2017 was our busiest year yet. It was proceeded by our next busiest year (2016). It’s gone by rather quickly! We liquidated around 800 workstations in 2017 about 300,000 sq ft of total office space, and we provided furniture for approximately the same scale. We kept hundreds of tons of furniture and equipment out of the landfill, and helped many non-profit organizations with both furnishing their space, and assistance with liquidation. We’re looking forward to a productive 2018!
Economists define ‘luxury goods’ as those items that are used in greater quantity as income goes up. Take for example designer purses- the more income an individual has the more likely that individual will purchase a Gucci purse. Someone who makes a million dollars a year is far more likely to use her resources to buy an expensive purse versus a student who is working part time in a library. But if that student gets a huge increase in income, the chances that a designer purse (or any luxury good for that matter) will be purchased rises.
If environmentalism is actually a luxury good, the assertion is then made that individuals and nations that have wealth are far more likely to be concerned about the environment than poorer individuals and nations. If your immediate concern is simply feeding your family, you’ll be less likely to be sensitive of the sustainability of the type of food you’re providing.
That isn’t to say that there is a greater emphasis of value of the environment by those with wealth, rather, environmental concerns simply aren’t as pressing in decisions made by those without a great deal of disposable income.
As I ponder this idea of environmental awareness as a luxury good I’m (or course) inclined to think about used office furniture. There aren’t a lot of assets that I can think of that satisfy both the budget minded, and green minded consumer as used office furniture can do. We’re able to provide a service that is inherently green in its execution, as well as provide a good that isn’t carrying a great premium, where a consumer is forced to decide between saving money or saving the environment.
The opposite of luxury goods are called ‘inferior goods’. These are things that we buy more of as income goes down (think of ramen noodles for example). Inferior goods are, typically inferior. Typically there is a big trade off associating with the consumption of inferior goods (think of ramen noodles vs. handmade pasta), we’re forced to downgrade to something with less cost if we have less income. Used office furniture doesn’t work like that- usually the customer receives something of greater value with the built in advantage of an environmentally wise move.
By considering used office furniture, the customer is able to invest in a luxury good (environment) without the typical associated costs. This is a unique situation that should give pause to the consumer who is shopping for their work place.
In life we must face decisions that arise from the scarcity of our limited resources; time, functionality, and money are the three that affect business processes the most. Dealing with scarcity is at the heart of all economic considerations.
When a company makes decisions regarding office furniture they’ve got a lot to consider. What are their density requirements? What’s their style? Do they need the space furnished quickly? Some clients find that they have very specific needs that can only be met with a new custom order, but many find that the cost savings of buying used, coupled with the rapid deployment that as-is furniture can provide will give them the most value in their furnishing decisions.
There are certainly advantages in buying new furniture; colors, finishes, and exact specifications can be met. LCOF can typically provide used options that meet, or in many cases exceed the expectations of the client. And when the quotes are compared between new and used options, the choice becomes much clearer.
With used furniture the client can receive a higher quality type of furniture for a far less expensive price than a lower quality new product.
Flexibility in design often results in strength of design. Take, for example, the wings of a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet, which can bend up to thirteen feet up and down. What would happen if these wings were stiff? They’d snap. This isn’t to say that flexibility is the main objective in their design, but it’s a feature which allows a greater range for the wings to perform their job.
Designing an office space often feels like designing a singular engineered object. We have to weigh the permanence (which often implies aesthetics, privacy, etc.) of a workspace vs. the flexibility. Some users have rapid growth as priority, so they want furnishings which are highly moveable, expandable and customizable. And some users prefer to have a more established design which often requires hard-wall construction, etc. Some of those users might have a clear sense of where they’re going in facilities for years to come. Whatever the design, the value of flexibility is integral from the onset.
We want to furnish a space with the possibility of changing style, accommodating any number of factors which will be in flux. Used furniture provides the possibility of flexibility by saving money from the onset, which allows greater budgets for other things in the future, including more furniture. Modular furnishings particular lends itself to great flexibility of design. As a value-added proposition for the end user, we can plan spaces that can allow for change and growth.