If you’re like most startups, you’re probably on a tight budget, looking to save money and cut costs anyway you can. One of the ways many small businesses in the Boston area do this is by purchasing used office equipment to furnish their new space.
In most cases, it’s a great idea, but there are some instances when buying new just makes more financial sense.
5 Things to Consider Before Buying Used Office Equipment
If you’re thinking about going the used office equipment route, here are a few things to consider before you start hitting up those going-out-of-business sales.
The Difference Between Used and Refurbished Office Equipment
Used equipment is typically sold “as-is” and does not include a warranty, whereas refurbished items are usually inspected and reconditioned to meet a resale standard. Think of it like buying a used car from the owner versus purchasing a certified pre-owned car from the dealership. Used office equipment will likely be cheaper, but you’ll want to thoroughly inspect it before making the purchase.
The Types of Equipment You Need
The type of equipment you need, and how it will be used, is an important consideration when deciding whether to buy new or secondhand. For instance, used cubicles, desks, chairs and filing cabinets may be fine, but if you expect to do a lot of client facing in your office, a new conference table and chairs may be worth the splurge. Likewise, refurbished computers can help save you money, but if you’re in an industry where state-of-the-art technology is critical, then a refurbished computer can actually put you at a competitive disadvantage.
How Much Capital You Have Available
While used equipment costs significantly less, it can be harder to obtain financing for, which means you’ll likely need to come up with the capital upfront, or put the purchase on a personal or business credit card. The benefit to buying new is that it’s often easier to find and negotiate deals, such as 0% financing. Either way, you’ll likely be accumulating some debt, it just depends on how much you are willing to take on, and whether you are more comfortable with long or short-term loans.
How Long You Plan to Keep the Equipment
If you’re looking for a short-term solution just to get you on your feet, used or refurbished office equipment makes the most sense. Just know that you will likely need to replace most, if not all, of the items down the road. Again, this makes sense if you anticipate a move or expansion within the same timeframe. However, if you are making a long-term commitment to your office space, it may be worth it to invest in new equipment.
If you’re buying refurbished office equipment, you’ll want to find out if a warranty is included, or available for purchase. If it is, make sure you understand exactly what is covered and when the policy expires. Likewise, if you’re buying used office equipment, ask the seller if the equipment is still under warranty, and make sure that the warranty is transferable to you. Many warranties are voided if the equipment is sold to a new owner.
More Money-Saving Tips for Startups
If you decide that used office equipment is the right decision for you, keep an eye out for going-out-of-business sales on social media and in the newspaper, or shop used office furniture outlets. Startups in Boston and Wakefield MA can check out Brooks Bargain, Atlantic Liquidators or Office Furniture Liquidators.
For those startups that are not ready to commit to buying office furniture, furnished executive suites are a great money-saving alternative. Look for an office space that is already equipped with desks, chairs, filing cabinets and conference rooms – perfect for entrepreneurs who have outgrown their home office, but do not have the time or money needed to set up a new space.