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Sticky situation with furniture buying – Feedback Please!

Posted by ann2010 (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 15, 10 at 11:01

Objective advice is needed! Fall 2009 I requested pricing on some pieces from one of the major players in NC. I couldn’t make up my mind on the pieces and fabrics (I’ve made a few mistakes in my time), so in December ‘09 I called a local design firm. He drew 4 or 5 rough floor plans and had some great ideas. He also pulled a few (10-20) fabrics. I am using one of his floor plans (1 long sofa, four chairs, large ottoman). The sofa and two wing chairs are ones that I looked at and had priced before I met with him. I spent a couple of mornings (w/out assistance) in his shop picking about 30 fabrics. He helped me narrow it to the final 5.
Short version – I had pricing on most of the pieces I ended up choosing before I met with him, so I know the comparison. Total package locally $9992 + tax. Total package from NC $8067 (includes delivery, + tax).
No I don’t want to cheat him. I like him, his service and would like to use him in the future; however $2000 is $2000. Scenarios going through my head –
1. – First choice is that he comes down a little on price. If I paid him $1000 more than the other bid, I would be ok with it. I’d guess he’s spent about 5-6 hours on my project. My issue - are designers completely offended when this is brought up and will it be awkward from here on out? (would love feedback on that one) If that’s the case, I should have just gone with the other company.
2. –Second choice is purchase the most expensive piece (sofa) from him, remain silent and get the chairs from NC. The spread on the sofa is $700, so he would be compensated.
3. – Compensate him for his time and go with the lower bid (really, really don’t want to do this)
Any other ideas are welcome and needed! Really want feedback if it’s worth my time to try to negotiate price with him. I don’t want to seem like a cheapskate. THANK YOU

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Sticky situation with furniture buying – Feedback Please!

When you first met with him, was compensation mentioned?

I can't think a pro would spend six hours and not have an idea how he was going to be paid.

Also, it might be a good idea to cross post this on the Home Decorating forum. There are a few pros, and plenty of other people, with experience in these matters.

RE: Sticky situation with furniture buying – Feedback Please!

Thanks --I will post this in the Home Decorating forum. Compensation was mentioned at the initial meeting and I was only advised that the service was no charge as long as an order was placed. He carries brands such as Century, Councill, Hickory Chair, Sherrill, etc.

RE: Sticky situation with furniture buying – Feedback Please!

I think the only true options you have are (1) and (3).

The one thing that should've been specified at the beginning was the fee the designer would charge if you chose not to buy from the shop. At this point, I wouldn't hesitate to ask him or her now what that charge would be.

Good luck!

RE: Sticky situation with furniture buying – Feedback Please!

Give you designer the opportunity to compete with the price from NC. If he is a professional in the business for a few years he has experienced it before.

One thing you really need to think about is the justification in your mind that it was a couple of mornings, 10-20 fabrics, few hours, etc. More or less the idea that it wasn't that much time. Think of it this way - I went to the doctor and he spent 15 minutes with me and it cost a lot of money. I'm not really paying for the 15 minutes, I'm paying for the years of education and practice that came before that 15 minutes. The reason he could do your lay-out and fabric selection in a couple hours and you couldn't is the same reason I cannot diagnose my own health problems. I'm not educated in that field. Your paying for all the time he put in before the day you walked in the door and you are taking his ideas and putting them into practice.

Just be honest with him just as you were here. You will pay a premium but not as much as it seems to be. I think he will agree.

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