This week: sitting pretty when it comes to saving money on office furniture and equipment.
Andy Yates, entrepreneur and director of Huddlebuy.co.uk, the daily deals site for entrepreneurs, gives Real Business readers regular top money saving tips to help business owners save thousands of pounds.
Tip 1: Furnish yourself with some online bargains
Consumers shouldn’t have all the fun. A quick internet search can yield some big savings for business owners around the office if you know where to look.
Office Furniture Online does what is says on the tin, claiming to provide 10,000 furniture items at discounted prices. For example, a quick search for leather office chairs under £100 yielded plenty of decent results. Another good alternative is Office Supermarket. Both sites offer guides on how to pick the right furniture.
Tip 2: Second hand doesn’t have to be second best
Second-hand furniture can be a great way of securing some big savings. For example Want Don’t Want.com is a good site to browse for local deals on new or second hand furniture. Users can even request items from the website and be informed when items become available. Office Interiors and Office Furniture Solutions 4U are other handy links.
But when it comes to second-hand furniture and office equipment, then some of the established internet bargain-hunting hot spots are a great bet. Yes, it takes some sifting and filtering, but it can be well worth the effort.
Gumtree allows you to drill down to your area or you can go straight to the Office Furniture and Equipment sections. Similarly global listings phenomena Craigslist and Freecycle, the free recycling initiative can be rich sources of second-hand bargains if you drill down and find things in your local area.
Then there is the big daddy of them all – eBay but more on how to find some good eBay suppliers later.
Tip 3: Comparatively easy
Fed up of wading through lots of listings? There is a potentially easier way. Well-trodden comparison sites including Kelkoo, Price Runner and Price Grabber can also be used for office furniture and equipment, combing the internet for the best prices from the bigger online stores such as Amazon and Argos. You can search by price range so that you stick within a budget.
Tip 4: Would you credit it?
It is not nice to think about a business having to close down – especially given the blood sweat and tears that British business owners put into their enterprises. But of course it does happen, and at least furniture and office equipment can be recycled to other businesses that need it.
Local auctions may also be a good hunting ground. One good source to find out about local auctions is Esources, which allows users to search for local auctions specialising in office furniture and equipment.
Yell is another good resource for searching for auctioneers and removal services locally. While Vista Street will allow users to scout out office clearances
Tip 5: Find a profitable path through the eBay jungle
As outlined before, eBay can be a bit of a jungle, but we've cut through the undergrowth for Real Business readers to find some great eBay office suppliers:
- Whiteley Sales – a big range of office equipment including laminators, printers, shredders, binders, fax machines, scanners, staplers and other office supplies
- IT in Stock – New and refurbished business equipment
- Label Heaven – good prices on printer and photo paper in a range of sizes and A4 labels
- Sonic Phones – coffee machines to phone equipment
Tip 6: Well equipped
There are number of specialist office supply sites that are good for general office equipment:
Euroffice has good deals on office equipment, including storage, binders, paper products and ink cartridges.
Phew! It is fair to say the world of office furniture and equipment is a cluttered and confusing one, but with a bit of patience and perseverance you can make some major savings.
Next time: How to save big money on energy and utility bills.