The quest to operate a business sustainably always weighs heavily on finances. Especially in a country like Zimbabwe, with a volatile economy, finding ways to minimize operating costs is always a priority. One of the ways in which startups can operate sustainably is by buying certain things that are second hand. The thrust is to buy things cheap so that they spend less. There will obviously be a huge focus on exercising utmost discretion to ensure you are getting good things. In this article, I will be discussing some of those things that startups can buy second hand. Before I get into that, let me touch on some important areas.

Why Second Hand Goods?

There are several reasons why purchasing second-hand goods can be the best fit. Firstly, they are significantly cheaper than brand new ones. Typically, a second-hand item will cost at least 50 per cent cheaper than a brand new item. Buying second-hand goods actually plays out favourably for causes towards environmental sustainability. Buying them ensures that possible pollution is avoided and lessens the use of energy and natural resources towards making brand new items.

Electronic Equipment

It is very possible to find good quality electronic equipment that is second hand. There are many players who are in the business of importing barely used gadgets or refurbished gadgets. These can span from desktop computers, laptops to tablets, printers and smartphones, just to mention a few. Alternatively, you can go to auctions where you are most likely to find such equipment being auctioned. Bear in mind that visiting auctions will definitely apply to all the subsequent things I will discuss herein.

Office Furniture

There is no need to go to purchase expensive office furniture from high-end outlets. You can buy cheap, second-hand office furniture – or even basic furniture that you can turn into office furniture. You can even source antiquated furniture items that you can get up-cycled so that they end looking brand new. Some people do not even realize that some furniture items they see out there are not necessarily brand new. As a startup, there are numerous options you can choose from second hand furniture or office furniture items.


As a startup you might not have the money to purchase a brand new vehicle or vehicles. To curtail that you can opt to settle for a second-hand vehicle. It is commonplace to see most people importing used cars from Japan and so on. Clearly the same is applicable for startups. It is cheaper than having to buy a brand new vehicle – especially having to import it. Even locally you can purchase good second-hand vehicles from local owners. Auctions, as I said earlier are another option that you can explore.


This is a very broad and diverse cluster which can best be informed by your line of business. It can be electrical, agricultural, carpentry, cookery and so on. Most of the handy tools required for use in whatever line of business can be found cheap as second hand and in good condition. I am mainly referring to small wares here since much larger ones can be tricky to get as good second hands. Overall, you must exercise keen discretion when considering to buy second hands.

Electrical Appliances

There is a wide range of electrical appliances that can be easily sourced as second hands. Examples are stoves, refrigerators, TVs and the like. There will always be a need for electrical appliances for startups, especially those with office premises. There are usually exceptionally satisfying margins when buying these items as second hands.


Depending on the nature and scale of a startup, buying a building might be necessary. It is not always financially sound to go and buy a new building. Most people buy old or even dilapidated buildings and later on renovate them to their liking. The principle here is simple, buildings depreciate in value over time thus their value goes down. This is great news for the prospective buyer because they can then purchase the building much cheaper than had it been brand new. Startups should be on the lookout for such buildings as they can be a great asset in the long run.

Remember what I said earlier, exercise extreme caution when buying second-hand items. You must be absolutely sure they are in good working condition. Another important note regards authenticating the source or ownership of the goods in question. It is very possible to buy stolen goods unawares so be very vigilant.