Where Can I Buy Cheap Office Furniture?

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I need to get a few things, like a computer desk, office chair, filing cabinets, etc, in order to set up my home office (I'm working remotely for my company on a freelance basis, but will hopefully be turning it into a full time home business).

I want to get good quality furniture and supplies, but I'm not that keen on taking on board second hand equipment - mainly because it's a hassle if something relatively expensive breaks and there is no guarantee left on it.

Where can I look for a combination of the cheapest and best quality office supplies and furniture to get my home based job off the ground?

Live Price Tracking & Analysis for Office Furniture & Supplies

You'll probably be aware that Amazon and eBay are great online marketplaces to source just about any type of product - business or otherwise. The problem they have is that because there are hundreds of thousands of merchants competing to sell the same products, there is a lot of nonsense going on behind the scenes that can end up in you paying more than you should.

For example, if I told you I could get you 30% off on a brand new, best selling computer desk, you'd be happy, right? Sure, 30% off sounds great. But what if the merchant had inflated the list price on purpose so that they could sell the product at a "discount"? The price you pay would then not really be discounted at all.

To make things worse (from the shopper's point of view), these big retailers offer a vast selection of products in any given category making it hard work to filter out the trash and find the good stuff. Have you searched Amazon's best seller lists recently? Half the items are "certified refurbished" (instead of new), or old, or out of stock.

It can be incredibly frustrating to find and buy the thing you want.

Step 1. Use an Hourly Price Tracker

The best way to find products that offer genuine discounts and savings is to use a price tracker (preferably an accurate, hourly one that will quickly pick up on short-lived price drops).

A price history with real-time updates means you can compare today's 30% discount against yesterday, and the day before, to decide if a deal is genuinely good.

But price tracking items alone has weaknesses.

Step 2. Combine Price Tracking with Sales Tracking

Knowing how much 50 random office desks are discounted by doesn't tell you anything about how good, popular, best-selling, well-reviewed, they are. In order to know this it is important to be able to track prices and sales.

Combining sales tracking with price tracking provides contextual information to help focus in on better quality items.

Step 3. Keep the Human Touch

Most online price tracking services try to track prices for every product listed on Amazon and eBay. This means:

  1. You are no better off than searching tens of thousands of products on Amazon or eBay
  2. Data limitations prevent hourly price tracking, and instead rely on one or two data points daily (meaning you'll often miss big discounts and deals)
Human curated product lists are smaller and far more useful than large automated systems.

Fortunately, all of these features are already combined into a free online tool that you can use to track any type of business or office product. Here's a look at a few of the comparison lists I could find relating to office furniture and supplies.

Computer Desks

Computer desk savings

As you can see:

  1. The list is focused on only the top 13 computer desks (human edited, but you can make requests to add specific products to this, or any, list - or even request new lists via Twitter), cutting out a lot of research work and making your life simple.
  2. It offers a quick summary of the best selling computer desk, the desk currently offering the biggest saving (in dollar terms), the desk currently offering the biggest saving (as a percentage of the price), and the absolute cheapest desk.
  3. It shows a bubble chart that lists the current price of the desk (updated hourly) on the x-axis, the percentage saving on the y-axis, and popularity/sales (size of the bubble).

Clicking on the best selling computer desk (remember this updates hourly so it might not be the same product when you click on it), we can see a whole host of useful information.

Best selling Computer desk

From this page you can immediately see:

  1. A clear picture of the product
  2. A Buy Rating indicating whether or not the product is price very low or very high compared to historical prices. A fantastic buy (as shown above) means the desk is selling at or within 1% of its best price.
  3. The Sales, for this product, are rated as Good, and these can range from Top 10 Smash Hit all the way down to Poor.
  4. Next, one click can bring up all the product reviews in a convenient overlay.
    Best selling computer desk reviews
  5. The List Price shows you the recommended retail price, and Your Price shows the current lowest possible price for a new desk (this will change hourly).
  6. The Price gauge, shown in the middle of the page, indicates where on this product's historical price range it is currently selling at,
    making it easy to see whether the current discount is really good or not.
  7. A few other computer desks, along with their price and how much cheaper (or more expensive) they are compared to the current desk.
  8. Below that is a small table showing the overall sales and price data, including lowest overall price, highest price, average price, and the same data/stats for sales.

Scrolling down the page brings up even more sales and price charts, tables of price and sales comparison data, and plenty more useful information about precisely how much of a bargain this desk is (or isn't), and if it is the right time to buy or not.

This system also has price drop alerts (as well as price increase alerts) if you're willing to create an account and track your own products. While tracking your own products costs a few cents a day, the savings you stand to make - even on a single item - probably more than justify the expense.

If you're interested, you can select a plan and get started.

I've concentrated on computer desks by way of example in this answer, but there is no reason to stop there. Here are few other comparison lists you might be interested in.

Office Chairs Deals

Computer desk savings
This chart shows how a few office chairs are selling well, while most are not. However, there are two chairs that are currently heavily discounted - one offering a saving of approximately 26%, and the other at 34%. In this instance, you might want to click through to each of the discounted chairs' individual pages and check their reviews and whether or not the current discounts offer a tangible saving in historical terms. Failing which, go back and check out the more popular items.

These pages update all the time. If you are willing to be patient rather check back in a few hours to see what new price drops have appeared. I've been using this service for a while and often see price drops that last for an hour or less.

Filing Cabinet Deals

Computer desk savings
Here's something reall interesting. This chart shows you something you really want to see. A large bubble appearing high up in the chart indicates a popular, best selling filing cabinet that is massively discounted. In this case, your work choosing the right cabinet is pretty much done for you without requiring much more than a quick glance.

A click through to the Calico Designs File Cabinet page indicates that it is currently a good buy, and is offered at almost its lowest historical price (from the needle of the price gauge).

Computer desk savings

In terms of being able to quickly find good quality products and decide whether they are cheap or expensive in terms of their own (and their comparison list of close competitors) price history, this strategy can't be beat.

Incidentally, if you do ask them to create a list of other business or office supplies, let me know in the comments so that we can add that list to this page to help other small business owners find even more deals.