If you’re starting a business, shopping for used cubes is probably the most cost-effective route to furnishing your new office. Sure, it might be nice to have a brand-new, state-of-the-art office setup, but you’ll probably have to kiss making a profit goodbye for a while if you go this route.
Not only are used cubicles cheaper, they’re also more environmentally friendly (think of all the office furniture you could potentially be saving from a landfill!)
Of course, there are some drawbacks to going with pre-owned furniture. You might not have as wide of a selection, used models will have wear and tear, and you might be responsible for moving and assembling the cubicles.
Still, even with these potential pitfalls, there’s a huge market for used office furniture, which means you have a good chance of finding cubicles to fit your taste and budget.
To help you navigate buying used cubes, we’ve created this handy buyer’s guide.
What to buy:
Before you start shopping for used cubicles, there are several factors you should consider including:
- Your budget – How much are you planning to spend on cubicles and other office furniture?
- Number of employees – How many cubicles will you need to purchase?
- Size of office – How much space will you have to fit workstations? Arnolds Office Furniture offers space planning and design services to help you come up with the best plan for your office space. There is also that can help you with the process.
- Type of work – How much workspace will each of your employees need? If they just need a phone and a computer, smaller cubicles should be fine. However, if they need additional storage, they might need larger desks.
- Type of office – What type of atmosphere would you like in your office? If you are looking for a more open, collaborative work environment, look for cubicles with lower walls so that employees can easily talk with one another. If your employees will need more privacy and quiet workspace, purchase cubicles with higher walls.
- Aesthetic – How do you want your office to look? If you’re looking for a sleeker, more modern-looking office design, plan on spending a little more for more “gently used” models.
- Deadline – How quickly do you need to furnish your office? If you don’t need to furnish your office right away, you’ll have more time to shop around in your newspaper classifieds or websites like eBay. Just keep in mind you might be responsible for moving and installing the furniture yourself. If you’re on a tight deadline, however, it’d be wiser to go through a furniture dealer where there’s a guaranteed selection as well as delivery and installation services.
- Setup – How comfortable are you putting together used cubes? If you purchase your workstations through newspaper or web-based classifieds, you’ll more than likely be responsible for assembling them. Many furniture dealers offer installation services for a few hundred dollars.
How much to pay:
How much you spend on your used cubicles really depends on several factors including:
- Where you buy them
- The size of the workstations
- How many you need
Currently, on Craigslist there’s a listing for a six-cubicle set for $400 or best offer, or you can purchase small-sized individual workstations for as little as $100-$300 a pop. The price for name brands like Steelcase or Herman Miller is generally higher. For larger workstations, name brands can start at $1,000-$2,000 per station.
You might be able to find dirt-cheap workstations in your local classifieds or online, but the quality might not be what you’d like. Buying from a furniture dealer could cost a little more, but chances are the dealer has at least cleaned the furniture and accounted for all the pieces needed for setup.
Where to buy:
- Furniture Dealers – At furniture dealers like Arnolds Office Furniture, you’ll be able to browse a wide selection of name-brand used cubicles to fit your budget. Chances are, the workstations will be higher quality (some dealers refurbish worn furniture before selling it) and you’ll be able to view photos online. In addition, furniture dealers are more likely to offer delivery and assembly services to save you time and headaches.
- Classifieds – Check your local newspaper or an online classifieds site like CraigsList for used cubicles. You might find offices that are looking to sell their furniture because they are going out of business or looking to upgrade. The advantage to shopping locally is that you can see the cubicles in person before buying. Keep in mind, the furniture will be sold as-is, meaning it might be more beat up then you’d like, and you’ll probably be responsible for picking up and assembling the workstations.
- eBay – The online auction site has more than 1,000 listings for cubicles: some being sold individually, others in lots. Obviously, with eBay you can name your own price and you have the opportunity to snag a really great deal if you’re on a tight budget. However, if you’re on a tight deadline, this might not be the best route.