3. How can I be sure I'm getting a good price?
There are a number of ways to buy furniture. In the Contract Furniture Dealers Index, we identify and describe 7 resources for contract furniture: Full Service Dealers, Office Products Suppliers, Used and Remanufacturered Furniture Resources, Specialty Dealers, Online and Mail Order, Department Stores and Mass Merchandise Discounters. In addition, purchases can be made through design professionals, purchasing cooperatives and associations, related-industry retailers and through direct contracts with certain manufacturers.
Since most contract furniture manufacturers publish "List" prices and sell to the "Trade" at 40% to 60% discounts, vendors generally set their prices based upon the costs of providing a certain level of service. This service may include: Incoming freight costs, receiving, prep and inside delivery, assembly and set-up, space-planning, CAD drawings and interior design. In addition, other factors that may affect your price include: National and local competition for market share, quantity discounts, sales and marketing costs, premiums for "In-Stock" and local warehousing for quick delivery, and method of financing.
Before you can compare prices, you have to determine the level of service you require.
- If you are ordering one chair, you are not necessarily in a big hurry, you are reasonably confident in both the product's quality and suitability and your ability to receive, assemble and place it, and you have a high level of trust in the manufacturer's warranty and the vendor's service policy - you can acheive a level of comfort using price as the determining factor even on high-end products.
On the other hand, if you are furnishing a large space with modular office partition systems, you'll need to compare all of the service factors involved and be willing to accept a price that includes these costs. Of course, somewhere in between these two extremes, you have to decide how much your time is worth - after all, it's furniture for your business and time is money.
More additional information can be found on the vendors' Web sites listed in the Contract Furniture Dealers Regional Directory.
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