Last edited: 9/24/2019
First impressions are everything—and the furniture, fixtures, and equipment in a hotel or restaurant set the tone for the entire customer experience. Whether you’re an interior design firm choosing the FF&E or a procurement professional who’s sourcing it, your work has a huge impact on your clients‘ businesses. It can also have a huge impact on your own. Between new construction and renovation projects on Guam, there are a number of great opportunities available.
At DeWitt Guam, we’ve worked with interior design firms, procurement professionals and directly with hotels and restaurants to ship, stage and install FF&E. In that time, we’ve seen what goes on behind the scenes of these projects.
If you’re looking to add more FF&E projects to your book of business, it all starts with understanding what your potential clients are looking for. We’ve got four tips for you that we’ve gleaned through our FF&E experience to help your proposal stand out—and get you on the path to winning your next FF&E design project:
#1: Potential Clients Need a Reliable Partner with a Proven Track Record
No client wants to be a guinea pig. Instead, your potential clients are looking for firms with experience, ones who know how to manage a well-orchestrated project and understand how to meet any unexpected challenges that arise.
The best way to demonstrate your expertise? Provide references. Although you may not have specific experience with the client’s preferred brand or within their niche, any experience on similar projects will still add to your credibility. To put together a more compelling package, ask your previous clients to highlight specific skills that your new client might be looking for, such as working hand-in-hand suppliers or delivering on-budget and on-time solutions.
#2: Potential Clients Want a Partner Who Adds Simplicity
Completing a new construction project or a renovation comes with a ton of moving parts. If you can find ways to present solutions that simplify your client’s project, you’ll be a much more appealing choice.
When it comes to FF&E, someone who can purchase, procure, ship, stage and install all the furnishings, fixtures and equipment would add significant value. By saving your client from hiring multiple service providers, you’re adding a layer of ease that other competitors may not.
For example, just consider one piece of the FF&E puzzle: staging. During renovation or construction, there may not be room at the site for several containers worth of FF&E. Additionally, what if you open one of these containers and find that your vendor has packed the lobby furniture at the very back, even though you need to get it in place today? This can create a huge set of headaches for your client (and for you too)!
However, if you’ve chosen to work with a partner who can help you stage the shipments properly so you get the FF&E you need when you need it, you can avoid this scenario entirely. In addition to creating a smoother project on your end, partnering with another business to deliver a more complete solution could help you stand out against your competition.
Before you put your proposal together, talk to other service providers to assemble an end-to-end solution. Look for a partner who can help you stage, ship and install your FF&E. In addition to helping you deliver a stronger proposal, it can help you simplify the project for all parties involved.
#3: Potential Clients Need a Partner Who Can Manage Timelines Tightly
When it comes to FF&E installations, timing is crucial. Successful projects are carefully orchestrated to allow enough time for selection, procurement, shipping and installation—all in a timeline that complements any renovation or construction.
While your clients are looking for creative vision, they’re also looking for someone who can deliver on time—and within budget. As you put together your proposal, keep this in mind and make sure to highlight any past experience in project management.
If you’re an independent interior designer, buyer or procurement consultant, you may want to partner with another firm with expertise in project management. It’s essential to find a project manager who can coordinate contractors’ responsibilities and schedules with an eye to the project’s timeline and budget. Look for someone with a proven track record, one who can contribute experience and solid references to your proposal package. If that partner can provide additional services, such as shipping, staging and installation, it can only strengthen your proposal by creating a more streamlined.
#4: Potential Clients Want Partners Who Understand How They Work
When it comes to FF&E projects, the old adage is true: Time is money. Time overruns, partial closures and complete closures all add up to lost revenue for a hotel or restaurant.
As a result, your clients may be looking for a partner who can deliver a phased FF&E project that allows them to keep their operation partially open. Or, they may seek out a partner who can work over weekends and holidays to hit a tight timeline.
As you put together your proposal, look for creative solutions to your client’s desired timelines. A partner who understands their potential client’s business needs—and the way they want to work—will have an edge.
As you choose your own partners to help with staging and install, look for someone with experience in this arena. Have they ever worked in a partially-open space? What challenges did they come up against? How did they solve them? What about time-sensitive jobs that required off-hours or weekend solutions?
With a partner experienced in phased installs, you’ll be positioned to deliver a stronger proposal—and a more successful project overall.
Writing a Winning Proposal
At the end of the day, the strongest proposals aren’t really about you and your firm. They’re about how you can deliver value to your potential clients. This might take the form of streamlining the project to create ease and simplicity, delivering the expertise that avoids potential challenges, leveraging experience to coordinate moving parts flawlessly—and more.
Start by understanding exactly what your potential FF&E clients want. (The above list will give you a head start!) Then, use your proposal to show how you and your partners can deliver exactly what your client needs. The result will be a proposal that stands out, even amongst the fiercest competition.
We’d be happy to help. At DeWitt Guam, we’ve coordinated FF&E projects all the way from shipping to staging to storage to installation. We also offer project management services to coordinate all the moving parts from start to finish.
If you’re looking for a partner who can help you with your next FF&E project or proposal, get in touch with us. We can offer valuable insight in the planning stages, all the way through final installation. Just reach out for a free consultation with one of our FF&E experts.
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