Home Office on a Shoestring
Of course, a home office would be terrific, but you are just starting a business and don't want to put scarce capital into furnishings. What's a thrifty business person to do?
1. Hit the yard sales! I'm not a yard sale junkie normally; in fact my last two purchases were a desk for my son at $2.50 and a two-drawer filing cabinet for $3.50. Granted, they each needed a sponging off, but both were in great condition and have served us well for four years now. My desk, solid maple with four broad drawers, was a pricier $20 second-hand.
Shelves can also be found at yard sales, and are very versatile for the home business start-up. They can hold reference material, computer media, equipment and even your iced tea (because there are strict rules about drinks never being on the computer desk.)
2. Use what you have. TV trays often wander into our home office to give us a larger workspace temporarily; great for stuffing a few envelopes while checking email or waiting for programs to load (don't you hate those stolen minutes?) See Streamline your business with a Home Office for more ideas.
3. Shop the discount stores. Files can be kept temporarily in cardboard file boxes from the office supply centers. It's far better to invest in the folders (hanging and tabbed), taking the time to set up an efficient filing system in boxes, than to have your home business capital gobbled up by fancy filing cabinets for the first year or so.
Paper for your in-house use can be the economy type from the big-box store, but keep some top quality paper on hand for important communications.
A chair, I've found, MUST have wheels and rotation. I haven't had any luck getting these second-hand (they're always broken). But I did start with the economy model from the discount store -- I've now graduated to one that has arms. Always test your chairs to make sure they are suited to your proportions - one size does NOT fit all.
Unless you are often meeting clients in a home office (most who work at home aren't), having posh furnishings is not an effective way to spend capital during the start-up phase of a home business. The main essential at this point is to have a space designated and dedicated to your work (see Do I need a home office?) So to keep expenses down during your home business start-up, get your furnishings at a discount and use what you have on hand. Put the word out to friends who ‘do' yard sales that you need office furnishings; maybe you'll get a call some Saturday morning with a smokin' deal on a $125.00 filing cabinet for $14.00. You never know.
Call me at (623) 337-8990 to find your home office ready property in the Phoenix area. Or search for properties on my website at http://www.homekey.org/