Can you afford to buy cheap?

With the economy as it is, no one wants to spend more than they have to, especially on something as mundane as office furniture, but when you have to it pays to do some research into the market. As with most other purchases, you really do get what you pay for. Cheaper products are often imported from countries where labour is much cheaper, but product quality is also much lower.

You also need to decide what level of service you are looking for. You can save money and buy from a box shifter and live with little or no service, or find someone willing to offer you a professional level of service to go with your purchase. If it’s just a desk for home, then you can probably don’t need to much service, but be prepared for extra hassle if you are putting it together yourself and you find something missing. Professional office furniture dealers will provide an installation service, and if something is missing they will have spares with them. Much less hassle but you have to pay for it.

So going on price alone for new furniture is not necessarily the best option. You might save money but you have to do more yourself. And don’t be taken in by sellers offering massive discounts, as often the retail price has been increased to allow these discounts. Just be guided by the actual price you pay. And look at the detail of the product. Cheap desks have thinner tops with metal frames which look like they have been made in year 6 metal-work.

Furniture ranges which have been designed with some level of style in mind are more expensive to make but will make you much happier, in the same way as a Golf will make you happier getting from A to B than a Trabant.

Guarantees can also catch you out. A 5 year guarantee on a drawer unit sounds great until you read the small-print which says that moving parts are not covered. And guess what is most likely to fail on a drawer unit . The same applies with chairs where quite often the moving parts and the fabric are not covered under the guarantee. So wheels, adjustment mechanisms, gas rams, and fabric are all down to you if they fail. That’s hardly a worthwhile guarantee.

Many super deals are end of line or discontinued ranges. A great deal now, but what happens in 3 months time when you need another desk of storage cabinet. You won’t be able to match what you’ve got and your office will soon look like the showroom you bought the furniture from.

So think very carefully about your purchase and what you actually want it to do, and definitely don’t make price your most important consideration. You should be looking for the best value for money that you can get, and this should be your most important criteria. Value includes service, continuity, product quality and many other factors. The furniture you are buying is probably going to last you for at least 10 years so bear this in mind. Do you want a member of staff costing you £150 a day, sitting in a budget chair costing you less than 2 pence a day?
One day off from backache caused by a badly designed chair (but at least it was cheap), will have cost you more than the chair, at the very least.
Remember if you spend a little too much all you lose is a little money. If you spend too little you could end up losing a lot.