How I decked out my startup's office for under $6k

By Drew Wilson
On 03 January 2017

A beautiful office completely decked out for less than six thousand dollars. Some startups spend that much on one desk/chair combo.
With a single Amazon.com purchase I had my entire office completely setup; from toilet paper to office desks, monitors to silverware. It cost less then five thousand dollars.
I then spent another thousand dollars buying things as we needed them over the next month.
Here's how I did it.

Why I got an office 🏢

In June of 2016 I closed my first ever round of seed funding. I was elated because it took five months to raise that 1.2 million, not to mention the two years of working on Plasso — solo and bootstrapped — leading up to that point.
With some money in the bank, I started building my company at a much quicker pace. For me, 1 million dollars was a LOT of money. I wanted to make the money last as long as possible. Having always bootstrapped everything for the previous 10 years, I know the real value of money. I know how hard it is to get.

I wanted an office, but I didn't want to waste money on an office. After a month I was eventually convinced it was a good idea to get one. And because I wasn't in SF or NYC, office space wouldn't really cost me too much.
I've never had a separate office before in my life. I've always worked from home (and loved it). But since the team was growing beyond just me, it was definitely time to get a dedicated work place. So I set out on the hunt for an office.

Location 🏖

It wasn't much of a hunt though really. I've always know the exact location I wanted my office to be. I had dreamt of running a startup out of Carlsbad for almost a decade. As luck would have it, I eventually ended up in the exact spot I had always wanted.

The benefit of where we are now is the office is designed for entrepreneurs: retail space below and live-able space above. So rather than rent a warehouse or traditional office space — which usually lack a bathroom and kitchen — I have an office that is completely live-able with two huge bathrooms and a large kitchen.

Another great benefit to opting for a live-able office is: I pay zero dollars in hotel costs when remote team members fly in! The office is nicer than even the most expensive hotels. So by picking a place that is live-able out-of-the-box, I saved money. Boom. 💥
And you can't beat the fact that it is right next to the beach! The local commuter train, called the Coaster, has a mini-stop right here too. Couldn't be more convenient.

Community 💃💁‍♂️

There isn't much of a tech community in the Carlsbad area. San Diego does have a bit of a community, but that is a 30 minute drive south from Carlsbad. Fortunately when I was originally looking at our place, the managers told me they were building a co-working space directly below the office. It was fantastic news! Not only will there be like-minded people around, but since Plasso is a commerce and payments company, we can help out almost everyone that will move into the co-working space.
That co-working space is Common Grounds. They recently opened their doors and we're lucky to have them as a customer!

Going shopping 🛍

This was the really fun part! Getting to browse and buy all the stuff to fill the office with. And doing it all from my computer was amazing!
Going in, I knew I didn't want to spend much. I was hoping to get it all for less than three thousand dollars. That didn't happen, but I got close.

100% of everything I bought was a single purchase on Amazon. I literally reached the limit of their cart. It actually told me I couldn't add anything else to my cart. 😂 In total, the bill came to around $4,800. Not too bad! For under $5k I had everything I needed to get the office set up, and I had it all a couple of weeks before my move-in date.

I did end up buying more stuff, on an as-needed basis, during the first month after move in. 90% of that came from Amazon as well.

I'm a fan of Craigslist and even managed to squeeze a Craigslist find into the office as well: our Air Hockey table was just $10!

Really? Less than $6k for everything?

Yes. Really.

Signage

Our signs turned out great! One is our word mark logo and is about 4ft. wide. Our icon logo (in white) is massive and is 3.5ft. × 3.5ft. Both are made of wood and were made by Tinkering Monkey. Hanging them was super easy, and I was able to do it all myself.

A few takeaways 📝

Some good finds 👀

Like what you see in our office? Grab some of it for your own office! I made a list of some the actual items you see in the photos above. All on Amazon of course. 😄


I hope you found this post useful and you're able to save some money on your own office! 💸

If you liked what you just read, please share it! ✌️

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