Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
Are you setting up your own business? It’s important to find an affordable, reliable supplier to avoid any last-minute envelope crises or stapler emergencies – and most importantly – save time, money and effort in the long run.
Read on for our top tips to get cheap office stationery:
On average you should set aside about £200 for your initial office supplies, although it does depend on your business: how much it is office-based, whether you are a ‘paperless office’ and what size your business is.
Try to resist the temptation to spend your whole budget on the latest “look-at-me-I’m-James-Bond” gadget. It may look good, but make sure you have a desk, chair, pens and paper to get things going first.
What you will need depends on your type of business. However, there are basic essentials all companies are going to need such as: paper, pens, files, a hole punch, a stapler, CD-ROMs, a shredder, a desk and a chair.
We picked out some of the key office items that any small business would need to keep going in order to find the all-round best value providers.
Our advice is simple. Do not buy your office supplies on the high street because it will almost certainly cost you a lot more than it needs to.
There are now many sites offering discount stationery at much more competitive rates than the high street, particularly when you buy in bulk. It’s also much easier to compare prices online so you know that you can find the cheapest prices without traipsing around town.
Online suppliers will also offer free delivery if you spend over a certain amount (usually around £30) so it’s a good idea to buy for the long-term and save even more money.
In our experience, there are constant special offers on stationery which are updated all the time so if you have the time to search, you can usually find some great offers on specific products.
We’ve made your life even easier by searching online for you to compare delivery prices, returns policy, ease of use of the website and of course, price.
Other useful tools are price comparison websites like these:
Do use all three to compare prices to cover as many companies as possible.
We took five different office supplier retailers and then compared their services when it came to price, after-care and returns policy. These were Rebel Office Supplies, UK Office Direct, Viking Direct, Staples and Euroffice.
We chose a selection of essential office supplies and then compared their prices across all 5 suppliers’ websites to see who would come out the cheapest.
Here are items we compared:
|Supplier||Rebel Office Supplies
||Viking Direct||Staples||Euroffice||UK Office Direct|
|Pens||£5.42||£3.79||£1.49 (10 pack)||£5.69||£3.03|
|Delivery Charges||£6.75 or free for orders £45+||£2.90 or free for orders over £30||£2.90 or free for orders over £30||£3.95 or free for orders over £30||£5.95 or free for orders over £30|
|TOTAL = Including VAT not including delivery charge||£69.55||£87.47||£38.43||£69.28||£69.64|
Prices shown include discounts and are correct at the time of writing, November 2011.
Our table shows that Staples provides the best overall price by a country mile, with its selection of office equipment totalling over £20 less than its nearest rival, Euroffice.
Staples also has the same ‘buy more, save more’ rewards system as Euroffice, making it our number one choice for value.
You can also opt to select Order Care which allows you to return unwanted items anytime within 12 months of purchase. They will even collect the items for free.
Rebel Office Supplies – Email them within 14 days and they will collect the items for free. The things must be unused and in original unmarked packaging.
UK Office Direct – Products returned within the 14-day cooling-off period will be refunded in full after delivery costs have been deducted.
Staples – Standard returns policy is 30 days. If you contact them within 7 days they will collect items for free, otherwise they charge £3.50.
Optional care order £1.60 – allows you to return unwanted goods anytime within 12 months of purchase and collection is free.
Viking Direct – Protection Plus service which, for a nominal fee, provides you with 12 months accidental damage cover and a no quibble, 12 month returns policy. If you don’t want this service you have to opt out by calling 0844 412 1111.
Euroffice – They offer a 14-day returns policy. They’ll collect the item for free and give you credit, providing the item is in resaleable condition. This means that the product is in the original packaging and unopened.
If you contact them more than 14 days after delivery, they might be able to accept the goods back but not necessarily at full-credit value.
Visit these websites to find the best deal for you
Bagged a bargain we don’t know about? Tell us about it on our facebook page: