When you’re looking to refresh your space with a new set of furniture, furnishings or equipment, one of the first things you’ll likely consider is how much help you’ll need. Will this be a project that you can handle with your in-house team, or will you need to outsource this project to an entirely different team?

Most of the clients we work with—which have included retail stores, military bases, hotels, restaurants and more—take one of three approaches to their FF&E projects. To help you decide which one is right for your next FF&E project, we’ll walk you through all three. By investigating all the potential angles, you’ll be able to move forward with the confidence that you’ve selected the right approach for your next FF&E project.

Approach #1: Outsource Everything to a One-Stop-Shop

Some businesses don’t feel like they have enough expertise in house to handle their FF&E projects. Others are simply too busy—and need the convenience of outsourcing 100% of these types of undertakings.

Whatever the reason, many businesses look for a provider who can offer a simple, turnkey approach. When you hire a one-stop-shop, they can handle every aspect of your FF&E project, including:

  • Project management from start to finish
  • Developing designs and floor plans for your approval
  • Sourcing FF&E and presenting you with options to choose from
  • Moving FF&E from the manufacturer to Guam
  • Picking up and clearing FF&E at the port, then moving it to your location
  • Locating storage solutions if you don’t have room to store the FF&E at your location during the renovation
  • Installing the furniture, fixtures and/or equipment
  • Cleaning up the project area, including removing and disposing of the old furnishings and any extra debris

The Pros:

When it comes to this kind of solution, you don’t have to worry about finding in-house experts or creating bandwidth so your team can handle the project. Although the firm you choose will need your input and approval throughout, they’ll handle all the details from start to finish—and ideally, keep you on time and on budget throughout.

The Cons:

A 100% outsourced solution is often the most expensive out-of-pocket. That being said, you’ll save yourself and your team a great deal of time and stress. You’ll also be giving up some level of oversight, so make sure you hire a firm you can trust to stick to its milestones and to your projected budget.

Approach #2: Handle Your FF&E Project In-House

If you work with a larger organization with a significant in-house staff who can assist on FF&E projects, you might consider handling almost everything on your own. For example, some larger hotels and resorts may have engineering and construction staff who can complete the project planning, ordering, coordination, and installation from start to finish.

One note: Even if you plan to handle your FF&E project in-house, you may still want to work with a freight forwarder to make sure your containers are packed correctly. This one simple step can save you a ton of time and money over the course of your project.

The Pros:

If you already have all the staff you need on payroll, you’ll be looking at fewer out-of-pocket costs. Additionally, you’ll get the opportunity to train your team so they know the ins and outs of all of the furniture, fixtures, and equipment you own. If a repair or replacement is needed, you’ll have experts on staff, ready to assist. Additionally, if you need to execute another FF&E project, your team will know what to expect—and how they can best assist.

The Cons:

A big FF&E project can take a significant amount of time and energy, especially if you’re doing absolutely everything yourself. If there are any other projects that crop up at the same time, your team may struggle to finish your FF&E project on time. Additionally, you may find that some aspects of your project simply require expertise that you don’t have on staff.

That’s where the third approach comes in.

Approach #3: The Hybrid: Handle What You Can, Outsource the Rest

A number of clients we’ve worked with end up choosing this approach. After all, there are many diverse aspects to an FF&E project, so it can be difficult to find an expert in each one of them on staff. For example, you may find yourself in one of these scenarios:

Perhaps you have maintenance staff who’s very capable—but unfamiliar with assembling the particular brand of furniture you’ve chosen. In this case, you might want to hire an expert to come in and train your team—or simply hire an experienced team to do the assembly for you.

You may not have someone on staff who’s planned or managed a project of this magnitude before. As a result, he or she may struggle to manage all the moving parts: budgets, timelines, contractors, milestones, and more. In this case, you might consider hiring a project manager, one who’s ideally experienced in FF&E projects so they can spot potential issues before they become problems.

You realize you’ve got several containers’ worth of items arriving in a few weeks, and nowhere to store them. If you work with a freight forwarder from the start, they can often come up with creative solutions to stage your freight, store it until you need it, and deliver it to your worksite on the right timeline.

The Pros:

Although these are some common scenarios businesses encounter during their FF&E projects, they’re by no means the only ones. That’s why it pays to work with an expert, especially if you’ve never executed an FF&E project before. An experienced pro can look at your plans, point out any obvious challenge areas, and suggest solutions early, so your project stays on track from the start. Additionally, by taking a hybrid approach, you can leverage at least some of your in-house staff, which can result in a more budget-friendly solution.

The Cons:

You’ll still have to manage a good number of moving parts. And, unlike the one-stop-shop option, you’ll have multiple points of contact if you have questions or challenges. If you outsource the whole project to a single provider, they’ll be your single point of contact for updates, questions, and more.

Choosing the Right Approach for Your FF&E Install

When you’re planning your FF&E project, you’ll likely start with an assessment of your team’s capabilities—and bandwidth. If you have a considerable amount of both, you might elect to do much of the work yourself. However, if your team is already maxed out with their day-to-day duties—or don’t have the kind of specialized knowledge you need for a flawless install—you might consider outsourcing some of your project—or all of it. When you bring in the pros, you’ll benefit both from their specialized knowledge and from their ability to simplify your everyday involvement. At the end of the day, the right solution for your business will be the one that fits your budget as well as the way you prefer to work.




Looking for some help with your next FF&E project? We can be your one-stop-shop solution—or we can offer you some key assistance from our experts if you’re pursuing a hybrid approach. Simply reach out to us for a free consultation to start a conversation around finding the right FF&E solution for you.

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