When your company needs furniture, acquiring new or used (pre-owned) office furniture can be an extremely time-consuming and confusing task. We offer this quick tutorial in “Office Furniture Alternatives” to help you evaluate your options and make good decisions based on your own or your company’s specific workplace needs.

There’s an old truism regarding product evaluation which explains that you can meet 2 out of 3 priority objectives, but never all 3…i.e. “perfection”.

Do you want it Good, Fast, or Cheap? Your answer to this riddle-like conundrum will help prioritize your best option for procuring office furniture.

New office furniture is generally classified as “Commercial” or “Contract”. Commercial furniture items are mass produced and generally “in-stock” inventory items that are offered in limited sizes and finishes and are readily available. Commercial items are likely to be cheaper and faster, but may not be a good match for your needs and preferred specifications. Contract furniture items are produced using “Just-In-Time” manufacturing, meaning that they are produced only after your order has been placed and manufactured to your individual specifications. There are often many size and finish permutations to select from, and availability varies depending on each manufacturer’s current production schedule. With Contract furniture you pre-select each of the specific attributes that you want. The trade-off for this “perfection” is that Contract furniture generally costs more than a mass-produced Commercial item and is likely to take much longer to manufacture and ship. It’s not unusual for Contract items to take a standard 4-6 weeks or even 10-12 weeks in busy times from order to shipping date. This timing will vary depending on current economic conditions, raw materials supply and demand, and manufacturing production backlog (such as due to COVID).

Used office furniture, often referred to as “pre-owned” furniture, requires very little labor or production time (possibly some reupholstery, cleaning or other refurbishment) and is generally in-stock and readily available. Product cost is just a fraction (20-50% of its original purchase price, which means that you can get better quality furniture faster and at a lower cost than new furniture, if you are willing to forego getting exactly what you want.

Once you’ve decided whether new (commercial or contract) or pre-owned furniture is going to be the best fit for your priorities, there are additional considerations to going out and simply purchasing furniture.

End-of-useful-life – is a very critical and most overlooked consideration when looking at the big picture of office furniture acquisition and ownership. It is something that many customers suddenly and painfully came to realize when faced with the recent health crisis.

  • Will it be advantageous for your company to own office furniture?
  • Is convenience and flexibility a higher priority?
  • What will happen to the furniture when your lease ends and you need to move?
  • What if you no longer need that furniture for a variety of typical reasons including downsizing, renovating your workspace, or a significant change in workplace trends like we have just experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Renting or leasing furniture is one way to address the problem of what to do with “no-longer-needed” used furniture. Because you never actually own the furniture, when your rental period or lease contract ends, the rental company or leasing agent will be responsible for removing and handling that furniture. If you retain ownership of the furniture you will incur additional costs for moving the product and also costs for either storage or redesign, refurbishment, and re-installation of that product to suit a new lease space.

Pear Project Services is a brand neutral provider of used or “pre-owned” office furniture. We sell, rent, or lease quality pre-owned furniture to your company based on your priorities . Whether you want it “Good, Fast, or Cheap” we are here to help you evaluate all options to make a more informed decision!

Case studies to follow or ask us for analysis of your specific situation.