Time overruns. Disruptions to business operations. Damaged fixtures or furniture. There are a lot of things that can go wrong during an FF&E install—and the right partner can make all the difference.
To help you pinpoint the right FF&E installer for your next project, ask these four questions. They’ll reveal a complete picture of each provider’s capabilities and experience, while offering key details that will set apart the best of the best. With this information in hand, you’ll be perfectly positioned for an FF&E install that’s on time, on budget, and on point.
Question #1: What Services Do You Offer Beyond Installation?
All-in-one providers can add significant ease to your FF&E install. After all, why locate, choose, and manage multiple contractors if you can find one who’s qualified to handle multiple tasks for you?
As you’re vetting installation providers, of course you’ll want to know that they’re competent in foundational FF&E services, such as:
- Furniture unpacking and assembly
- Lighting and wall fixture installation
- Appliance installation
- Inventory tracking and management
However, during your vetting process, ask about any other capabilities your installer may be able to deliver, including the following.
Can Your FF&E Installer . . . ?
- Ship your FF&E to Guam, including staging freight on the mainland, which can prevent cost and time overruns? What about picking up the freight at the port when it arrives?
- Truck the FF&E to your location, which means one less moving part for you to manage?
- Bring their own equipment to move larger items so you don’t have to worry about having machinery like forklifts on site?
- Offer storage solutions if you don’t have the footprint to host an entire project’s worth of FF&E at your job site?
- Handle removal, disposal and/or recycling of debris, if you need assistance with discarded FF&E and other waste once the project is over?
If you can find a single provider to deliver some (or all!) of these services, it’s easy to see how this would simplify your to-do list significantly.
Question #2: What Kind of Projects Have You Worked on in the Past?
An FF&E installer’s portfolio will be one of the most telling pieces of intel you uncover during your vetting process. By examining past projects, you’ll quickly understand each installer’s knowledge and experience, which can mean a smoother, more professional venture for all parties.
In addition to getting a list of past projects, consider digging a layer deeper with questions like:
- Is there a particular approach you use for each of your projects? In other words, do you have a signature process?
- How do you manage your FF&E projects? Who’s your lead or project manager?
- What kinds of challenges have you encountered on previous jobs? How did you solve them?
- How have you worked with past clients to minimize disruption to regular business operations?
Through these queries, you’ll start to get a strong sense for two things: 1) Whether your potential partner has the know-how and proficiency to add value to this project, and 2) how they work, which will show you whether their style fits with yours.
Question #3: Do You Have References I Can Contact?
Most FF&E installers have a list of past clients willing to act as references. Ask if that’s the case with the installer you’re talking to—and make sure to call the contacts they share! You’d be surprised how many companies collect references but never pick up the phone to do their due diligence.
Additionally, you may want to take your research a step further. When appropriate, consider reaching out to any past clients who your installer has not offered as references. (If you happen to know someone at one of these companies, that can make this process easier!) You might find someone willing to be extremely candid with you, which can offer you a more complete picture of your potential FF&E installer.
Question #4: What Kind of Experience and Training Do Your Team Members Have?
At the end of the day, the team members executing the install will have a huge impact on the success of the project. Ask about the experience and training of your installer’s entire team, from the project managers all the way down to those in the field.
Here’s what to look for:
- Ideally, experience with the brands you’ve chosen. This means the installers will already be familiar with the assembly and installation instructions—as well as any challenges or quirks. Otherwise, experience with other major brands can be helpful, since that knowledge can translate across project lines.
- Professional certifications, such as Certified Office and Industrial Consultants on staff. This indicates a dedication to continuing education and professionalism.
- Moving and transportation experience. After all, your FF&E may need to make its way through tight stairwells, in and out of elevators, and past other obstacles without damage to either the facilities or the FF&E. Contractors with significant moving experience are pros at avoiding nicks, scratches, and other blemishes.
Special Note for Military Projects
If you’re hiring for a project on a military base, make sure to ask about base access. For example, DeWitt Guam’s team has standing base access for both Andersen Air Force Base as well as Naval Base Guam, so we can start on-base projects immediately. Verify the status for any contractors you’re considering, so you can gauge the impact of any associated paperwork and timelines.
The Right Partner Can Be a Game-Changer
Working with an experienced, skilled FF&E installer can make a night-and-day difference in your next project. By asking these four questions during your vetting process, you’ll set yourself up to find the perfect installer, one who plays a key role in keeping your project rolling forward on time and on budget.
Looking for an FF&E partner for your next project? Our team offers a one-stop solution for FF&E installs, including freight, trucking, storage, and installation services. To discover more, reach out to one of our experts for a complimentary consultation.
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