Upside to the Downturn: Pre-Furnished Offices.

The recession has provided one upside to new businesses – many real estate companies offer more than just cheaper office space, they provide free furniture too!

Al Harris at reports how landlords have used old tenants’ furniture as an incentive for new prospective tenants who don’t mind taking over old furniture as long as it saves money.

“It was an enormous factor,” said Andrew Rose of Elephant Insurance. The UK-based auto insurance company opened their first U.S. division last year at Innsbrook in a former Capital One building that came decked out desks and chairs, filing cabinets, refrigerators, cafeteria equipment and trashcans.

“At the time the cost and complexity of taking a space that needed to be fully outfitted versus a turnkey solution was fantastic and the economics were phenomenal,” Rose said.

“If you look at the value of the furniture and accommodations we got here, conservatively a half million to $800,000,” Rose said. He couldn’t say how much they pay, but said it was “a stones throw away from free.”

The packages vary – some companies will throw in the furniture for free, others will need to pay a little extra. That extra is, of course, a fraction of the cost of buying brand-new furniture for the whole office.

Getting office furniture in the package is hard to beat (though we should say‘s refurbished office furniture comes close), and having that as an option may be a Godsend to new offices trying to grow in today’s uncertain business environment.