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Local office furniture dealers have honed in on cost-cutting options

Used office furniture options worth considering

Budget Office Furniture, as the name suggests, sells mainly budget and used furniture. Aaron Rents & Sells Furniture has rental or rental purchase options. Bobby Barefield’s Office Furniture sells refurbished furniture. With the rising cost of office furniture and equipment, local office furniture dealers have honed in on cost-cutting options.

Terry Daniels, office administrator of Aaron Rents & Sells Furniture in Ridgeland, which advertises no deposit or credit needed, said business customers typically opt for a rental purchase of new furniture on a 12-month contract or purchase used furniture on a six-month contract.

“We rent on a short-term basis to companies with temporary offices or those that have furniture on order that will take several weeks or months to deliver,” Daniels said. “If a business doesn’t know if it is going to make it, I recommend starting out on a short-term rental. Then, after they are established, they can convert to another plan.”

Short-term rentals cost less, Daniels said.

“It’s not a rental-purchase option,” she said. “Later, we sell used furniture at a discount price.”

Tom Traxler, economic specialist at the Small Business Administration in Jackson, said, “Office equipment and furniture are, of course, some of the biggest expenses involved in business start-ups, and there’s no magic number to put in a budget.”

“Used furniture works well for tighter budgets,” said Kevin Beard, manager at Budget Office Furniture, located in the “extremely yellow building” in downtown Jackson.

“We mainly handle new and used furniture and work with four different companies to provide lease-purchase plans for $1,000 minimum with 12 to 60 months,” Beard said. “However, we do not rent furniture.”

Beard said office cubicles are the most requested items. A few customers look for ergonomically-correct chairs and keyboard trays, which they have available.

“We have a larger used warehouse than new furniture,” he said. “But our volume in sales dollars is far more in new furniture.”

Bill Cook, sales manager of Bobby Barefield’s Office Furniture, said most of their business consists of selling refurbished furniture.

“We get a lot of calls and steer people to refurbished furniture when it seems to be the best option,” Cook said. “We used to call ourselves office furniture recyclers, but the word ‘recycler’ was misunderstood by many people. People often think of recycling in terms of turning aluminum cans into something else. If we clean it up and resell it, we have indeed recycled it, but that’s not the way people looked at it. Also, it was important for us to get our owner’s name back as part of the business name because he had been in retail for 30 years in Jackson.”

One service Bobby Barefield’s Office Furniture doesn’t provide is refinishing wood furniture, Cook said.

Whether new or used, a high percentage of office furniture sold is cubicle systems furniture — panels, work areas, drawer pedestals — consisting of metal, fabric and plastic laminate, Cook said.

“Metals can be sanded and repainted,” he said. “Fabric can be replaced on panels and existing furniture. File cabinets can be repainted.”

Bobby Barefield’s Office Furniture no longer paints onsite, but will loan file cabinets to businesses until theirs is repainted, Cook said.

How much does refurbished save? Depending on the condition and brand name of the furniture, at least 50% of the sale price and up to 80% of the full retail price.

“Our business volume last year ran 50/50 between new and used, but more used furniture went out because of the price difference,” he said. “It can be an up and down business, guessing what will sell — new, used or refurbished.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne Wilbanks Jeter at lwjeter@yahoo.com or mbj@msbusiness.com.


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