Vetting Hotel Furniture Supply Companies? Don’t Forget These 8 Things

You’ve already made the first big decision; you’ve either decided to begin your journey in hospitality or expand your current hospitality portfolio. 

Either way, congratulations!

As with any major project, you’ll need to assemble a core team that will help bring your vision to life -- and also on time and on budget. That team will likely include a hotel casegoods manufacturer.

But whether you’re looking at a plumber or the vendor for sundry items, you’re not just going to go with the first listing in the phonebook (pardon the dated reference). You’re more likely to look at several options, get quotes, and seek out a few recommendations. 

And with that information, you’re going to want to sit down and take a hard look at everything to make the best decision possible. 

When it comes to selecting a hotel furniture supply company, the same applies. 

To help you navigate these waters and choose the right hospitality casegoods company you’ll want to work with for years to come, we’ve created this helpful checklist of criteria to vet candidates on. 


Choosing a Hotel Furniture Supply Company? Consider These 8 Things:

Like most 3p service providers, there’s no one-size-fits-all hotel furniture supply company. In other words, they come in all shapes and sizes and have different capabilities. 

So how do you get down to the brass tacks of it all and select hospitality casegoods manufacturer that helps you complete your project on-time, on-budget, and within your high quality standards.

Consider these 8 criteria:

  1. Domestic or Foreign 

  2. Communication

  3. Detailed Drawings

  4. Eco-friendly/sustainable manufacturing

  5. Storage

  6. Warranty

  7. Lead Time

  8. Install

1. Domestic or Foreign?

“We love working with U.S.-based companies!”

That’s one we’ve heard a lot from our customers, and we’re happy to be that domestic option for them. 

But, when push-comes-to-shove price always reigns supreme. While foreign hotel furniture supply companies may offer a better price, that does come at a price. Too often, we’ve heard of those who went that route and end up dealing with a host of issues, including:

  • Longer lead times

  • Damaged goods

  • Inconsistent or lacking order quality 

Keeping your manufacturing at home will not only win you major PR points, but it will also increase your overall ROI. Remember, your upfront costs might be cheaper with an international manufacturer, but they may end up costing you more in the long run.

*The rule of thumb when buying from overseas is to order 10% more to account for damage incurred during shipping. Buying domestic, you will not need to buy more and if you are considering buying Attic stock, those numbers can be reduced.

2. Responsive Communication

There’s nothing worse than partnering with anyone only to have them always be difficult to reach (to our last point about foreign or domestic, communication issues can be a major stumbling block from time zones alone when using the overseas option.)

What if a piece of furniture is damaged? Can the vendor get you a replacement quickly? Or what if there’s a delivery issue? Or what if you need to a make a significant adjustment to your order. The list can go on, with the most important question being, “How quickly can you get a hold of your hotel furniture supply company?”

In the case of many custom applications, it is important that your supplier has the ability to anticipate any unexpected obstacles you’ll encounter during the course of the project and are at-the-ready to help and communicate with you in any way.

3. Detailed Drawings

This one is simple.

How do you get an order that meets your exact specifications?

With detailed product drawings.

A road map of sorts, your orders blueprints serve two purposes: telling your hotel casegoods manufacturer exactly what to do and letting you know exactly what they’re going to do. 

If the hotel furniture supply company that’s manufacturing your order can’t commit to providing you with those drawings – and providing them well before they start making the order – it’s a good idea to cross them off your list of potential partners. 

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4. Eco-Friendly/ Sustainable Manufacturing Practices

Now more than ever, people care about not only their personal impact on the environment but the impact the products or brands they support have, too. 

Just like choosing a domestic hotel casegoods company, it’s also a badge of honor of sorts to work with a hotel casegoods supplier that employs eco-friendly manufacturing processes. 

Ask about:

  • Material Sourcing: Do they use sustainably sourced or recycled materials?

  • Production Processes: Are their manufacturing processes designed to minimize energy consumption and reduce waste?

  • Certifications: Do they hold certifications from recognized environmental organizations?

  • Company Policies: What are their environmental policies and initiatives for sustainability?

  • Community and Environmental Impact: How do they contribute to local communities and minimize their broader environmental impact?

5. Factory Provided Storage

Unless you’re planning to shut down your entire hotel (which is not an option for many hoteliers), you will need your casegoods delivered in phases. Your suppliers ability to deliver only what you need, when you need it is something critical to consider early on in a project's planning stages. 

That means that components of your order might need to sit in storage for a bit. With a manufacturer that offers storage, you won’t have to worry about adding another party into the mix and worrying about the risk of damage caused by double-handling; unloading (risk damage), store (risk damage), and then handle again (risk damage) to bring into room.

6. Warranty

Another easy one. 

How protected is your order and for how long? 

The standard warranty for most domestic, hospitality casegoods manufacturers is (5) years from the date of delivery - under normal use.

7. Lead Time

We mentioned this earlier. 

Understanding production lead times is important; especially when you’re ordering custom casegoods. Typical lead times range from 8 - 10 weeks from approved drawings and are driven primarily by the complexity of the product and material lead times.

To ensure on-time delivery, you'll need to interact with your hospitality casegoods manufacturer at certain points in the process. This timeline tells you when to expect to:

  • Give input

  • Review drawings/renderings

  • Receive feedback on the progress of your order

  • & more

Things to consider: Accidents can and do happen. Replacement parts need to be available; and shipping needs to take a few weeks, not a few months. Any reputable supplier will have all your engineered drawings/order details saved, so production can happen quickly.

8. Install

It’s a rarity these days to find a hotel casegoods manufacturer or supplier that offers installation. 

But that doesn’t mean the end of the project should be at the front of their minds. The simple fact is that all the components of your order do have a final destination and will need to be put in their place. 

This means that your hotel FF&E (fixtures, furniture & equipment) needs to consider a variety of factors, such as 

  • Hallway and doorway widths

  • Ingress and egress points

  • In-room utilities – power outlets, plumbing, etc. 

A site visit and survey go a long to work within that frame of mind. 

A Few Other Buyer-Bewares of Choosing a Hotel Furniture Supply Company

Don’t let the headline scare you – this isn’t a doom and gloom section. Rather, we wanted to pose a few red flags you should be aware of before signing on the dotted line. 

  1. Some casegoods manufacturers/suppliers portray themselves as domestic when they’re really not. In some instances, the manufacturer might have a domestic sales rep, but beyond that everything else happens overseas, leaving your project open to the potential issues associated with offshoring. We recommend requesting references from past customers to get a full picture of what a partnership would look like. 

  2.  If your casegood manufacturer is non-committal with a quote, that’s a sure sign of the shape of things to come. You may find yourself dealing with big increases when you get the final bill. To go with the cardinal rule of business, be sure to get everything in writing. 

  3. We’ll go back to the warranty section – double-check on this one. Some manufacturers and suppliers don’t offer the kind of warranty you’re looking for (very limited), or one at all. There’s nothing more frustrating than finding out the hard way that the support you thought you had isn’t there.


If You Don’t Have Time To Do It Right, Will You Have Time for a Redo?

Building the right team of hospitality professionals to support you through this endeavor takes careful planning and consideration. Understanding each person’s strengths (and in some cases weaknesses) is important to your hotel’s success.

Take the necessary time to do your research, ask for references, and remember: your hotel casegoods are an investment.Insider Manufacturing Tips

This article was originally published in 2019 and was updated to reflect industry trends.