The ripples caused by the events of 2020 are still being acutely felt as they cause cascading problems to the global supply chain at nearly every level. COVID breakouts are causing factories to start and stop production at random; there are not enough shipping containers to go around; there aren’t even enough truck drivers to alleviate the enormous backlog of containers waiting for pickup at the ports.
What is worse is that most experts agree that these problems are not going away anytime soon, and the problems will only get worse before they get better. They are getting worse fast, too – a container that only a year or two ago would have cost a couple thousand dollars to ship overseas has exploded in price over the last seven months to over twenty grand.
With prices rocketing upwards, it is highly likely that ordering new shipments of various goods produced in places like Asia will simply become untenable for many. This means that access to new items, such as office furniture and equipment, will either be too expensive for the majority of businesses or nonexistent.
So, what is a business that is looking to either change up its office aesthetic or looking to expand into a larger space to do in the meantime? There are two primary solutions, depending on what your company’s needs are: refurbishment of existing furniture and buying used office furniture and equipment.
Solution #1 – Refurbishment
Traditional wisdom for buying new office furniture dictates that you sell off what you have and then buy either new or used replacements depending on your budget. Refurbishing what you have is usually not a cost-effective option, as buying a used set could cost roughly the same.
With the supply chain issues driving up prices for both new and used options, this may need some re-examination. Refurbishment allows you to give your office a fresh, different look without needing to shell out for a completely new set.
Skilled dealers (such as Creative Office Design) can provide a whole suite of refurbishment services, such as custom refinishing, reconditioning, and even reupholstering your current pieces. They can even help redesign your office space to better use your current equipment and space, effectively giving the office a whole new look without exchanging a single piece of furniture.
This solution is primarily for those businesses that are not looking to expand so much as provide their workers with some new equipment and breathe some fresh air into their environment. If your company is experiencing growth and is going to need to move to a larger space, you’re going to need to look at our second solution: buying used.
Solution #2: Buying Used
Despite many challenges and setbacks, there are a surprising number of companies that are experiencing rapid growth during the current fitful economic recovery. With new employees falling out the windows of their tightly squeezed space, they are often looking for new homes, like a hermit crab looking for a larger shell after outgrowing the old one.
New and larger offices means that their old furniture simply is not going to cut it – they need more than what they currently have and often need different kinds to satisfy the new roles that are opening up. For these companies, purchasing a used set is going to be necessary to avoid the shortages caused by shipping holdups.
These companies would be advised to act as fast as possible – as we have seen with used car prices over the last year, used items will be a hot commodity in the coming months and years and prices will rise accordingly. You don’t want to be stuck with a used furniture set that costs as much or more than a new set that will degrade in value quickly once prices normalize in the long term.
Buying used has plenty of benefits outside of being readily available, as well. Used sets are typically kept in stock rather than needing to be custom ordered, so you’ll get them within weeks rather than months. Buying used also reduces the environmental impact of your business, as you’re saving a cross-oceanic trip and giving the factories that produce the pieces a break.