Plenty of successful businesses have started in the garage, study or spare room of someone’s house; including a few greats like Dell, Google, Nike and Apple. It is the most economical way to start a smaller business without having to take out a substantial loan. There are several ways to set up a home office without breaking the bank, and we’re going to tell you how:
Shopping for furniture is one of most fun things you can do when setting up your home office; scouring through magazines or visiting online websites for inspiration. However, the best way to save money on office furniture is to find companies that are upgrading their offices, and in the process of disposing (not so raggedy) pre-used furniture. Liquidators are another option, as are companies that are closing down and need to sell their office furniture ASAP. Other great ideas for finding cheap office pieces are: scouring hard rubbish in your local neighborhood or visiting thrift/charity Shops – these two are a great idea if you’re the creative type and are handy with upholstering and painting! Keep in mind when you are bargain-hunting for affordable furniture, that with certain items, you get what you pay for. Certain pieces may take up more of your budget than others. For example: a good, comfortable, sturdy office chair is always worth spending a little more on to make sure the ergonomic design of the chair is suited to your body type, height and size.
Shopping for laptops or desktop computers is usually more expensive than shopping for regular home office furniture, as you’ll need a semi-decent one to get started. Like regular furniture, you will also need to consider the ergonomic design of the electronic device you’re purchasing; you may be able to buy a cheap mouse, but if doesn’t fit correctly in your hand, it could be damaging your wrist. If there is a tech-wiz in your family or circle of friends, you could always buy the necessary parts like motherboard, processor, computer fans and compensate them with a delectable dinner at their favourite restaurant or a case of beer, to put it together for you. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save by doing this, compared to buying a computer from a retail store.
Buying a brand new printer for your home office is often unnecessary; in fact printers are one of the cheapest and easiest electronic items to obtain for your home office. Depending on your industry, you may need a fancier, more expensive printer, but a regular home scanner/printer/copier should suffice for the purposes of a regular home office. If you don’t have a printer currently, great places to look are on websites like Gumtree and Craigslist which often list items at incredibly cheap prices, or even free if you are willing to collect the item. Ebay is a great website if you are after the fancier, more high-tech printers. Alternatively, ask amongst friends and family if anyone has a spare to lend you.
Now that your home office is decked out with furniture and electronics, you’ll have to start thinking about office supplies. Things like staples, pens, folders, paper, printer toner and books may be affordable on their own, but can quickly add up. Thrift Shops often have a wide variety of new office supplies at half the normal price of what you pay in major office supply stores. A way to save on toner for your printer is to buy online, or get your old cartridges refilled. Another point to remember is to use email when you can, this will save on paper, ink and envelopes, and is also more environmentally friendly! Hunt through your drawers, boxes, nooks and crannies and you’ll be sure to find enough old pens, postage stamps, half-used books and old files which you could use. You can even utilise some old vases and transform them into nifty pen and pencil holders.
Look around your home office. Do you have windows in the room you’ve designated to be your office? Take advantage of this and set up your table near the window, the natural light will help brighten the room, creating a more productive environment, and lessen the need to turn on all the lights, hence, saving you cash on electricity.
There you have it, a few handy tips to turning a spare room into a home office without sending you broke. After much planning and (lots of!) scavenging, it is possible to magically transform an empty space into a home office, which will save you money to invest in those things which are essential to making your small business a success.