Buying used office furniture can be a practical, economical, and sustainable way to set up or refresh your work space. When you purchase used office furniture, you can usually get it delivered and installed right away while paying well below retail. Your purchase will be worthy if you buy sturdy, durable, attractive, and functional pieces at a good price.
Used furniture can be priced 20–50% less than the same furniture purchased new. The list price of a Herman Miller Tu W-pull freestanding lateral file cabinet may be $695, but you may be able to save hundreds of dollars if you buy the same cabinet pre-owned. Once you know your budget, you can evaluate the price of furniture based on its age, quality, condition, brand name, and compatibility with your work environment.
The IRS classifies office furniture as 7-year property, which means that its value depreciates by 14% of its original value every year. If the original price of an office chair is $100, its value is $72 after two years and $58 after three years. When you consider the price of used furniture, taking 30% off the original retail price can be a good starting point for evaluation. You will also need to factor in the seller’s overhead costs and the intrinsic value of the furnishings. Age is a variable that can enhance or diminish value. A classically styled, rare, and sturdy desk from a well-known brand can be sold at a premium, while a no-name cabinet with hard-to-source replacement parts will be worth much less.
Quality of Used Office Furniture
Materials, fabrication, and design will influence the look, durability, and usability of furniture. Most office furniture is made from laminate, metal, and wood veneer. Laminate furniture is plentiful, inexpensive, and low-maintenance. It can look shabby and have a shorter lifespan than other furniture, but it is also easy to replace. Thick, sturdy, and properly finished metal furnishings are generally resistant to dents and scratches. Wood veneer can be expensive to buy and maintain, but it can work well in offices that need to keep up appearances. Any quality furniture can have a long life and a high resale value if it’s properly cared for.
Well-maintained used furniture that is marked at least 20% below its original price is generally a good value. Furniture that needs to be repaired is rarely worth buying. Problems like uneven legs, missing feet, chipped corners, sharp edges, stuck casters, stained fabric, worn-out padding, holes, missing handles, fasteners, and trim can be deal-breakers. Doors and drawers should move easily, cleanly, and completely shut. Using broken furniture can make your office look run-down and create hazardous conditions for your workers. If you notice any issues that would make the furniture annoying or dangerous to use as-is, it’s probably not worth the money.
The right brand name can function as an easily recognizable shorthand for quality, desirability, and longevity. Used office furniture from a brand like Steelcase may be more expensive up front than no-name furniture, but buying it can have several advantages. You will pay less for brand-name furniture when you buy it used, and you can resell it at a relatively high price if you keep it in good condition.
When you’re buying office furniture, make sure that it fits without making your space feel cramped or dysfunctional. It’s worth buying furniture that works with your flooring and makes the office accessible. Office furniture that is difficult or distracting to use can lower productivity and eat into your operating costs. Used furniture is never a bargain if it’s a poor fit.
Buying Used Office Furniture Can Be Great for Your Business
One should never underestimate the sense of ease and confidence that good office furniture can bring to the workplace. Practical, ergonomic, and stylish office furniture that feels solid and well-crafted can create value by boosting morale, even when it shows the patina of age. Selecting the right used office furniture is a worthwhile investment that can pay off for years to come.