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How to outsource buying furniture for your startup’s office

You’ve just closed your seed round and it’s time to move out of your co-working space into a big boy office.  You’ve gone through the surprisingly tedious process of finding a space and signing a lease, and now it’s time to furnish it.

You’re probably realizing that having your own office space is more expensive than you thought.  The last thing you want to do is spend a lot on office furniture.  The other last thing you want to do is spend time getting office furniture, rather than growing your business.

Here’s a trick I used to save hours of time and hundreds of dollars furnishing LawnStarter’s first office space.  I outsourced it.

Outsourcing Your Office Furniture

If you don’t have an overseas virtual assistant yet, you should get one (or several).  Hit him up, and ask him to share a google spreadsheet with you.  Then create a tab each type of furniture you’re looking for.

Ask your VA to search Craigslist listings for all of these.  Have him paste pictures, links and descriptions in.  Then you review them and tell him what you’re interested in.

Here’s the fun part: make a deal with your virtual assistant that he gets 25% of whatever he negotiates off the price of the furniture.  Set him up with a Google Voice and Gmail account and instruct him to message the Craigslist sellers over SMS or email.

Here are a couple negotiations involving TV dashboards for the office (which I believe to be extremely important):

startup-office-space-negotiation

startup-office-space-negotiation
(The original asking price for ^this one was $250 – Jose made himself a nice commission) 

 

If you’ve hired the right VA, they will go HAM on the negotiation.  Remember, their normal pay rate is $1-3 per hour, so if they save you $100, they make several days’ wages.

Tell him to report back the good deals he gets, and once you’ve approved of the amount you want to pay, ask your assistant to negotiate for delivery.  Then have your VA send the seller your phone number to arrange the final logistics.

This is how we got our TVs, power strips, and twenty-some office chairs.  Between the time it would take to browse through Craigslist, contact the sellers, and negotiate a deal, I’d imagine I saved a couple dozen hours with this trick.

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