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Indian Office Furniture Seized: 6 Lessons for Budget-Minded Businesses

In some places, the failure to visit room 108 could mean you don't have any office furniture left. Yikes.

In some places, the failure to visit room 108 could mean you don’t have any office furniture left. Yikes.

What would your business do if, after failing to pay your taxes, Uncle Sam walked into your office and seized all the furniture? (We always knew he’d been eying up our sweet Aeron Chair.) Believe it or not, this has actually happened…just not in the United States (that we know of).

Local government officials in Chennai, India took office furniture from the Airport Authority of India after the organization failed to pay property taxes on staff quarters, signal towers and vacant property in the region according to an article on

Now where will the poor employees of the airport authority sit in order to make enough money to be able to pay those local taxes? It’s not a pretty situation.

To ensure that your business doesn’t end up in similar dire straits, we recommend being fiscally responsible by foregoing the brand-new designer furniture in favor of more budget-friendly options. Sure, you might not have as big a selection of styles and fancy upgrades, but you’ll probably be able to pay your taxes. And that, we think, more than makes up for the sacrifices.

Who says you have to sacrifice all that much? There are plenty of options for scoring amazing furniture on a budget. Check them out:

1. Go open: If you need to furnish a large office, one method of pinching pennies is to rethink the layout. Instead of using private offices or high-walled cubicles, considering adopting a more open floor plan. Generally, workstations in an open plan office are smaller and use less material (with walls or no walls at all), making them a cheaper alternative to more traditional offices. As an added bonus, open offices tend to promote more collaboration among employees and give everyone more access to natural light.

2. Negotiate: No matter where you end up buying your furniture, don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal.  If you’re buying a large quantity of furniture, chances are you’ll having an easier time bargaining. If you’re purchasing furniture online, don’t forget to ask for free or discounted shipping.

3. Shop eBay: You can get anything from creepy antique dolls to fighter jets on the online auction site, so why not office furniture? Right now there are tens of thousands of listings on everything from chairs to cubicles so you could potentially outfit your entire office. Of course, you’ll have added costs for shipping and will more thank likely have to install the furniture yourself, which can be tricky if you’re buying entire office systems. Then of course, there’s the stress of being outbid and buying something without seeing it in person first. With furniture in particular, it’s helpful to be able to test out the wares before buying.

4. Hit up moving sales: Often times when a business moves, it doesn’t want to have to pay for the cost of shipping all that furniture, so they’ll host on office yard sale of sorts to get rid of unwanted equipment and furniture. Reap the benefits of their laziness by snagging furniture for really cheap. Make sure to bring a truck or van to transport your steals and examine the furniture closely for wear and tear. Look through newspaper classified ads and on Craigslist to find sales near you.

5. Shop second-hand: If you’re a startup that doesn’t have a lot of extra cash and doesn’t need a lot of furniture, try looking for pieces at thrift stores and consignment shops. Chances are you won’t find an entire matching office suite, but you could set your business apart and show your savviness by rehabbing some one-of-the-kind pieces . Who says everything has to match, anyway? Just be sure to examine items closely to make sure it’s not broken, damaged or stained.

6. Shop Arnolds: What’s better than paying retail for name-brand office furniture? Getting name-brand office furniture at a fraction of the cost of retail. At Arnolds, we sell high-quality, pre-owned office furniture from brands you recognize (think Herman Miller, Steelcase, Knoll and Haworth) at unbeatable prices (seriously, we guarantee we will beat any competitor’s price for a comparable product by a minimum of 10 percent). We have an enormous selection of used and refurbished cubicles, desks, file cabinets, chairs and more, so you’re guaranteed to find pieces that fit your style and budget.

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