Once you have found your office space and invested in furniture and electronic gear (phones, computers, etc.) you still have some shopping to do. That's right: You need to buy office supplies.
Sounds pretty straightforward, right? All you need are a bunch of pens and some legal pads, envelopes and stamps, and maybe some paperclips. To properly outfit your new office there is a list of supplies you'll need and keeping these supplies in stock are important to keep your office functioning.
To make sure you have everything on hand that you need, keep these five general guidelines in mind:
1. Keep a small supply at your desk. You'll save a surprisingly large amount of time if you keep essential supplies in a desk drawer within easy reach. Otherwise, you may find yourself making two or three trip a day to get your basic supplies. The time spent going to find supplies can break your work rhythm and waste your time; i.e. billing time.
2. Store supplies you don't use every day. Find a closet or out of the way shelf on which to store the extra stacks of stationary, rolls of tape, piles of legal pads, etc. Items you use monthly should be on a shelf; items you use less often should be in a closet.
3. Compile and maintain a master list of the supplies and inventory. Make a note of the times when you replenish the items in your desk so you know when a supply on the list is running low. Once a month or so, or when there is a good sale, you can plan into your schedule time to replenish supplies so that you won't run out of computer paper in the middle of an important client print run.
4. Every six months, review your office supply expenses. Target one or two opportunities for savings and either you, or a staff member, can do some quick comparison shopping on the Internet. If you decide to work with one resource, ask your source to beat the prices you've found on the Internet. When you can, buy in bulk and ask your resource for a discount for doing so.
Here is a sample master supply list you can use as you consider what your office needs will be:
- Printer cartridges
- Computer paper (8 ½ x 11 and 8 ½ x 14)
- Letterhead and Envelopes
- Business Cards
- Cork boards and/or white boards
- Postage stamps or postage machine
- Digital postage scale
- Tape and tape dispensers
- Large Mailing Envelopes
- Mailing labels
- Manila folders (standard and legal size)
- Note pads/post-it notes
- Packing tape
- Paper clips
- Rubber bands
- Staplers and staples
- Fed Ex or UPS Supplies
- Index Cards