To rent or to buy cubicles — that is the question.
Picking between owning or renting workstations is about more than just cost. Office furniture visually represents your brand, plus it can help or impede your employees’ productivity and general workplace happiness.
Ensure your array of office cubicles doesn’t turn into a Shakespearean tragedy with work stations making the right statement at the right price for all employees. Here’s a guide to determine if renting or buying office cubicles will work for your company.
Should You Rent or Buy Office Cubicles?
Renting versus buying will be appealing to organizations in a variety of circumstances. When choosing to rent or buy, the decision-makers at your organization should review the following criteria:
Budget: It’s a common misunderstanding that renting cubicles (and other important office furniture) is cheaper than buying those same pieces. While renting is convenient and cost-effective for young companies or those with short-term, tight cash flows, renting contains hidden costs. It is also a perpetual expense, one without tangible asset gains or any real return on investment.
Ownership: There’s a sense of pride that comes with owning your business’ assets, including its furniture. Similar to the feeling of owning your home or car, owning your organization’s furniture is an empowering and motivating step towards business maturity.
Quality: It’s easier to maintain and care for office furniture you own. Ownership changes the perspective on your cubicles, technology, equipment and more, transforming each from a static object to a tax-deductible, brand-representative investment. On the other hand renting allows some organizations to install higher-quality furnishings within their space than they’d be able to purchase outright. This can prove to be a slippery slope, with that taste in furniture outpacing your actual means — with no real plan to save for the high-quality cubicles you wanted from the start.
Customizations: Rented office furniture will be off-the-shelf. While you lease the exact pieces and styles you want, you have no real say in color schemes, materials, fabrics, patterns or accessories.
Scale: Procuring rental furniture is a quick and relatively straightforward process. In some cases, cubicle rentals can be delivered to your office in as little as 48 hours after lease signing — a convenient turnaround for growing businesses. With owned furniture, those timelines are still straightforward — they just take longer.
Pros and Cons of Renting Office Furniture
Sort subjective preferences from objective costs, concerns and benefits to determine if cubicle rentals are in your best interest.
There are a few undeniable advantages to renting office furniture and cubicles, namely:
Budget leeway: Renting provides immediate access to a range of high-quality, high-end office furnishings for your brand. The accessibility makes rentals an attractive alternative to the traditional method of outfitting an office, especially for new startups or small businesses with limited cash flow. In some cases, rental agreements will be cheaper than financing your purchased office furniture, though not always. Be sensible when shopping and comparing office furniture partners. You want to get clear, direct quotes and vet each dealer to make sure there are no surprise hidden costs.
Flexibility: Furniture rental companies maintain warehouses of ready-to-ship cubicles, seating and storage furniture. Customers complete their rental agreements and can have their selected pieces delivered in a day or two. Once their furniture lease is up, your company then has the flexibility to mix and match new furniture rentals, renew the lease or end it altogether. Short-term furniture commitments can be attractive to some organizations.
Try-before-you-buy bonus: Offices still ironing out their brand representation can rent different furniture lines, testing which one provides ideal form and function.
Consider the downsides of renting office furniture:
Limited designs: With furniture rental companies, what you see is what you get. Cubicle lessors present you with a catalog of furniture options. From that catalog, you select your pieces. There’s practically no dialogue about actual furniture needs, spatial layouts, new product lines or even on-site visits to assess best-fit pieces. You may not even be privy to the latest in office furniture designs and amenities, including accessories like built-in charging stations or electronic portals.
No customization: Just as there’s little choice within a rental company’s pre-existing furniture catalog, there’s little-to-no room for actual furniture customization. You get whatever sizes, colors, fabrics and accessories the lessor maintains in-house.
Total costs: At first glance, your monthly payments on leased furniture may seem like the wise budgetary call. Consider how long you need to rent that furniture: Rentals that extend over years will actually cost your business more in the long run. You might reach point when you’ve spent just as much on rental furniture as you would have on purchased pieces. At this point, it’s easy for a company to slip into a sunk-cost fallacy, continuing to rent because it’s already thrown away so much money.
10 Benefits of Buying New Cubicles
Buying your office’s cubicles offers several advantages — for your employees, your brand and your wallet.
Owning your office’s furniture gives you complete control over what you have in the office. You call the shots on usage, layout, maintenance and, eventually, disposal. Best of all, owning gives you the ability to put your fingerprint on the actual look of each piece, upgrading office aesthetics to match and enhance brand visuals. At the end of the day, you get to do with your furniture as you please. No questions, oversight or stipulations from your furniture outlet.
2. Long-Term Cost Savings
Renting office cubicles may initially seem like an economical choice. You get the exact pieces you need at a lower sticker price, letting you allocate your business’ hard-earned money elsewhere.
However, there’s a clear turning point when those short-term savings switch over into long-term, unrecoverable expenses. The pitfall strikes after just a few years of renting your cubicles. A company reviewing its expenditures will quickly find the accumulated costs of monthly renting has now exceeded what it would have spent on downright purchasing that furniture.
Again, the short-term payment flexibility of leased furniture is good for just that reason — it’s the short term. When you’re looking for furniture for the long haul, renting is not the best way to go.
Ergonomic furniture design aims to create chairs, desks, cubicles and more that are as comfortable to work in as they are functional. The balance of form and function is harder to achieve with leased furniture, which will often be older pieces without the details found on more contemporary designs.
When comfort yet efficiency are top office priorities, it pays to go with an established furniture dealer who can curate the most ergonomic cubicle designs available today.
4. Customer Support
Purchased furniture comes with a manufacturer’s warranty. The coverage gives owners peace of mind in the event of damaged or defective furniture. From cubicle drawers that don’t stay on their tracks to arms falling off conference room chairs to desks that lose balance, you have a go-to maintenance and repair partner. With rented furniture, warranties will be minimal, if they exist at all.
