Secondhand or rather pre-loved items have always made good business. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. With trends currently being observed in Harare and particularly for businesses that had been operating in the CBD there has been a thrust to move out these offices. Whether they are moving on up or downgrading the office furniture they were using is available and usually, you will find it affordable. There’s a good opportunity to turn this furniture around and sell it on to other people looking for office furniture as a business idea.
The pandemic hit and it really hit hard. It changed the way a lot of things were done and even stopped some things from happening altogether. As a result, a lot of businesses find themselves reevaluating the way they do things and one thing that has not been spared is the huge investment into office space and the trappings that come with it. On the flip side, the same businesses that have reevaluated things have done so in favour of remote working arrangements which ironically create the customer base for this business idea.
Remote working is an idea that had existed in pockets of enlightenment so to speak. The technology was there and perhaps the desire from sections of the workforce but the reason or need for buy-in did not exist. The end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 changed all that with the arrival of coronavirus and even the most archaic of mindsets started waking up to remote working. This coincided with another phenomenon we noticed, investment in the home. It’s logical, people started spending more time in their homes. This was an awakening to many how inadequate their homes were particularly those who had to work from home. So with more opportunities emerging in remote working individuals are investing more in home offices.
Businesses moving out
To add to the supply side for this business is that we have businesses moving out. Harare in particular has seen businesses leaving CBD office space. Granted the businesses are leaving for various reasons and some are simply shifting to suburban homes converted to offices. Some are shutting down altogether who will sell off their office furniture. Others may simply be upgrading or updating office furniture. Regardless of the reason businesses are regularly letting go of office furniture. So there is quite a strong supply side to this business aided by multiple factors.
In many cases and for the specific customers you are looking at pre-used office furniture is in good enough condition to be sold as-is. However, you can always make the case for refurbishing or reupholstering the office furniture. Considers things like office chairs. Firstly people looking for office chairs are doing so because they desire a chair that is comfortable enough to sit in for long stretches. So with gradual use, such things are expected to lose comfort. Secondly, you are looking at home office furniture with an emphasis on home. More often than not people will be willing to spend extra for furniture that looks good above and beyond being functional when it is destined for the home.
In many cases, refurbishment of furniture is not a big job. For example with most types of wood used in office desks making it look new is simply a case of a paint job, sand varnish job or laminate job which is not that hard to execute even for those with limited woodworking experience. Here the idea is to get the furniture to something more visually appealing. The other tricky thing about office furniture is it tends to last for quite some time. What you will find being sold off is likely not with the trends. Fortunately, the trends rest more in colours and finishes than shapes. When it comes to thing like chairs this is really a reupholstery job and I would not want to lie to people and say it is easy.
You’ve got the rationale and the forces behind it, the rest is business as normal. What you are really doing here is facilitating two shifts that are happening concurrently. It stands to reason the cheaper you buy the better your chances of profitability. Do not wait for sales, place ads where you can, advising people you are looking for office furniture and willing to pay.