Furniture – Existing vs. New vs. Pre-owned

WHAT IS NEW FURNITURE?

Let’s start with the New Furniture. This is the most straight forward option.
New furniture is new, new, new, new. Just like a new car, a new house, a new boat – this is straight from the factory or builder and you are the first to use it.

New furniture is made in factories, generally in the United States, Canada and Asia, with additional sources being found in South America, Italy and Germany. There are virtually manufacturers in every country, but those mentioned above are where the bulk of furniture that we provide comes from. There is a lot of variety in new furniture such as: assembled, ready to assemble, systems, cubicles, desks, chairs, files, etc.

WHAT IS PRE-OWNED FURNITURE?

Pre-owned is next. Think “garage sale” here. This is furniture that someone owned and used and now you buy it. It has wear and tear to it, it is not new, it may look good, may function properly and it will be much less cheaper than new. But it was someone else’s stuff.

Good bargains can be found in this category provided you have the time to explore the market to find them. St. Louis has lots of companies that work specifically in this area. In order to see what is available you generally have to go look. You could hire someone to look for you, but chances are by the time they find the right stuff you could have spent the money on new and saved a lot of time.

“Diamonds in the rough” are seldom found and you can expend lots of energy looking for them.

WHAT IS REFURBISHED / REMANUFACTURED FURNITURE?

These two categories describe the process of taking used furniture and making it closer to new.

Refurbished is the lesser amount of rework. This will generally include replacing fabric and repainting of items. The result will generally look comparable to new, but the innards or heart of the product will still be used.

Remanufactured product is taking the refurbishment to a different level. As the name implies, the product is being remade. Products are broken down into their component parts and new parts are added, everything is repainted, dents are filled, panels are recovered. In the end the product is virtually new, even smells new, and will work as good as brand new for generally less cost.

When you are making your selection between these categories you need to determine first what your priorities are for your new space. So let’s talk about some considerations to explore for your office before making this selection.

CONSIDERATIONS WHEN BUYING FURNITURE

Let’s talk about different things to consider when you are assembling your options. These can apply to all of the different furniture categories we explored earlier.

Here is a beginning list:

  • Age of your existing furniture
  • Color / condition of the existing furniture
  • Feel / image of the new office
  • Tax basis, depreciation of the existing furniture
  • Time line for moving
  • Cost of physical move, down time, production cost of the move

Age of Existing Furniture

If the existing furniture was very inexpensive (cheap) it may not make it through the move. Some furniture is simply not built well enough to withstand a move without having to be pieced back together.

Color/ Condition

If the existing colors will clash with the color scheme of the new office it may be time to consider changing. This can apply to desks, panels/cubicles, files, chairs, pretty much everything.

Feel / Image of New Office

The feel of the new office is important. For example, if you are moving from a very traditional style office to a contemporary appearance, the existing furniture can look out of place and make the entire office different than what was intended. But if you are going for a more eclectic look then almost anything can go together.

Tax Considerations

If you have had the furniture for more than 7 years old it may be fully depreciated. There may be tax advantages to replacing what you have. This would be a good time to have a conversation with your accountant. Sometimes spending money up front can save you money on the other end. You might also consider leasing the furniture which will have its own unique issues to explore.

Time Line / Cost Of Move

If you have a large installation you may need to take into consideration the cost of down time for your employees when it comes to the move. You have to get out to the existing furniture to move it and depending on how long it will take to dismantle, move and reinstall you may actually save money by purchasing something else when you consider the cost of people not being productive.

This is by no means a complete list. Do you have others that you have experienced? We would love to hear about your experiences.

When it comes to the considerations for purchasing new or pre-owned here are a few things to consider before beginning your search:

  • For New Furniture
    • Budget
    • Type or style of furniture
    • Color is not a big consideration given the wide range of choices
    • Stocked or requires ordering
    • If ordered, what is lead time for delivery
  • For Pre-owned Furniture
    • Budget
    • Type or style of furniture desired
    • Colors that will work, choices can be limited
    • Condition of furniture – is it acceptable
    • Who owns the inventory, many companies may be selling the same inventory
    • Time frame to pull the trigger – as with used cars, what you see today may not be available tomorrow
    • What is lead time – add a buffer to these as they are generally understated

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