5. Up-to-Date Selection
Newer furniture is more likely to contain the designs and accessories needed in a modern workplace. For example, desk stations today can come outfitted with a full, self-sustained technology suite, from outlets to cabling and built-in charging stations, to name a few.
It’s in a furniture dealer’s own best interest to offer the latest in office cubicle models. A warehouse stocked with cutting-edge, ergonomic office furniture is a key competitive differentiator, propelling sales and increasing customer loyalty.
6. Employee Say
Having control over your own furniture usage and selection affords another key benefit: You can pass that agency onto your employees.
For example, it’s an increasingly popular workplace perk to award employees a workstation stipend. These small allocations let employees pick their own desk decor, decorations and equipment — and sometimes even the cubicle itself. You can even set up a feedback portal where employees submit ideas for ideal workplace furniture. Once a team or office goal is met, management brings that furniture in-house as a reward.
Showcasing high-quality, contemporary and brand-aligned furniture at the office impresses everyone who steps into the space. From new and current employees to visiting vendors, clients and more, that furniture tells the story of your company — who you are, what you’re about and your overall company culture.
Similarly, office expansions broadcast the growth and stability of your organization. These are direct cues signaling the overall health of your brand, which newly purchased furniture only adds to.
8. Brand Representation
Purchased furniture contains by far the greatest scope for customization and hand-selected features. Most often, businesses use office cubicles to highlight brand color schemes. Brand colors can be easily integrated into cubicle wall panels, partition dividers, desk chair cushions and lounge seating.
For a truly creative twist, your company may even look to add various textures or patterns onto its cubicles. This latitude for brand representation simply isn’t possible with rented pieces.
Compared to renting, owning your cubicles increases the amount of care and attention typically paid to your furniture pieces. Just as people tend to invest more into assets they own, you and your staff will likely take better care of your surroundings when you see yourselves as their permanent keeper.
The same logic applies to individual employees with a say in office furnishings and cubicle decor. If someone’s selected their work station personally, they’ll be far more inclined to clean it, maintain it, report maintenance concerns and uphold its overall quality.
In most cases, businesses can categorize the cost of their newly purchased furniture as a business expense. The expenses may qualify as tax deductions, which can add up to some serious annual savings.
Always consult with a tax advisor or accounting expert before writing off your new office furniture. A tax professional can make sure you’re itemizing deductions properly to leverage the full cost-savings potential of office cubicles. An accountant can also help you stay within budget when making your purchase.
Why Choose Sunline Cubicles for Your Office Furniture?
Sunline cubicles are a premier line of contemporary office cubicles available for purchase at prices that are comparable to renting.
Breaking from the boxy, monochromatic cubicle mold, every Sunline cubicle can be customized for size, square footage, color schemes and configuration. There’s even a build your own cubicle option, allowing you to get fingerprint-unique features and designs.
Still looking for reasons to buy new office furniture? Consider what else Sunline cubicles do differently than the rest:
Modular and mobile: Sunline’s cubicles are modular, designed with a unique interlocking sliding panels system. The modular makeup means one of the easiest furniture assemblies, disassemblies and reconfigurations possible to create whatever layouts suit your organization’s space and size.
Perfect-fit cubicle dimensions:Sunline’s catalog of cubicles comes in nearly a dozen square footage configurations, with cubicle wall panels 41″, 53″, 65″ tall. Specialty cubicles have even higher wall panels available (82.5″), plus the option to add custom cubicle doors. This much flexibility ensures you get the exact cubicle dimensions you need to preserve natural light, reduce noise pollution and protect employee privacy while still cultivating a creative, collaborative environment.
On-brand color schemes: Ban boring cubicle walls and partitions from your office. With Sunline cubicles, you select from a range of colored paneling accents, breaking from the traditional sea of gray. You can also select from custom printing and fabric color palettes, as well.
Integrated cubicle accessories: Few cubicle lines contain the integrated and add-on accessories like Sunline’s. From electrical and wiring components to custom filing cabinets, monitor and screen arms, overhead compartments, wardrobe cabinetry, cubicle doors, sit-stand desk integration — and more — you’re hard-pressed to find a similar line with today’s cutting-edge office cubicle features.
Durable surface finishes: Sunline cubicle desks offer modular yet durable desk work surfaces that integrate with the paneling system. The surfaces can be customized with a distinct finish in white, gray, black or several wood grains, matching both your current office aesthetics as well as maximizing the desk’s lifespan.
Standing, sitting — or both: Sunline cubicles can integrate traditional office desks as well as ever-trendy adjustable standing desks. The collection’s modular design and customizable panel heights provide this duality. Sunline even offers its own line of standing desks, which means a cohesive range of work surface colors and finishes matching the rest of the office.
Cost-effective: In many cases, purchasing Sunline cubicles is as affordable as renting. The modular design allows for significant cost-savings compared to traditional stationary cubicles — ones without flexibility or mobility. Plus, every piece of furniture is yours. No cumbersome returns or expensive contract renewals after your initial lease. Just high-quality office cubicles with contemporary designs and features lasting through the years.
Contact Arnold’s Office Furniture for Cubicles Today
Get in touch for a free quote to compare renting versus owning Sunline cubicles for your office. As the exclusive distributor of these top-line office workstations, we know Sunlines like the back of our hands and can answer any question about bringing these premier cubicles to your space.
Rob has more than 25 years of experience in the office furniture business. He has used his extensive knowledge in his role as Senior Vice President to ensure our office furniture meets the needs of the modern corporate office environment and he regularly lends his expertise to various articles posted on the Arnold’s Office Furniture blog. Learn more about Rob!