The Design Office Inc. (the Co-Op) is a purchasing cooperative founded in 2009 to promote the economic, social, and cultural interests of its members, providing enhanced purchasing power to small firms and individuals within design and engineering disciplines.
Why Design Office?
With the worldwide economic slowdown taking a leading and devastating toll on small businesses in the design and construction industries, there is an urgent need for these companies to find ways to trim operational expenses. This is especially true in the design and engineering industries, most of whom utilize fairly identical products, including hardware, software, and office supplies, furniture, and equipment. Yet, most of these firms lack the size, time, or bargaining power to negotiate favorable (if any) discounts from large vendors, especially those enjoyed by larger firms in the same competitive space. We believe the market is ripe for a purchasing cooperative which can negotiate and provide lower cost products and services to these smaller design and engineering businesses.
At the end of 2008, there were approximately 210,000 total architecture, design, and engineering firms operating in the United States. Approximately 60% of these firms operate as ‘small businesses’ according to the SBA definition. That’s a lot of firms, and a lot of individuals, whom we can draw upon to help create some much needed leverage in the marketplace.
The Design Office Inc., will focus on obtaining the best deals we can for back of house type of commodities – computer hardware, software, printing, office supplies, shipping, etc. – that most small design and engineering firms tend to have in common.