Thursday, January 29, 2009

To cube or not to cube?

Should My Office Use Systems Furniture or Freestanding Desks?

My company based here in Tulsa OK has finally found affordable office space. Now we've got to furnish it. Should we just buy desk and chairs or go for cubicles?

At first, it might seem less expensive to just to buy a dozen cheap desks and chairs. (Some start-ups even use doors instead of desks!) In the long run, however, you'd be wise to invest in what is called "modular systems furniture," otherwise known as cubes. Modular furniture costs a little bit more up front, but it will save you in the end.

Because systems furniture is modular, it's space efficient. For example, the overall desk surface of a cubicle is typically the same as a regular desk, but it's laid out in two narrow, usable pieces instead of one wide piece. Modular furniture also saves space by capitalizing on vertical space as well as horizontal space -- it builds up, instead of out, which provides a lot more storage space per desk.

Another advantage of modular furniture is movable cubicle walls. If your company is adding new employees every month, it is quickly going to experience a space crunch. Desks can be pushed together to accommodate new employees, but most employees don't appreciate working in that kind of environment. With modular furniture, you can tighten cubicle walls to squeeze in some extra help without totally sacrificing privacy.

Whether you start with a few mismatched desks or a few cubicles, budget for some decent desk chairs. A computer will work fine propped up on a plywood desk anchored by sawhorses; but your employees may break down and stop functioning if you force them to sit in cheap chairs for hours on end.

Should I buy new or used office furniture?

New vs. Used Office Furniture

Business owners are always looking for ways to save money. Whether you're an office manager, company controller, or a business owner, you know that buying new office furniture can be extremely expensive. That's why more and more people are turning to used office furniture to save money while furnishing their offices.

If money is no object, feel free to buy as much new office furniture as you need. But if you're working within a strict budget, used office furniture may be the way to go. If you shop carefully, it's possible to purchase used office furniture that will not only look good, but will also be accepted by employees and customers alike. Some of the benefits of purchasing used office furniture include:

  • Saving money. If you shop around for the best prices and bargains, you can save more than 50 percent over the cost of buying new office furniture. Most used office furniture pieces have only been used for a few years (or less) and have minimal wear and tear. Once the bubble wrap is taken off and the price tag is removed, most people cannot tell the difference between a new desk and a used desk.
  • Saving time. If you've ever ordered new office furniture, you know that sometimes it can take up to six weeks to be delivered. Compare that to most used office furniture outlets that can have a truck at your front door in 48 hours or less.
  • Reducing environmental impact. When a used wooden office desk is sent to the landfill, it takes years to break down. By buying used office furniture, you will get a much better deal and help save the planet at the same time.
  • Getting more for your money. When you buy new office furniture, the resale value can depreciate to 25 percent or less of the original purchase price over five years. But when you buy used office furniture, the resale value can remain as high as 75 percent of what you paid for it.

So, how do you find the best bargains in used office furniture? Begin your search by looking in your own backyard. In other words, your local community is a good place to start. Check the Yellow Pages for used office furniture listings.

You can also contact your local chamber of commerce for referrals and check with other business owners in the community to see where they have been buying used office furniture. And don't forget to look in the classified ads of your local newspapers. Often you will find several ads for used office furniture, and they just may have what you are looking for.

Many business owners are using the Internet to buy and sell their office equipment. Local office furniture sites such as are now filled with listings of used office furniture of all shapes, sizes, conditions, and prices. Of course, when buying heavy furniture online, you may end up paying more in shipping charges than you would if you purchased it locally, so be sure to factor in those costs as well.

When buying used office furniture, keep in mind that you might not be able to find the color or design you had in mind. The key point to remember is it's just like buying a used car: you must accept the color, condition, and size, and hopefully the money you will save will be worth your time and effort.

Welcome to the Tulsa office furniture resource blog!

Please feel free to share your thoughts, experiences and any other information you think others might find helpful relating to office furniture usage in the Tulsa area. This blog is being sponsored by Crown Office Furniture but is an open forum for all to discuss. I hope you find the resources listed here helpful in finding the perfect furniture for you!