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What is contract furniture? A lot of people have been asking this question and you re probably one of those wondering how it s any different from commercial furniture. To put it simply, contract furniture by definition is one not intended for residential or home use. This term, of course, is quite generic and can leave a lot of loose ends to what to consider contract and what to leave out from the definition. What about those offices that have furniture that looks so cozy that it could be easily shipped to any home for private use? Is it still contract furniture? Yes! To make things easier, any furniture ordered by an official entity is it governmental, industrial, or commercial. Moving on to the more important question of how different is contract furniture from commercial one, the simple answer to that would be: higher quality and cost. While contract furniture tends to be more expensive, it is more durable and lasting. Now that we ve settled on the definitions, you re probably thinking what to ask before signing anything. Here are 15 questions to ask your supplier before closing any deal.
1.What materials are being used?
2.What is the origin of the materials?
Those two questions help you find out two important factors: durability and the cost vs. true value balance. Different materials are known to have different durability levels, while different origin materials have different costs and you could be easily tricked into paying more. You should put some time researching this aspect, since it will affect your office or business on the long run.
3. who s the designer?
4. Is the design unique, generic, or custom?
You might say but what s the different between unique, generic, and custom designs. To hit the nail on the head, generic designs are available in your contract supplier s catalogue and most people opt for those designs. Custom made designs are ones that are made for your business or company but will be listed in the catalogue and available for future orders in the future. Unique or exclusive designs are custom made especially for you and will not be used by any other company. The importance of whose designing lies in future reputation for your business. It s not preferable to associate yourself with a designer known to constantly have one foot in the mud, for it will affect your business s public image.
5. Does the furniture need special cleaning detergents/methods?
6. Where can you buy spare parts?
Maintenance questions are essential if you re willing to keep the ordered furniture for years. You ll need to know exactly how and what to use for cleaning in order to keep your furniture safe. Another thing is to inquire about spare parts in case you need anything for your furniture, most contract suppliers can direct you to specialized shops where you can get spare parts for your furniture such as leg pads, etc. A helpful tip is that suppliers can give you discount coupons for spare parts if a different dealer is involved, make sure to ask your supplier for such an option.
Methods & International Standards
7. What manufacturing methods are employed?
8. Is the contract supplier adhering to international standards?
Manufacturing methods and adherence to common international standards is of utmost importance if you re seeking to have you business recognized internationally or nation wide in the future. Failing to ask questions can be quite costly, since you ll need to order new furniture to suit Green standards or ISO standards to get into a certain privilege club or chain. Better ask than suffer the consequences in case of future expansion.
Installation & Delivery
9. Who s responsible for installation (if any)?
10. Whose delivering the furniture?
Such questions are very crucial for you to have a clear picture of the requirements. Are you required to hire a private installation team, or will the contract supplier provide such service. Similarly, you should be aware of who s going to deliver the furniture and arrange a proper schedule to suit your day.
11. Are there any previous clients to recommend the supplier?
12. Is there a client database catalogue available to preview live samples?
Such questions can help you decide whether the contract supplier is reliable and up to your standards. You might get into a fancy supplier office, only to realize that the furniture designs are not up to your standards when the movers bring it your business. Why not be on the safe side from the beginning?
13. Is it a supply contract?
14. When is the contract invalid?
Those two questions are there to protect your rights. From a legal perspective, you should be fully aware of the contract s type (supply or limited). Supply contracts entail a longer period of constant supplying that can last up to ten years. Make sure you read your contract and to specify the type and duration. Another important part to watch out for is when the contract is considered null or invalid. Such terms are usually in the middle of any contract, and you should read them carefully. Previous clients have suffered from a The supplier is not responsible for any maintenance if X happens... Unaware of such a condition, they had to pay more money to fix the damage done.
15. What is the payment method and sum required?
The final thing to ask is in relation to payment. You should agree on the payment before any contract signing, and make sure to ask for the preferred payment method. Some contract suppliers don t take checks believe it or not. Others won t take hard cash and will prefer bank transfers over checks.
Finally, there s room for many questions but the most important thing is for you to ask. Take some time and brainstorm in any valid points tangible to contract furniture. A good start is usually around the areas of: materials, design, maintenance, brand, delivery, payment, support, contract, discount and bonuses, etc. Don t hesitate thinking the supplier will think you re rude, asking is your right. So ask now and avoid trouble later!
Mr.Nibbinsworth has been writing for Laytrad Contracts about cafe furniture and cafe chairs for several years off-line and has recently started to write online. Get a 5 year quality guarantee on all contract furniture at http://www.laytrad.co.uk/commercial-bistro-furniture.htm
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