When setting up a new business, one of the most costly parts of your budget is the cost of furnishing your office. Entrepreneur David Cummings estimates that the cost of furnishing an office is $4,200 per person and this includes buying comfortable furniture, buying desk accessories, and buying a computer for your employee to work on.
Even for a small startup firm that consists of yourself and four other people, that would be $21,000 just to get set up. This figure doesn’t include the cost of actually renting office space.
When you are already planning to spend money on things such as branding and marketing to get your name out there and the actual manufacturing of your product (including the procurement of raw materials), office furnishings may seem like an expense that you can’t afford. However, there are some sensible alternatives to save money, and it starts by realizing that you don’t need to buy everything brand new.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
According to Cummings’ calculations, one of the biggest sections of the office furnishing budget is the cost of a brand new laptop as well as the accessories (e.g. keyboard and mouse) to go along with it. He estimates that you’ll spend $2,000 on the tech alone. You want your employees to have the tools they need to do the work but does spending all this money make sense when many already have their own tech?
One way to benefit from this is to put together a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy that would allow your employees to bring in their devices and do work on them. Companies often avoid this due to security concerns – they don’t want employees taking sensitive files home with them, for example. However, this can all be addressed in your BYOD policy and with proper security training. Not only would this save money but it would allow employees to be more flexible with their work, giving them the ability to work from home.
Buy Second-Hand Technology
If your employees don’t have a laptop (or their personal laptop isn’t up to the task) then there is still a cost-friendly alternative to buying brand new. You could purchase second-hand or refurbished laptops and other technology at a fraction of the cost of brand new. This is especially the case with Apple laptops which can cost around $1,000 if not more. However, when you buy a MacBook Air 11 that has been refurbished, you may pay as little as $399 instead of $1,000 for brand new. MacBook Airs are popular with workers because it is a lightweight device that’s easy to take with them on work trips and to conferences and this is especially the case for the smaller, 11-inch model. The 1TB storage and 4GB RAM models are powerful enough to get work done too. The cost-saving of a refurbished model is a bonus on top of that.
The quality of refurbished MacBooks is generally quite good as well. Refurbished devices from trusted retailers have been tested extensively and confirmed to be in working order – but you’ll pay less for it. Your employees will have access to the tools they need without you having to pay through the nose for it. Phones and computer accessories are also available as second-hand or refurbished, and it’s worth considering these when you source your staff’s equipment.
Buy From Bankrupt Businesses
As you may already know, the world of business is incredibly difficult, and companies enter administration and file for bankruptcy all the time. In doing this, the need to pay off their debtors means that they will start to get rid of things that they don’t need. Bankruptcy may include closing down offices or letting go of employees, and in this case, it means that there is an opportunity for you to purchase from reasonably priced office tech.
The hard part is finding a bankrupt business to buy from. Depending on which country you are in (and depending on the size of the company that’s gone under), there may be a government register where you can get an up to date list. In the UK, for example, there is the bankruptcy and insolvency register. You will also want to keep an eye on local news and the community in general (social media can be helpful for this).
Although there is the temptation of only buying “shiny and new” products, especially when setting up a business, this is not a luxury that everyone can afford. Wouldn’t you rather have financial stability than brand new goods?