Used furniture or new? If you are finding it difficult to decide, here is everything you need to know about salon furnishings and purchasing furniture in general!
Hunting down essentials for your new home or commercial salon is a journey plagued by bad financial decisions. These bad decisions are often triggered by a lack of research or being unaware of what you need. One conversation that you’ve had with yourself is without a doubt ‘should I buy used or new furniture?’
On the face of it, used furniture is more attractive to most because you get it at a discount rate, however, what guarantee do you have that what you purchased will get the job done right?
Will it come with cooties?
Can you get better or rather new furniture within your price range?
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To business owners, the priority is always saving money. Consequently, when the question… ‘buy used furniture versus new?’ pops up, most will opt for the used option because you are already predisposed to spend as little as you can get away with.
I won’t deny it, buying used salon furnishings has its advantages, but it can also come with unwelcome surprises such as the aforementioned cooties.
Used salon furniture pros and cons
Add some life to your new place with some old stuff, sounds counterintuitive, I know, but it does have its advantages. For example, a second-hand antique hardwood salon cabinet if it’s still in good condition will get the job done most of the time.
However, you might also get a wobbly one that’s beyond repair. In such a scenario, that is lost money!
Oh, and did I mention that some antiques are more expensive than their new counterparts? This begs the question:
Yes and no, let me espouse…
Buying salon furniture is risky in that there are lots of unknowns. Yes, you will pay less upfront but there is also the possibility that there are hidden issues that will run up your repair bills. On top of that, you won’t get a warranty or service program, meaning, if there is a fault in the furnishing or fittings, you are completely and utterly screwed.
Unless you have some duct tape…
The point is, don’t buy used salon furniture online. Instead, only purchase second-hand salon fittings after testing.
What should I pay for used salon furniture
Used furniture carries with it the problem of how to price it? Think about it, how would you price a 10-year-old salon lounge chair? If you go with the depreciation formula, you might end up earning very little to nothing.
On the other hand, you, the buyer wants three things:
- Quality: the better the quality the longer it will last.
- Usefulness: will it fit in your space? Will it get the job done?
- Style: should blend seamlessly with your other furnishings.
The great thing is, with all that uncertainty, there is always room for negotiations!
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What to do when buying used furniture
Your salon’s furniture, accessories, service, and the overall vibe is the reason customers flock to your door. The right furniture boosts the client’s enjoyment; thus, you have to be very careful when purchasing used parlour furniture.
- Avoid items that can harbour germs, bacteria, and bugs.
Upholstered furniture and soft surfaced items such as lounge chairs might have harmful bacteria and in some cases viruses. For example, the superbug (MRSA) has been shown to jump from patients to nurse uniforms and can remain active on chairs for days and months. To avoid cross infections, clean used furniture properly before use.
- Reupholstering will save or waste your money.
Just because it’s old, it doesn’t mean that it’s not quality. If you find top-shelf second-hand boutique furniture, by all means, go for it. However, it is also true that some used items cost the same or more than new ones. Therefore, shop around.
- What is it made of?
Metal and hardwood furniture make very good seconds…
- Don’t buy used furniture online
Before money exchanges, make sure that you’ve seen and touched the item. If its storage, open the drawers, check the edges for bugs and roaches, and any fault you can find. Fault finding may strengthen your negotiation position or tell you to keep looking.
- Listen to your gut
If you get the feeling you are being screwed, trust that feeling or you may end up regretting.
Not online, second-hand purchases are best done at flea markets or garage sales. The Rule of the thumb is, buy close to home. Or if you are up to it, take a ride to the seller and view the item before purchase.
One mistake many newbie business owners make due to their eagerness to furnish their new establishment is buy in bulk… buying furniture in bulk will possibly get you minor price cuts but it’s still too expensive.
You have to change that mindset, instead, consider spreading your purchases.
A good purchasing plan looks like this:
Start with the basics: find the right vendor
New furniture or expensive wisp. That’s what you are risking if you don’t find the right source for salon furniture. See the thing is, the same problem plaguing used furniture also affects the new ones. Let me ask you, what if what you purchase is a reskin of an older item? Or what if it smells like mould or vomit?
It is not that difficult to put new materials on a sofa or paint on a cabinet, is it?
