Saturday, June 7, 2008

How To Get Rid of Used Office Furniture

I recently interviewed a furniture dealer in Manhattan named Adam Bacall. Adam shares some great information about how to get rid of used furniture.
Larry: Let me ask you another question. Let’s say that the tenant has some existing furniture. Maybe he doesn’t need to use all the existing furniture. Maybe he’s replacing it or relocating it somewhere else. What’s the best way to dispose of a tenant’s existing furniture?

Adam: Well, I always ask the question if my tenants have existing furniture. The reason I ask it is because my first question is always do you plan to reuse it? I didn’t mention it to you before but Office Furniture Heaven sells both refurbished office furniture and very well priced new office furniture. We typically marry that up for our clients which effectuates a savings of about 30% when they compare us to—I’ll say minimally 20, let’s start there and upwards of that. So we’re looking really to get them to save money. So my first question is do you have existing? If the answer is yes, that’s a reason for me to meet with them in their offices and it’s a reason to look at what they’ve got – let me look at the manufacturers, let me look at some old bills, let me look at what they’ve got because I may have something refurbished that might work or on a new basis that could work, that could relate well to their existing furniture, that they could take with them to a new office.

So the first thing is always to think about what you want to take with you and inevitably things like filing cabinets, you should certainly take with you. If they’re unsightly, you can put them in the back office or storage area. Things like metal pedestals that go under the desks, drawers, sets of drawers, those can be reused in workstations very often. So those are item that I wouldn’t just be so quick to throw away.

The best way to get rid of your tenant’s existing furniture as it’s built into every lease in Manhattan that all tenants need to deliver their space broom swept, what they have to do is they have to, number one, one option and the easiest option is do they know of a tenant in the building who might be moving in that could use their furniture? The way you ask that question is I would always speak to the superintendent of the building or the property management office, avail them of the fact that you have some furniture you want to sell—

Larry: Is that something that you do?

Adam: I actually recommend first because—I actually recommend first to see if the property manager of the building may know some tenants who are moving in that I’m not aware of. If that person knows some tenants, then there are some photographs that exist or an inventory that exists of the furniture, which, by the way, a tenant should automatically do no matter what because regardless of who they sell it to or if they decide to throw it out, they need an inventory. So it’s really important to hold on to your old invoices of the furniture you buy because it’s going to really help you specify and tell people what you have.

So the first and the easiest way is to give it to a tenant that’s moving in the building. It doesn’t happen that often but it happens on occasion.

In the absence of that, they can call somebody like me. We are very particular about the furniture we buy but if they have a couple of photographs and they have a picture of the typical recurring theme, I can let them know very quickly if it would warrant an onsite inspection or not.

If it doesn’t warrant an onsite inspection and it’s not for me, which may be the case, then they have the opportunity to donate the furniture. There are several companies that will take the donations if they have the room. While every company will charge you to remove it including the people you donate it to you, you get a tax credit for the donation. So that’s sort of like in the worst of circumstances, at least you can donate the furniture, someone else can use it and you know, you’re not just throwing it out and it’s a big expense.

Something to keep in mind is that, you know, liquidating your furniture and throwing it out doesn’t really confer a benefit to you. It just gets rid of your problem, you know, whereas donating it does or selling the furniture. There are always options like eBay and there are always options like Craigslist. The problem with that is someone has to manage that. If you have someone in your office who can manage that process and take the inquiries, that’s great. If not, I think your best bet, if you’re going liquidate or you’re going to throw it out, is to speak to your existing building management and have them do it. Once you hire an outside party to come into a building and it’s a union building or whatever it is, there are huge amounts of costs for carting and for lots of other things.

Larry: That’s a good point.

Adam: So a tenant should really look within, you know, look within. I think Jackwell said it, you know, look within first and see what your options are and then move to the outside from there.

Larry: I’m sure, Adam, that you could be a good resource for them to find where to liquidate it or to who to donate the furniture as well. Is that right?

Adam: Yeah, definitely. I have sources that—you know, people come to me and I would say, to be fair, nine times or eight and a half times out of 10, we don’t take the furniture that people are looking to sell. We’re looking for something very particular and people should keep this in mind when they buy the furniture because there are other folks like me.

When you’re buying furniture, it has to work if you’re going to reuse it for other projects, you know. So very often, it’s such a shame that you see lawyers throw out custom-built desks and custom-built conference tables that only are good in as-is-where-is condition. If they’re not if the space isn’t being released in the exact same—and it hardly ever is—in the exact same configuration, it makes no sense to have those kinds of things. What makes sense to have is modular furniture and I’m not just talking about workstations. I’m talking about desks that are handed or you have, you know, an extension coming off the desk that you could switch to the left or to the right hand side so that it can be reused.

Think about—when I’m looking to buy furniture for project purposes, I’m looking to resell it to another company like the company out there. So we want to get things that are consistent for the most part. If every office is different, it’s difficult.

Larry: Well, Adam, you mentioned that your clients or potential people that you work with can contact you for some resources. How can they get—how can they reach you?

Adam: Best way would be by email at abacall@officefurnitureheaven.com. We have a website www.officefurnitureheaven.com and they would be able to email me there. I answer all my emails. I get back to everybody even if you’re selling me something. So I’m happy to talk to anybody.

1 comment:

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