Five Creative Ways to Unload Your Old Treadmill Desk (And Bank That Tax Deduction)
By some estimates there are hundreds of thousands of treadmill desks in the wild today, and most certainly there are over 100,000 commercially produced office treadmill bases that have been sold since 2007. The rest? DIY-hacked running treadmills paired with either a commercially-produced, adjustable-height desk or some kind of home-built raised desk surface.
But with all the new, state-of-the-art treadmill desks available today featuring all-digital consoles, whisper-quiet motors and far better ergonomics, there’s a lot of upgrading going on. The upshot is that it isn’t all that easy to get rid of an early model treadmill desk, much less get any value out of it. So we’ve put together this list of tips on how to optimize the residual value of your original setup in order to reduce the cost of upgrading.
The Inherent Resale Value Challenge
You may have paid $2,000 for your LifeSpan TR1200-DT7 when you bought it new, but converting that investment back into cash poses a few obvious challenges. First, there’s straight line depreciation. Accountants’ opinions may vary but most CPAs we’ve asked say they would normally depreciate such a purchase over three years. Three years is equal to the length of the motor warranty, and similar to what most companies’ accountants would use for depreciating a $2,000 computer, so this seems like a reasonable term to use for our example. So if the treadmill desk is two years old there may be only $667 of book value left on it.
The second issue is that warranty coverage doesn’t transfer from the first owner to the second, so selling a treadmill desk, by definition, means that the new owner must bear the full cost of any repairs. Just like buying a used car, buyers will be leery of any blemishes or damage to the unit that might make them wonder if it has been maintained well. And unlike common auto maintenance tasks like oil changes, there’s virtually never a maintenance record for treadmill maintenance tasks like lubribation.
The third issue is finding a customer within a reasonable proximity, who has the right vehicle and assistance to haul such a large and heavy object out of your home or office and into theirs. After all, some of these treadmill desk setups can weigh upwards of 350 lbs. Alternatively the buyer could hire a treadmill shop crew to pick up the unit, check it out for proper operation (maybe clean and lubricate it while they’re at it), and deliver it to you – but that’ll most likely cost a few hundred dollars. And if the crew reports back with some issue they found with the operation of the unit the buyer will still be charged for the two-man trip. Shipping a treadmill desk across country using a blanket-wrap moving company is a very expensive proposition, so in most cases used treadmill desks are only advertised locally.
Lastly, there seem to always be people listing their older treadmill desks for free on Craigslist, to anyone who is willing to come pick it up. This creates some downward pressure on the resale value of older units like Steelcase Walkstations, Tread Desk, and LifeSpan treadmill desks.
Your Best Option
If the stars align and you’re lucky enough to find a nearby willing buyer (perhaps through Craigslist, eBay, NextDoor, or even an ad posted at the local supermarket or fitness center) – with the capability of picking up the treadmill – or willingness to pay treadmill movers to do it – that’s terrific. But if you can’t locate a buyer after a couple of weeks, here are a few other options to consider:
- Your best bet is to find a local non-profit to accept your treadmill desk as a donation. This can be a neighborhood school, church, library, Boys & Girls Club or YMCA, for example. They’ll be more likely to have volunteer muscle and a vehicle for picking up the unit. You can typically establish a much higher value for an item you’re donating, and you’ll be able to get a receipt from the organization that will establish the documented basis for your tax deduction. We’re not experts on used equipment appraisals but we’ve observed that non-profits are usually easy to convince that your liberal valuation is reasonable and acceptable. As always, consult your tax adviser for the specifics how such an option may fit into your tax strategy.
- Many localities these days offer annual or semi-annual free recycling events where you can drop off appliances and consumer electronics. Call ahead to make sure they’ll accept your item, but this will be the least expensive way to get rid of a used treadmill desk. You’ll have to get it there, and you won’t get a tax deduction, but at least you won’t have to pay a dumping fee. And if you tell them that it’s a functional unit they may find a new home for it somewhere.
- Post it on FreeCycle.org.
- Contact local free electronics recycling programs that may exist in your city (Google it), and see if they can handle a treadmill desk, and perhaps are able to pick up.
- Scan Where to Donate Your Stuff: 101 Places Your Clutter Can Do Good for more good ideas on organizations you might be able to donate to.
When you’re ready to buy your new treadmill desk be sure to check out all our reviews and helpful advice on optimizing your experience. At the very please be sure to register for our free newsletter to stay up on the latest treadmill desk products and industry news.