The false economies if reusing commercial furniture in an office space
We look at a few different scenarios and none of them prove themselves to be the money saver a tenant might think. In fact it can cost a tenant more!
As Facility Managers we are often asked by the Landlord to assist with the “make good” to remove everything from the tenancy prior to the builder’s starting work. This includes removing all the furniture, tables, appliances and other unattached items which the previous tenant didn’t want and left behind as part of their settlement at the conclusion of their lease.
The tough part for us, is arranging the disposal of what appears to be perfectly good office furniture. It seems such a waste. There must be somebody that can benefit from it. But, actually, there isn’t or there are very few. There are plenty of false economies in keeping the furniture, to explain:
Essentially the furniture disposal has been paid for by the previous tenant in their final negotiations, so, we decided to ring a charity and see of they can benefit from the furniture. Good deed, random act of kindness and all that, it seems like a “win win”…………no!
Three did not want to know about it, one was quite rude, and another came and had a look and that was it.
The charity has to arrange for labor to come to site, dismantle the furniture, remove the furniture to a truck, store the furniture, possibly rebuild the furniture either in their store or in an office some where, and there is a risk in terms of being liable if the furniture should break and there is an injury at the new location. The charity has to pay for this labor, and manage this risk.
The cost of the labor for this used furniture versus buying new furniture, which is assembled by the vendor, comes with warranty and guarantees, simply doesn’t “stack up”.
The greatest danger is that the furniture is “weakened” because it has been disassembled and reassembled more than once, consequently, there is a risk of structural integrity which leaves an incumbent safety risk for both the seller and the purchaser.
Think about it!
Imagine your office, you have obtained and installed this furniture into your office, its integrity is compromised, one of your staff members sits on a corner of the desk (not an unusual situation) the desk fails and your employee has hurt their back in the fall.
You now have all the inconvenience and indirect costs associated with this injury. You also have a liability exposure because you obtained and installed the furniture, Does your insurance cover this scenario?
If the furniture was new, this liability is borne by the vendor of the furniture, and, you have maintained your “Duty of Care” regarding the integrity of the furniture or (moved it to the furniture vendor)
Sell it on a web site
There are two options, both fail.
Given there will only be a small window of time to remove the furniture from the existing tenancy before the builders will start (of the new tenant moves in), then, either you can sell it directly from the building or you can dismantle the furniture, remove the furniture, and sell it from another location.
This is hard work for several reasons:
To sell the furniture from the building, will typically mean an after hours visit by the potential purchaser. If they agree to buy the furniture there is the logistics of having them come back and pick it up with a truck and this will also be after hours.
To Sell the furniture from another location means dismantling and removing it from site, storing it and then hoping you actually sell it. There are costs here, including storage. there is risk and liability which you have no insurance for.
Not to mention the wasted time in people whom are interested, you arrange the meeting and they decide they don’t want the furniture. If you are selling the old furniture form the office space, this puts pressure on you to reduce the price and sell it fast as you do not want to be responsible for the delay the builder or the new tenant form moving in.
Was it Worth It
Have you ever reused office furniture and found it just simply wasn’t worth it, by the time you have paid for dismantling, moving, reassembly, and worried about the structural integrity and W.H.S risk exposure for your staff, would it have been more economical to have paid for new items?