How Much Does it Cost to Furnish an Office?
It’s so easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest furniture and equipment for your office—you want it to look fabulous and make a statement about your success. But don’t lose sight of your budget. Your cash flow could wind up looking like the national debt.
Don’t despair! It really is a breeze to make good decisions about purchasing equipment and furniture, have a nice-looking office, and make your business run smoothly and efficiently.
New vs Used Office Furniture
You can read our article about that here – but this is a huge consideration to make from the word “go”. Some people think that they have to have the latest equipment to hit the market. Cost doesn’t matter. This kind of thinking can lead you to buy equipment with superfluous features, or furniture that goes out of style next week. Before you equip your office, think about your real needs—what you need to make a fair impression, work efficiently, and be able to maintain a good and continuing cash flow situation.
Check into used furniture and equipment. A good bargain may just be the ticket to fulfilling your needs. If you really want to buy good furniture cheap, consider attending a going-out-of-business auction.
Do My Staff Need Ergonomic Office Chairs?
You are projecting an image with the type of furniture that you choose to outfit your office with. Buying it used can certainly help offset costs, and comes as a recommendation for keeping budgets in check, but make sure that it is in tip-top shape. New or used, your furniture should be professional in appearance. Try for a coordinated look and a simple color scheme carried throughout your office. Good, simple, tasteful design is paramount if you intend to have clients visit your office on a regular basis.
Look for furniture that is comfortable and suitable for at least eight hours a day. Make sure your desks and chairs are ergonomically designed to minimize physical stress. Having heavy computer users develop wrist and hand problems is a risk I would work to avoid.
So yes, choosing comfortable and physically healthy chairs for your employees does make a difference!
Which Of My Offices Spaces Should I Prioritise?
Staring with the most important rooms will allow you some time and space to allocate the next available budget amount to the next most important room; if you pre-empt having many business meetings, prioritise your boardroom, etc.
One non-negotiable is your reception area as well as general staff seating area. Your staff are your most important assets (or at least they should be) – so ensuring they have a comfortable and work-conducive place to sit is a great starting point.
Leaving pause areas, the canteen and also executive offices to the next spot in order of importance can free up some valuable time in getting the right furniture for each space.
How to Decide on Office Furniture
Before making a decision about which office furniture classification is best for your needs, a business owner should ask themselves a few questions that will help a small business owner clearly understand what is driving their decisions on cost and quality.
Any important capital expenditure for a business usually comes down to answering two important questions: what do we need to buy and how much are we willing to spend? Outfitting an office is no exception. You have to ask yourself, is this a short term expense or a mid to long term investment? This will drive your thinking as you examine your options.
We’ve taken this insight and expanded the question list:
- Are you looking for the absolute lowest cost? Is this an investment in your business or simply a short term expense that has to be dealt with.
- Do you have the time to source your furniture, assemble it, and deal with potential returns or are you looking for a vendor to provide these services end to end?
- What does image do for you in front of your customer and their perceptions of your quality and value?
- Are you concerned about the environment?
- Do you or any of your employees have back problems or circulation issues? Are your employees in front of computers for long periods of time and susceptible to carpel tunnel?
- Though softer factors such as customer perception and employee comfort might not fit nicely on a budgeting spreadsheet, these are very important. According to the San Diego Business Journal, the environment of an office is nearly as important as the product or service being offered. As author Lee Zion explains, “An aesthetically pleasing work area can create a mood that helps secure new business, as well as attract and motivate employees.”
Office Furniture: Good or Best?
Furniture classified as good meets the minimal criteria for professional office furniture and is generally considered when cost savings is the primary concern of the business owner. An office furnishing set in the good class would general combine laminate construction desks and tables with leatherette chairs and potentially some used chairs or cubicles. Though laminate construction has improved in quality significantly over the past decade, it will not outlast solid wood and wood veneer furnishings. Last, pieces in this price range should not be considered ergonomically designed. Good furniture is generally targeted for office environments where end customers, partners, and suppliers are not expected to be visiting in person.
Furniture classified as better is generally considered to have a longer life and consist of wood/wood veneer and leather materials that aesthetically appear more professional. Furthermore, used pieces in this classification are generally refurbished and feature new materials, paint, and coatings. Though some used or refurbished pieces might be ergonomically designed, this is generally no a guarantee in this price point. Better furniture is generally targeted for office environments where end customers, partners, and suppliers will be visiting; however, the business owner is looking to constrain their budgets as much as possible.
Furniture classified as best generally consists of new furniture constructed of materials such as wood, glass, leather, or contemporary meshes and are designed for ergonomics and longevity. Furniture in this grouping should be the target of a business owner who is looking to achieve a certain look in their office. These business owners are generally very conscious about employee health (back) and the way the furniture will look in 5 years.
Depending on h0w many rooms you will need to furnish, and how well-furnished you wish them to be will determine the cost factor when furnishing your whole office.
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