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New versus Used: What to Consider When Evaluating Furniture Options

With an eye on reducing costs, organizations often evaluate the purchase of used furnishings for their new workplaces. While used furniture savings may appear considerable, buyers must take into account a series of underlying factors in their decision making process: hidden costs, quality concerns and the overall effectiveness of used furniture to support business needs. These issues can significantly dilute the potential value of used furniture by affecting the bottom line during and after the initial purchase, reducing employee satisfaction and diminishing the overall work environment.

1. Hidden Cost — Indirect Cost Prior to and After Purchase

If the lowest initial purchase price is the only driving factor of a business decision, used furniture will most likely be the least expensive choice. However, if the hidden costs are factored into the decision, new furniture is often a better return on investment. Typically, a used furniture purchase forces a customer to buy more product than required for the new configuration because used furniture is sold in an “all or nothing” package. This results in “overbuying” with the unused excess product requiring warehousing and handling over the long term.

2. Quality Concerns — No Provision for Product Performance Assurance

Rarely is purchasing furniture a single, one time transaction. Most customers need access to product and services over the lifespan of their work environment. Basic workplace maintenance and evolving needs mean that customers need the confidence that a furniture manufacturer stands behind the quality of its products and that, from installation on, a dependable dealer is there to service the product.

3. Ineffectiveness — Lack of Alignment with Business Needs

When furnishing a workplace, buyers are purchasing more than just static objects; they are typically buying a series of inter-related components that combine to form a system, And to be effective, that system’s configuration and capabilities must match the needs of the client workplace and work processes over both the short and longer terms.


The initial low price of used furniture seems like a straightforward financial decision—until the hidden costs, reduced quality and ineffectiveness associated with used furniture are taken into consideration. In today’s competitive business environment a well-planned thoughtfully designed workplace is essential to employee retention, productivity and collaboration. New furniture addresses all these considerations, and optimizes flexibility over the short and long term. Ultimately, purchasing new furniture from a single source for initial and on-going product and service needs allows the customer greater buying power over the life of a workplace.