If price is paramount, check out discount and used equipment or furniture stores, where you can get great bargains. Look in the Yellow Pages under "Office Furniture and Equipment-Used" or search the Web.
Two Jakes Used Office Furniture Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, has gotten orders on its Web site from as far away as Texas, says Inga Rogers, partner and wife of David Jacobs, who runs the 75-year-old family-owned business with his brother, Michael.
Used furniture dealers buy their inventory from companies that are moving or--more infrequently--have gone bankrupt, Rogers says. The bargains can be excellent: Two Jakes sells Steelcase wheeled desk chairs for $125; they retail for $850 new.
Every state government also has surplus equipment sales. Some won't sell to the general public, but many do. Each year, California's state government disposes of approximately $10 million in surplus property, from desks to drafting tables to computers to calculators to medical equipment, says Hollis Thompson, surplus property manager for California. Rather than toss the items into landfills, the state sells them through two warehouses.