Putting together a home office can be costly. But, you need the right equipment to get your business up and running. So how do you create a workable office with a limited budget?
Buying a Computer and Printer
The most expensive item for your home office will often be a computer. Before you buy, decide exactly what you’ll be doing on your computer. If you need email, Skype and a way to write documents, you won’t need as much memory as someone who does graphic design. Don’t pay for extras you don’t need. If you’re not sure what you’ll need in the future, make sure your computer has the option for you to add more memory at a later date.
Read the reviews about computers you are considering. See if past buyers are having any problems with a certain model or brand. If so, did the company stand behind their product?
You may be able to find a used laptop, but shop carefully. A new model might be just as cheap. If you do buy used, ask if there is any type of guarantee for at least a few months.
Watch for sales, especially at the start of the school year. Laptops and printers often go on sale during that time. This can also happen around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Buying Furniture and Office Equipment
Go to thrift stores to look for bookshelves and desks. Garage sales and flea markets are another good option for office furniture. You can sometimes find free items on Craigslist that just need a few repairs.
A business that is closing its door may have just what you need for a low price.
Look for creative ideas on Pinterest. An old door can become a unique desk. A board placed across two small filing cabinets can be a workable desk.
At the end of each school year, college students often sell used desks and book shelves when they leave school. Watch the classifieds or Craigslist.
Check for local rates for internet service. You can often find discounted introductory rates that last up to a year. When they jack the price up at the end of the year, switch to a new provider (or call and threaten to switch and they might reduce your rate).
You may want to apply for a credit card to buy office equipment. If so, shop for the best interest rates. Even though you’re using credit, you still need to exercise due diligence and buy only what you need and at the best prices. Pay it off as quickly as possible to reduce interest charges. This will improve your cash flow because you won’t have to spend so much money up front. But use the credit wisely; don’t overextend.
Raising Extra Cash
Find ways to raise extra start-up money. Run a special for a limited time. Announce that these are your “Grand Opening” prices and only good for a limited time.
Sell any extra items you have around the house on eBay on Craigslist. This will clear space and raise cash. If you have enough stuff, hold a garage sale.
If a room needs to be painted to freshen it up, do the work yourself and you’ll save a lot of money. The same goes with installing shelving.
Equipping an office with a small budget is possible with a little planning and creativity. You can always add to your office, slowly, as your profits rise.