Before You Buy Refurbished Furniture and Equipment

Computer with telephone in office
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Office furniture and equipment does not increase in value over time. These necessary purchases are a cost of doing business, and therefore they are expenses, not assets that will appreciate or grow in value over time. While it is tempting to want everything in a new office to be shiny and new, there is an important question to be asked: does every piece of furniture need to be new, or can it be purchased for a fraction of its original price because it is used?


The same question should be asked about necessary office equipment.  Here it is a little trickier because the equipment needs to be functional and guaranteed performance via a warranty should assure that the refurbished equipment will perform to its standard: think of it as “certified pre-owned” when it comes to used office equipment.  

Before you consider purchasing refurbished office equipment, first consider what the minimal equipment purchase may need to be.

Used Office Furniture

If there is an area in the office that will be used to greet or meet with customers or prospective customers, you may want to purchase new furniture so that this area projects a better image of your company. An example of an office area where customers will be greeted is the reception area.

Other areas of the office such as the break room where customers and visitors are likely not going to be met; or if wear-and-tear will be heavy, or where documents will be stored may be the ideal areas for used office furniture.

Refurbished Office Equipment

Office equipment manufacturers and distributors may have equipment that is returned by customers due to a variety of reasons -- not necessarily because the equipment was not functioning properly. These types of returns are a great source of equipment for a fraction of the original price.

An example of this could be the purchase of a Refrigerator for the employee breakroom. Sometimes when the brand new refrigerator is unpacked, it can be dented or scratched by the transportation crew.  When this “damaged” refrigerator id delivered at the customer location, it is usually returned because the customer that originally purchased it was guaranteed a defect-free appliance. Furthermore, a piece of equipment could be returned because of a minor problem, fixed by the manufacturer, but will not be resold as new. All of these situations and more provide an opportunity to acquire equipment at reduced prices.

“Going Out of Business”

Liquidation sales are another opportunity to acquire office furniture and equipment at big savings. A word of caution: be careful when you shop under these conditions. There may be high-pressure sales, limited selection and a variety of other conditions that could make for a risky deal.

Also, if the equipment or furniture becomes damaged, repairs will not be possible because the company that was going out of business will no longer exist. Therefore, shop carefully, know the equipment you’re looking for, and what the current market price is.

Online Auctions

eBay is the largest online auction in the world.

There are a lot of great deals that can be found on eBay or other online auctions. Just as the name suggests, it is an auction.  This means that you must submit a bid and wait out the other bidders before you can purchase the item of interest. And as with offline auctions, there is always the possibility of being outbid, unless you are willing to pay the asking price up front.  Just as with “Going Out of Business” sales, the risk is high, but the savings could be huge.