Whether your space is partially occupied, undergoing renovations or completely empty,  changing out your furniture, fixtures and equipment requires careful coordination and planning to keep your project on time and on budget. 

However, there’s one element of any Guam-based FF&E project that can derail even the most carefully thought-out installations. It centers around how you receive your FF&E from off-island vendors.  

We’ll walk you through how this seemingly simple part of your FF&E project can create big challenges. We’ll also show you how to choose a partner who can help you avoid this common problem completely. By heading off potential issues, you’ll discover how to easily reduce your risk of cost and time overruns to deliver a successful FF&E project for your organization. 

It all starts before the project even begins. 

Setting Your FF&E Project Up for Success 

When you’re doing an FF&E install on Guam, you’re likely ordering your furniture, fixtures and equipment from an off-island vendor who will ship your items to Guam. 

It sounds simple enough: Your vendor loads the containers with the items you ordered and puts them on a ship for Guam. They arrive, your contractor installs them and the job moves forward. 

However, many project managers don’t take into account the way in which those containers are packed. It sounds like a small detail, but it can make a huge difference. 

Take the example of an install in a working military barracks, where a team of FF&E installers is given a block of rooms to complete on each day: 

  • The team opens the first container on site to find it stuffed with beds at the front. 
  • However, the beds need to be installed last to allow room to place the rest of the furniture in an efficient way, which would also minimize potential damage to all pieces. 
  • The contractor may consider unloading all the beds. However, there’s not enough space on the working base to either unpack all the beds or store them in another location during the install.  
  • As a result, the crew has to request pick-up of the containers so they can go to a warehouse, where they’ll be completely unpacked and repacked so the crew can get access to the furniture, one complete set at a time.  

Because these rehandling and storage costs weren’t accounted for in the original budget, the project budget—and timeline—will have to be revised. As a result, the project has barely begun, and it’s already over budget and running behind. 

This scenario is actually more common than you might think. We’ve seen it happen in both FF&E installs and office and industrial moves.  

However, there is a straightforward solution: Work with an FF&E installer who can partner with a freight forwarder on the U.S. mainland to: 

  • Receive the furnishings and consolidate them so the containers arrive packed in an order that allows the crew easy access to all pieces—not just beds. 
  • Stage the shipment of the containers to reduce warehousing costs on Guam. 

Let’s explore a little more how this could work. 

Staging FF&E on the Mainland 

Whether it’s through your vendor or your own carrier, at some point, your project manager will have to arrange shipping of your FF&E to Guam via ocean freight.  

When this freight goes through a freight forwarder, you’ll enjoy several advantages: 

Advantage #1: Your freight forwarder can receive all of the items, sort them and consolidate them before shipping. That way, the shipment is ready for installation the minute the crew opens the door.  

For example, if every room gets a refrigerator, a bed, a desk and a chair, your freight forwarder will load the cargo to allow access to a full set of all four pieces of furniture at one time. 

Advantage #2: Your forwarder can also ship items in an order that makes sense to avoid unexpected warehousing costs on Guam. For example, if there’s a set of FF&E that won’t be needed until Phase 3 of the project, your forwarder can hold them on the Mainland until that phase of the project is ready to begin, reducing storage costs in Guam. 

Ultimately, these advantages allow your FF&E project to run smoothly from the start. 

  • You’ll avoid cost overruns from unexpected warehousing, transportation and rehandling costs. 
  • You’ll also avoid delays. The installation crews will have access the right items at the right times, instead of waiting around as items are re-sorted. 

Now that you understand the advantages of consolidating and staging your FF&E shipments, let’s talk about how to secure the resources to make it happen. 


Want to see these best practices in action? Check out our case study here

Read the FF&E Case Study


Choosing the Right Partner for a Smooth FF&E Install 

As you’re choosing a partner to execute your FF&E install, you’ll want to examine a number of factors, including their: 

  • Previous experience working with other businesses on Guam. 
  • Proficiency on projects similar to yours. 
  • References ore testimonials from past clients. 

You may also want to ask how they would approach shipping and receiving the FF&E you’ll be ordering for the project.  

  • Ask whether they have a shipping partner who might help with consolidating and staging before the containers arrive on Guam. 
  • If not, ask whether they have a plan for sorting and possibly storing the contents of the containers, especially if they arrive in an unexpected order. This is especially important if you don’t have the room on site to store all the containers you’ll need to complete your project. 

Finally, it pays to have a partner who has additional resources in Guam. You might consider choosing someone who can also help you with: 

  • Receiving your FF&E at the port, clearing customs and transporting to your location. 
  • Removal and disposal of debris after the install.

Although you may not think you need these services when you’re scoping out your project, the unexpected does happen. If your installer offers additional services, you’ll find it easier to bounce back from challenges with minimal time and cost advantages. 

Overcoming the Two Biggest Challenges with FF&E Installs 

Thoughtful planning and coordination is the best strategy for delivering on-time, on-budget projects. That being said, unexpected challenges can derail these goals. However, by targeting one of the most common issues that arises with FF&E installs, you’ll find yourself better positioned to eliminate cost and time overruns for a successful project all around. 


Looking for help with your next FF&E install? We’d be happy to help. We’ve partnered with many organizations on Guam to deliver on-time, on-budget FF&E installs as well as office and industrial moves. To request a quote for installation services, fill out our online form, or call us at (671) 648-1811.

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