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Second Hand Furniture - the Ideal Solution in an Economically Tough Market?

Aug 2, 2008
Second hand office furniture brokers don't tell you the full story and paint a hassle free picture.
So you've seen some office furniture going cheap, because a company up the road has gone bust - or they are reducing their office needs? That works well, as you need to update your office and although it's not brand new - it's in alright condition. Things are a bit tight at the moment, so the 1000 cash price tag for everything there looks like a bargain against the 3000 they paid for it 4 years ago!

So, you've paid for the furniture. Now you just need to go and collect it. There's not that much, just 6 desks and a couple of cupboards, oh and some drawers too. There are some chairs that will do the job for the new team you've got starting next month.

All you've got to do is get it collected. That takes a van and a couple of guys right? Send them down there and they can chuck it in their van, and bring it back when you are ready for it. The only problem is that it's got to be collected by Tuesday, as the landlord is taking the building back then and if it's not out then, it's gone!

Out come the yellow pages. Removal companies? Office movers? You explain what you need, so you arrange to meet on site. They can then look at it and give you a price for the job.

You meet on site to look at the office desks, office chairs and storage cupboards too. A general array of office furniture has been left behind by the outgoing tenants - although funny that you didn't notice that the feet were missing off that desk in the corner, and that the drawers don't open properly on one of the pedestals. No worries - it was 'cheap'.

The removals man makes his notes, and makes the obligatory "It's going to cost you" noises and intakes of breath. He comes back with a figure of 600 + VAT to remove it all and bring it to your premises. You do your own intake of breath, and decide silently that you'll get a few of the lads in the warehouse to give you a hand and you can do it much cheaper than that on Saturday morning instead. You pass on the kind offer of the removal.

You come back on Saturday with the van you hired for the job (75) and the three lads are all there ready for the overtime for the day. (80 each = 240). You start disassembling the furniture with the Allen keys and screwdrivers you brought along for the job, while whistling the kind of "I could do this in my sleep" whistle.

You get the office desks into the van, in bits of course. Then you get to the cupboards. They are massive. They didn't look that big in the flesh - and they can't be disassembled easily because they have all sorts of pull out gubbins inside, and you don't know where to start. You could undo it all no problem - but you'd never get it back together again. You do it anyway and you all struggle with the stairs and get it all in the van.

Time is ticking on now, and lunchtime is here. You pop out and get the lads some fish and chips and a couple of cold cans of Coca Cola as a thank you. (20). You finish it off and then all drive back to the office. You have to follow in your car because while it's only a 15 minute drive - you can only fit three men in the van.

You all unload the van at your offices and drag the various bits up to the office and put them in the corner of the office, ready to go back together. It's all there, but not necessarily in the right order. Still - how hard can that be? You do notice that one of the cupboards has had a nasty bash in the van, and the door is damaged. Still, it was 'cheap'.

Two hours later, and you've got half the desks back together, one of the cupboards is assembled, but you appear to have misplaced the fittings to put the last two cupboards back together. The pull out filing frame isn't going back in either. Nor the shelves.

In the end, you admit defeat and say you'll get the movers to come in on Monday and put it together. After all - the hard bit is done. You take the hire van back, and put diesel in it (30). So you call the movers on Monday, and he sends out a nice man on Thursday who puts it back together as best he can with the fittings missing. (175 - minimum day rate you see!) He also takes away the damaged bits to the tip for you - just pay the council disposal charge, and a bit of diesel. (100)

You feel quite happy with your bargain, and a job well done. Then you realise that it's not got a warranty if the stuff falls to bits. And what about adding to it next year as the team expands. You don't even know what the range is called, let alone where it came from originally. If you just get a desk that looks like it (a bit) then it's going to look a mess, and two years down the line you'll need to start again because the office is such a mess it looks like Steptoe's yard.

Still it was only cheap. Wasn't it? You bought 3000 of furniture for 1640 - which was well worn, had no guarantee, couldn't be added to easily, and wasn't exactly the style statement you were hoping for.

What's the alternative though? Well, nowadays there are so many inexpensive brand new ranges being produced that the bottom line cost is not far off the total price of a second hand purchase. Plus, you get to choose the colour of the desks, you get a warranty, the dealer brings it all in during your office hours and puts it all up in half the time you could have. They take away all the packaging, and you are up and running. You get a VAT invoice, so you can get the VAT back and deduct the cost against your tax bill.

Meanwhile you've not had to give up your precious weekend, the warehouse lads don't ring in sick on Monday because they pulled a muscle at the weekend, and you can get on with what you are good at - running your business.

Does that second hand furniture still sound like a steal?
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For further information regarding our range of reception furniture please visit our website at http://www.evolutionfurniture.co.uk/
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