of the retail price. Another advantage is customization. Not only do you have the opportunity to buy brand name furniture for cheap, but also extra money to pay for customization.
Companies with a reputation for being environmentally-friendly would also benefit from buying used furniture. Buying used desks, file cabinets, chairs, etc. means less trash in landfills and less energy expended by eliminating production processes. Further, you'll likely be buying the furniture from a local company and keeping dollars in the community.
Long wait times are also eliminated. Since the company you purchase from is located in your general vicinity, you can pick up your orders immediately and not have to wait for anything to be shipped.
The most glaring difference between new and used furniture are warranties. Buying used furniture means buying everything "as is." Granted there are typically no mechanical or electrical issues with furniture that would cause problems. But it is a good idea to visit the showroom or warehouse where the used furniture is located and measure everything to ensure it fits where you want it to go. Most used furniture sellers do not offer refunds.
There's also the issue of durability. A break room bench that has been sat on for years may not last as long as a brand new one. But you also may not find that perfect, antique bench that would look great in your office, brand new at the retail store. The cost to repair a specific piece of furniture that you really like could add up to an amount more than you want to spend.
Small companies that want matching furniture may run into limited quantity issues when shopping for used items. You may have to get creative if you want a consistent look throughout the office.
The best part about buying used furniture is the possibility to negotiate. There's a good chance of getting bulk discounts and even lower prices on single items with the right finessing. It may also make sense to mix it up: buy some items new and others used depending on need.
The best piece of advice for buying office furniture is to have fun. Everything else will take care of itself.