Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the used office furniture market?
The market consists of four main groups: end-users, brokers, dealers and remanufacturers (or refurbishers)
- End-users are the ultimate users of the product and can be both buyers and sellers
- Brokers help the market function by locating buyers and sellers and using their own money to purchase wholesale inventories for resale
- Dealers are usually involved in both new and used furniture, are able to sell out of inventory, and can provide additional services such as design and installation
- Remanufacturers purchase used furniture (specifically systems furniture) and refurbish it into "nearly new" condition. Remanufacturers can sell both wholesale and retail and often provide the same services as Dealers
2. What is "Systems Furniture"
Systems Furniture is the term used to describe the modular office furniture first developed by Herman Miller in the 1960's, and quickly adopted by all the major manufacturers. Systems Furniture consists of separate components that are put together to form "cubicles" or "stations":
- Panels (fabric covered or hard surface, powered or non)
- Overheads (shelves which may be covered by doors or "flippers")
- Pedestals (drawer units)
3. What about used Chairs, Files and Desks?
Chairs (a.k.a. "seating") Files ("casegoods") and desks ("set-in-place furniture") are mostly traded by professionals who can buy big quantities and sell them out of inventory. Outside of some well known styles and brands (Steelcase 3200 desks, Herman Miller Ergon chairs, etc.) there is not much liquidity in the market.
If you are a buyer, you might be able to find what you want but it won't happen overnight. If you have good stuff to sell, it can move quickly.
4. What do I need to know to deal in this market?
The wholesale used furniture market can be volitile for facilities managers and office furniture professionals who are not well versed, if this your first time to but or sell furniture let T.O.S. guide you in the product and services you will need. Whether You should be involved depends on whether you are a buyer or a seller:
Selling into the used market is relatively simple and you only need three things:
- A reasonably accurate inventory
- If possible, a valuation based on the current manufactuer's list price
- Any photo's or supportive material to assist in the selling process
To buy in the used market you really need to know what you are doing!
- particularly if you're trying to furnish a whole office with systems furniture.
The following list outlines the basic requirements for a used furniture buyer:
- In-depth knowlege of the line of furniture you are considering for purchase
- A design blueprint that is flexible enough to adapt to what is available in the market
- Flexibility with respect to colors and finishes
- Adequate lead-time to allow for teardown, delivery and installation
- A qualified installation company that knows the product and knows how to install used furniture
- A source of service and installation parts (the installer may be able to handle this)
- CAVEAT EMPTOR! This is not a market for naieve players and could be dangerous to your financial health if not approached properly
The key thing to remember is that you are buying used furniture! You may get an incredible deal - but you will not be able to design it out of the manufacturer's catalog with every option available.
If you don't know anyone in your area, E-mail us, Call, or send a FAX and we might be able to recommend a qualified dealer or refurber.
Voice: (866) 783-3522.
Systems furniture built by the leading manufacturers is incredibly durable. This is particularly true for the top lines such as Steelcase 9000, Haworth Unigroup and Herman Miller AO. If the product is handled properly it can be put up and taken down many times without damage. Nevertheless, it can be damaged if mishandled. A successful deal requires that the furniture be torn down, packed and re-installed by experienced professionals.
- The convention in the market is that the seller is responsible for tearing down and loading while the buyer arranges (and pays for) shipping.
- If you are buying furniture it is strongly recommended that you inspect it before you buy
- All counts and inventory descriptions are verified upon load out, which means that you or your agent will need to be present when the furniture is loaded
- Unless you know your counter party really well, transactions are C.O.D. If you are buying you may be asked to make a down payment to secure the order
6. So what does The Office Station do?
- The Office Station is an on-line clearinghouse that advertises bids and offers furniture from brokers, dealers and end-users from around the world.
- The Office Station gives you a way to find what you are looking for (a buyer or a seller) by using the information capabilities of the World Wide Web.
- If you execute a transaction through The Office Station, we invoice the listing party for our finder's fee.By acting in this way, we are able to provide complete information to all parties and to offer our services at low cost.
The Office Station uses a few terms and formats that you need to understand:
- Want to Sell means the listing party has the furniture and wants to sell it
- List is the current List Price of the furniture being shown; Wholesale used furniture is often quoted as a percent of the current list price; You can derive a dollar price my simply multiplying the Percent times the List (note that List Prices on the Office Station are quoted in thousands, so a List of "$800" really means $800,000
- Want to Buy means the listing party is looking for the furniture
- The Camera "Icon" means the listing has a photo of the actual product you are purchasing.
- The Identifier tells us the listings brand and location in the U.S for the posting and if clicked will take you right to an email for that load to send to us ("H130497" means Haworth)
- As-is quality means the furniture can be installed with only minor cleaning or touchup
- Refurb quality is only suitable for remanufacturers who will recover the panels and repaint the trim
8. OK, I'm ready to Go! What do I do next?
- If you have product for sale or want to post a want-to-buy listing, you can click here to go into an E-Mail form that will request the information:
List My Furniture
- We prefer you to send your listing by email to Officestation@ameritech.net.
- If you're interesting in a listing that is currently posted on the system, you can click on the Identifier and an E-Mail form will pop up. Alternatively, you can call the number listed above.
9. OK, What does it cost and what are the terms?
It's FREE to list, commission is based on sell price.
10. Who Are We?
The Office Station is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan - home of Steelcase, Haworth, Herman Miller, Trendway, Meridian, American Seating and many other smaller office furniture manufacturers.
The Officestation.com was founded in 1996 by a team of office furniture professionals who have over 55 years of combined experience in office furniture and wholesale brokerage systems. In 1997, O.S. Enterprises Inc, a Michigan corporation, purchased TOS and structured it for the " Internet Revolution". It was the focus of OS to increase real-time service levels, overall responsiveness and position TOS to increase traffic and awareness.
If you're tired of Cyberspace and would like to talk to us in person, the number is (866) 783-3522.
If you're still confused, send us an E-Mail and we'll try to answer your questions. If you want to check out the current listings, click one of the buttons below:
If you would like more information please e-mail The Office Station or CALL us at (866) 783-3522.
Copyright © 1996 The Office Station. All rights reserved. Certain names, logos, designs, titles, words or phrases on this page may constitute trademarks, servicemarks, or tradenames of The Office Station or other corporations.