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Contract Furniture: How to Find a Reputable Supplier

Aug 16, 2008
When it comes to contract furniture there seems to be a supplier on every corner. How do you identify the good from the bad amongst all the options that are available? There are actually four things you can do that will make this process much simpler and put your mind at ease when searching for a reputable supplier of contract furniture.

First, ask the people you know for recommendations. Business owners talk and they are often willing to share simple information such as who provided contract furniture for a certain event or expansion. Do not expect the pleasant tone to remain when you ask about the Colonel's secret recipe however. The truth is that most businesses know that competition is healthy as long as it remains healthy competition and are willing to share secrets such as this much more readily than any trade secrets or where they purchase their drilling tools.

You are not limited to asking your competition though. You can ask friends and family for information. It is quite possible that people you know in other businesses can prove to be excellent resources for information such as who is a great contract furniture supplier and where you can find them. Don't limit yourself to asking those people that you think will know. Ask everyone. The most amazing nuggets of information often come from surprising sources. The more people you ask the more likely you are to get answers. In fact, the more answers you get the more likely you are to find the best. One way is to find the one that gets the most recommendations. Another way is to contact several of the recommended suppliers and talk with each of them. You can learn a lot by actually talking to someone rather than doing business online or through the mail.

Another great way is to check with the Better Business Bureau in your area. While this is not the definitive way to identify businesses that have the best reputation it is a good way to see if any complaints have been lodged against the business in question and how well they have responded to the complaints that have been made. The Better Business Bureau is an excellent resource that is rarely utilized to its full potential. Whenever you have a question about a business it is a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been lodged.

The other great thing about the Better Business Bureau is that you may find others listed that offer the service. Even if you have a list of names that aren't on the BBB website it doesn't mean that you won't find some valuable information there. You also might find a local name or two in the business of contract furniture supply that you haven't yet heard about. For the amount of time it takes to do a simple search and the price of doing so, it is well worth checking with the Better Business Bureau before trusting strangers with something as important as contract furniture for your business needs.

Call Around

It may seem a bit old fashioned but it works. If you want to find the best in the business it is a good idea to call around and talk to those that are in the business. It is much easier to get a feel for a person when you are talking with them on the phone than it is when you are conducting business through email or a website - not that these tools aren't incredibly useful it's just that there is a personal touch when using the telephone that is missing when conducting business online. Of course there was a time when people lamented that the telephone took the personal touch out of face-to-face business dealings. The point remains though that calling around and asking questions is a great way to see who knows their stuff, who's blowing smoke, and who fills you with the most confidence.

Of course you can take this one step further and meet in person before making your final plans. This would be the recommended course of action whenever possible. You never have to work with someone until you sign a contract to work with him or her. Meeting in person gives you the opportunity to see if he or she instills confidence or leaves you wanting to move along to the next potential contract furniture supplier on your list.

Finally, if you are torn between two or more you can always ask for references. Qualified candidates should have a long list of people that are willing to speak up for them and offer recommendations. You may know someone on the list who is all too happy to extol his or her virtues. Seeing what others have to say about the work that a furniture supplier did for them is a great way to help narrow the field even further. You should be able to at least get your options down to a coin toss between two by asking for references and may even find the perfect candidate.

When you ask for references, if you are lucky enough to know one of the referrers you might want to ask if you can see the work that the supplier did for them. Even photos help give an idea of what kind of quality to expect. It never really hurts to ask. The worst that can happen is that you are told no. The best is that you will have found the absolute best candidate for your contract furniture needs.

We live in a world that is constantly crowded by competition. The best candidate for the job is often lost among all the others clamoring for attention. If you take a little time and put it to use investigating your options you should have no trouble finding the perfect candidate for the job in the end. These tips should help you find a reputable supplier of contract furniture that is suitable for your furniture needs.
About the Author
Tony has written several books on cafe chairs, cafe tables and cafe furniture. He also enjoys to write about hotel furniture and gardening.
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