What does your company do with old office furniture? 

It all depends on 3 factors:

  1. Where you are located

  2. what kind of furniture you have

  3. timing (are you moving quick? do you have a few months to try and maximize value?)

I can tell you a bit about how the used office furniture market in the NE of the United States and the NYC metro area and your options .

Biggest issues you need to have in mind come from your lease.

  1. Most NYC are landlords require a space be empty and broom swept at the end of the lease term.

  2. Most landlords require a Certificate of Insurance (often with 5-10mill excess policy) from any mover you have operating in the building. (ask your landlord to see their COI requirements)

Sell)

  1. Tenant - Tenant moving into your old office or landlord- This is always your best bet. If you are leaving a space and new tenant wants to buy your furniture, you hit the jackpot. You avoid the expense of KD (knock down), moving, storing, redeliver and installation to the new location.

For a deal like this, you can make your first bid around 25%-30% of what you paid originally for nice product in good condition. After that I would advise you agree to almost any offer the new tenant comes up with because, this will be the cleanest transaction available to you, and when companies are moving, there are always other things to take your attention.

2)End user- If your company has a relationship with another company that can buy the furniture, this can be a good route also. The trick is finding 2-3 buyers that can purchase and remove 80% or more of the furniture. (sellers usually want to get rid of everything while buyers only want what they need for their new offices)

3) Office Furniture Liquidator (that's me)

Liquidators are in the business of buying and selling furniture. Most of us maintain warehouse space to store furniture for sale, so we are able to liquidate everything from a office space (cubicles, file cabinets, desks, tables, chairs ect.) Liquidators make a profit selling furniture after paying labor to remove it, truck it, store and market it. Therefore, the amount of money you will likely get for your furniture is very low relative to an end user (1-5% of original purchase price on most types types of furniture)

Donate) I love this option when it works. Personally, I have been able to connect non-profits, schools and houses of worship with trucks of good furniture dozens of times. The big issue here is always about timing and finding the right fit for the right non-profit.

Recycle & Trash) When furniture is past is useful life you will hire a mover, liquidator, demo company or landlord to KD and remove furniture. This company will separate the garbage such as wood from the recyclables such as metal and paper. [today we pay several hundred dollars to dump a truck of garbage while we are paid to dump a truck of metal]

Few more thoughts -Some easy to move items have high value on the used furniture market such as Herman Miller Aeron chairs. Today you can get 15-50% of what you paid for one of these depending on how many you have and who you sell it to.

-Larger cities like NYC, Boston, LA, Chicago have more liquidators that smaller cities. Those of us who work in liquidations in larger cities are more selective about the inventories we buy because so much is available as big leases end every single month. Buyers in smaller cities are often more flexible on what they can take in.

  • The best way to get a few estimates from liquidators is to take a few photos of the items you have and email them out. I get several calls a day asking me to come take a look at someones office. For time management reasons, unless someone tells me they have over 50K sq feet, I usually only look at offices I have previewed photos of ahead of time.

  • Time = Money The more time you have a space, the more money you can make from the furniture. The less time, the less money or the larger the charge to take it out. Quick rush costs more and reduces the value.

  • I am happy to take a look at your office furniture liquidation projects anywhere in North America and would be happy to respond with my thoughts or to connect you with a local liquidator: joshua@ibuyofficefurniture.com

(reprinted here, I put this article on reddit in 2014 in response to a question on a small business subreddit)