Office furniture disposal guide
If you’re moving office or having a refit and need to throw out some furniture or other office junk but are unsure what to do next, here is a guide to help you through the process:
- Clarify exactly what needs to go
- When do you need your office cleared by?
- Can any of the furniture be reused?
- Choosing a specialist contractor/office clearance company
Before contacting anyone, your number one priority is to decide exactly what you want to get rid of. This may sound obvious but often people start engaging clearance firms or contacting charities before they’ve tackled this basic challenge. The point is that only once you know the entirety of what needs to go, will you be in a position to determine who best to use to remove it and to get comparable quotes.
Map out a timeline of when the property has to be cleared so you’re then able to work backwards to organise the clearance. The amount of time it’ll take to clear your office depends on the size of the office and how much junk you’re clearing. The clearance company will be able to help provide a time estimation but bear in mind that duration is partly based on how long physically it takes to do the task (assume a ½ day for a full lorry load) but just as importantly, the availability of the organization that’s doing the removal and disposal.
If your office furniture is in good condition and you have a bit of spare time, before paying someone to take it away, consider whether it can be reused – either through sale or donation.
You can donate to a charity or directly to a person or commercial organisation. There’s no magic on why or who – it’s obviously entirely up to you.
You can also try online platforms like Freegle and Freecycle. Or if your item is of low value but still reusable, then post it on LoveJunk at £10 or £20 to help cover the transport costs of the person picking up.
Unlike domestic furniture, the second-hand market for office furniture tends to be far stronger if you have larger numbers of items, rather than just one or two. In other words, 20+ desks of the same type and size as opposed to 3 that are each very different. This is because buyers are normally looking to fit out a whole office rather than just get one desk.
As with donation, you can sell office furniture through marketplaces (main one being eBay) or to specific people or dealers. In London, well-known office furniture dealers are Evans Office Furniture, Allard Office Furniture and London Business Removals.
Assuming you cannot or do not wish to sell or donate the furniture – or you still have stuff left over after your efforts – then you’ll need a licensed waste contractor to remove and dispose of it for you. These are people variously described as man & van clearance company, office clearance firm, and rubbish clearance business. They all do the same thing – take your junk away. The only real difference is an office clearance firm tends to specialise in this area of bulky waste and is as much focused on the disposal as they are the value of what is being collected. In other words, if you have quite a lot of stuff, much of which can be reused, then it’s normally worth using an office clearance specialist. But if you don’t have much stuff or the vast majority is end of life, then you’re more likely to get a better price and level of engagement from a more generalist rubbish clearance company.
Btw, size matters. So if you have a lot of stuff – try to get rid of it in one go in order to get the economies of scale that it offers. The only caveat to this rule is if you have anything particularly out of the ordinary – either from a value (eg. super expensive boardroom table and chairs) or disposal (eg. commercial fridge) perspective.
When deciding on which firm …ensure your clearance company is a licensed waste collector – you can check if the company has a waste carrier’s license here. It’s also important to follow the four ‘R’s – references, resources, rapport and rates.
References – please check the waste companies’ reviews. Not only is it important to check if they’re highly recommended, but also if the reviews are recent and if they’ve done an office clearance before.
Resources – find out before booking if they have the resources needed for the job. Will they have enough staff and when you speak to them, do they sound like they know what they’re on about? You’ll want to find a company who really knows their stuff so you can be confident the job is being done professionally.
Rapport – an office clearance can be stressful, so it’s important that you get on well with the clearance firm. Should you encounter any problems along the way, you need to be sure they’ll be resolved without issue.
Rates – how much will they charge for your office clearance? There are a few questions you can ask which will give you a good idea of how experienced the company is, such as not only asking for the total cost but the rate per van load. You could also ask how them to estimate how many loads they think it will take to do the clearance. Getting a properly priced quote is important because the last thing you’ll want is a cheap quote that mounts up on the day.
It would be great if you shared this guide with any friends, family or colleagues who might find it helpful. Also, if you know of any reuse charities that specialise in office furniture, please let us know at [email protected] – we’d love to support them.
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