9 Tips for Equipping Your Startup’s Office on the Cheap

by / ⠀Startup Advice / October 20, 2010

When starting a business, you are faced with a lot of expenses. You need to consider what kind of office furniture that you will purchase, what software your company will use, and how you will handle your HR and accounting staffs. Here are several ways to cut your expenses without sacrificing the quality of your business.

1. Invest in office chairs: The comfort of the chair increases the productivity. If your employees cannot get comfortable within their chair, they are not focusing on the tasks at hand. Make sure that the chairs are adjustable and that they are large enough to accommodate larger employees. You can pick up some great chairs at used office furniture stores and thrift shops for significantly less than new chairs.

2. Think before you buy: Are you going to be using this giant conference room table every day? Do you have a conference room? Do you need a gigantic coffee machine if there are only a few people within your office? Only purchase the item if it will not be gathering dust.

3. Do not get a phone system: Your employees use cell phones and instant messaging to talk to one another. Train your customers to use instant messaging and email. Designate a cell phone as the public phone of the company, but do not worry about transferring calls and putting calls on hold when your business is beginning. Explore the features of Google Voice, a service you can use to track and record calls.

4. Outsource: As a startup owner, you probably do not need to have a dedicated accountant or human resources person. Outsourcing is cheaper. You do not have to pay to keep a roof over their heads, nor do you need to deal with the paperwork of taxes. There are several services, including administration, accounting, legal, programming and human resources that you can outsource to save money.

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5. Do not immediately invest in software: Consider saving money by using open source alternatives to major software packages. OpenOffice offers similar applications to licensed programs, including word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings and databases, to make your office flourish.

6. Learn the art of negotiation: Negotiation is an important weapon in any business owner’s arsenal. Remember that there is no service which is set in stone. Shop around for the best services and take them back to your first choice. See if your favorite vendors will offer you a discount for not going to their competition. Do not be afraid to stand up and ask for discounts.

7. Procrastinate on the purchase of office space: Startup businesses do not have every factor set in stone. You may have a general idea of where you believe your company is going, but the real details are still up in the air. Do you need to purchase office space immediately? Do your customers see your office, or are most of your transactions performed online? You may find that it is just as easy to conduct business out of your home office.

8. Invest in bulk products: Look for bulk discounts. If you choose to set up an office, you will need toilet paper to stock in the bathrooms. By going to a wholesaler, you can receive discounts for something which never goes bad. The same principle goes for office supplies. Every company has a use for pens, paper, and post-it notes.

9. Trade: There are small businesses around your area who need your products or services. Chances are, you need their services. When you barter, you create mutually beneficial relationships. You also teach others that you have more to offer than your cash. Information and products are sometimes worth quite a lot more than the money paid.

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Starting up your business is an expensive proposition. You are faced with the prospect of buying office furniture, computers, and software for a lot of employees. Look into the possibilities of telecommuting. Do not be hasty to jump into a several year lease for new business proposition. When you save money now, you will have more money for when you know exactly what you want.

James Adams writes for OfficeKitten.co.uk, a leading UK based office supplies offering everything a business could need.

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.