You wouldn’t just go to any furniture dealer and buy the first things you see on sale to furnish your dream house. The office that you make your livelihood in should warrant the same careful planning, research, and respect as your living arrangements would when it comes to the office furnishings you use. Just like the furnishings in your home, your office furniture and its style and quality represent you, define you, and empower you with its capabilities. Here are 4 vetting techniques that will make sure that you choose the right office furniture retailer, which best fits your needs, at the best price.
1. Compare Quality & Service
Rather than focus everything on price when purchasing office furniture, make sure to take into account quality as well. Getting the lowest price means nothing if it includes the lowest quality. The next step to cover after quality and price is service. Without covering all three of these important items in a purchase, one can’t really say with absolute certainty that they truly received a good deal. Don’t sell yourself short, and certainly don’t let the retailer to do so either. You deserve the best quality at the best price, and of course also the best service available. This is the point of vetting. Also make sure that you check out:
- How innovative, modern, and efficient is the furniture offered.
- Does their company appear to be happy to go above and beyond, in order to make your company happy?
- Did the company try to inform you about changing trends?
- How competent did their sales staff seem?
- Check on references. Don’t be afraid to ask what major company’s buy from the retailer. Most companies will have a “Contact Us” page on their emails. Ask them about how satisfied they were with the company, explaining your situation. PR will most likely ensure a reply.
2. Compare Complaint Rates Between Companies.
Bad service is one thing, but when making a big purchase such as office furniture, bad service after a sale can turn into an absolute mental and financial nightmare. This is why you have to vet a potential office furniture retailer first, because after making the purchase, it is usually way too late to turn back and find a more competent purveyor. The best way to find out about a company’s track record is by using your local Better Business Bureau and the World-Wide-Web. Check out customer reviews. Just google a company’s name and all its dirty or clean laundry will pop up for all to see. Other things you should compare are:
- Make a plus and minus list counting thumbs up or thumbs down ratings that were posted in customer review pages. Online type “yellow pages,” normally post customer reviews under the listings.
- If there were complaints, how responsive or non-responsive to them was the company.
- Were there any complaints about the vendor not meeting the shipping dates?
- Make sure that the retailer can handle your firm’s requirements.
- And always carefully check the furniture retailer’s policies, processes, and financing procedures before committing to a deal.
3. Compare Companies & Catalogs
One simple and basic trick to vetting a furniture company is to collect furniture catalogs and compare competitor’s prices and selections. If the company has a local showroom, do the items match the descriptions that were listed in the catalogue? This is a good way to also look at payment methods, length that the business has been in business, and the basic setup of the store compared to how they represent themselves on paper or in advertisements. On major purchases make sure to arrange a conversation with the manager, they have the power to make the best deals, give bigger discounts, and hand out perks like free shipping. Also:
- Make a list of any items that were misrepresented, and then ask about them rather than confront; mistakes happen and it could just be a misunderstanding or misprint.
- Find out if the company is “Green Friendly.” For some people this is very important. For others, it should be. If a company uses ethical standards when it comes to the environment, and their part in reducing their business’s carbon footprint on the planet, then they most likely also adhere to ethical business practices with their customers.
4. Compare Delivery Methods
Companies prefer different shipping methods that are usually meant to fit their needs first, and yours second. On large purchases, it is not unheard of to request a different shipper than is offered from the furniture warehouse. Sometimes it is necessary due to a certain shipper’s restriction or district routes that aren’t covered. If in-store delivery service is offered, don’t just take it automatically. Remember that their employee overhead on in-house movers covers full time payrolls, wage taxes, employee benefits, truck upkeep and insurance. All these costs are automatically passed onto the consumer. That’s why it is smart to do the math first, and if the delivery charges seem too extreme, rent a truck and hire temporary labor instead, and then pick up the furniture yourself. Make sure to:
- Make sure to get adequate insurance on shipping.
- Make sure the company sends the proper documentation and listed invoices.
- Make sure to get your price breaks, perks, and discounts when buying and shipping quantity furniture purchases before closing the deal.
These four vetting techniques listed above are the most simple, easily enacted, and most efficient ways to ensure that you always get the best deal possible when dealing with office furniture outlets. Follow each one thoroughly and your office will be a shining representation of your pride in your business, your work, and your workplace.