The point is, if you are buying new, make sure that what you are getting is new. And for that, you need a trusted partner.
New salon furniture advantages
Unlike second-hand fixtures, the main advantages of purchasing new ones include, you get a warranty for security, your styling options are limitless, modern-day salon furniture is more ergonomic and comfortable. Most importantly, it’s easier to find furnishings that complement each other.
Meaning, you are no longer playing mix and match here… you are in full control of work area customisation!
This is beneficial for:
- Creating a unique experience for your customers.
Let’s see it practice then:
Assuming that you want to get a red and black vibe going, picture this, you walk into the reception/ waiting area and this beautiful Florence lounge chair is what you see.
Right next to it is this portable and lockable trolley.
The thing is, colour affects human behaviour. The mind seeks comfort, not contrast, meaning, if your furnishings complement each other, customers feel more at home.
There is no ‘perfect time’ to buy salon furniture, it all depends on how much you have to spare and the vision you have for your business.
Furniture comes in two main varieties, that is, wood/metal furniture and upholstered.
‘Upholstered’ is simply a chair, sofa, or any furniture with stuffing, cushions springs, etc.… a perfect example of this is that lounge chair above. What makes that couch perfect for your waiting area is the foams are firm and wrapped in padding. It comes with a protective inner cover and reversible cushions.
These are the key sell points for all upholstered fixtures. Anything below that set standard is wastage.
The problems you want to avoid here are:
- Bare foam.
- Misaligned patterns.
- Skimpy padding along back and arms.
For wooden fixtures, what you should look for is 9+ layer plywood or solid wood, and surfaces that don’t scratch easily.
Check out some options here.
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A set of combs, a pair of scissors, a cold floor, and a bucket. That is as DIY as salons go, but if you are looking to go the professional route (maximum client comfort and satisfaction).
Here are the essential purchases you should make:
- Quality reception desk: your lobby, waiting room, or front should be up to the task and furnished the right way.
- Barber chair: cutting hair is way easier when done on a barber chair, these chairs are designed to not only soothe your clients back but to also complement the overall look of your boutique.
- Hairstyling station: styling hair can take a few minutes or many hours, consequently, you need a styling station that offers comfort and functionality.
- Tool holders: accessory and tool pilferage is not the only thing you have to worry about. Apart from keeping your tools safe, tool holders act as part of the aesthetic.
- Storage drawers: just like tool holders, storage drawers offer both functionality (storage) and aesthetic benefits.
That said the difference between good and poor-quality furniture lies in the type of wood/metal used and the quality of construction.
Get some wood!
Veneers, particle boards, and solid wood are the main categories of wood. The most expensive is solid wood but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best option. Workmanship determines the final product, consequently, we recommend you avoid:
- Wobbly equipment.
- Poor aesthetics.
Instead, find wooden furnishing that:
- Has good composition and joint construction
- Hardwood and softwood are not a factor, what matters is the type of construction.
- Complementary furniture (items that blend)
Metal salon fixtures
Barber chairs, stools, and lots of other salon furnishing are usually made of metal and have moving parts. Anything with moving parts without a doubt requires solid construction, (you know because metal tends to bend when stressed). However, the reason you should choose metal is metal finishes accentuate your salon’s aesthetics and is suited for every environment, occasion or season.
Mistakes happen, but when purchasing salon equipment, you can avoid losing money by simply:
- Measure your space: what if that red sofa doesn’t fit your reception area, will your break down the wall?
- Fads and impulse buying: a lot of useless technology exists out there, so think long and hard before you buy.
- Maintenance cost: the harder it is to maintain the more it will cost you in the long run.
- Bulk buying: not only expensive, but you might also miss an issue or two with some purchases.
- Branding or painting first: before you paint your facility, make sure that the colour complements your purchase.
- Sacrificing quality for price: cheap is expensive, quality is durability.
Used fittings versus new is not a question that has a direct answer because it all depends on what you buy and from whom. Consequently, when faced with this conundrum always go for the quality.
Quality is one thing, and a guarantee or a warranty is another. These perks are there to give you peace of mind, that’s why new fixtures are highly encouraged!
What are your thoughts on this? Have you made a recent salon purchase that has revolutionised your business?
Tell us in the comments section!