Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Common Questions (a.k.a. FAQ's)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Alexandria VA
    Posts
    13,178

    Default Common Questions (a.k.a. FAQ's)

    Some of the most common questions and concerns that come up I am going to address here, as they are the ones that are frequently asked:

    1. How is the quality of XYZ brand, or how does it compare to ABC brand ?

    In most cases, I don't know - nor do most regular members here. There are thousands of furniture makers, who can possibly be informed on the build structure of each of these companies? it would be a Herculean task to database and examine them all, and is outside the scope of this forum. The best we can do for you is to look at cut-away photos of the build and advise from there - and that is up to you to source them and post here if asking a question.


    2. "How is the comfort of __________."

    Who can recall the comfort level of a piece unless you just sat in it? It's virtually impossible to do - and add to that the subjectiveness of the individual. In my experience, all better made product is generally comfortable, it's the cheap stuff that sits poorly. Of course, some pieces may be better at sitting than others, and others better for lying down and taking a nap. I think it's pretty safe to say in the vast majority of cases, let style guide you and the comfort will be there. If you prefer a firmer sit, be sure to mention that as almost all upholstery companies have a firm seating option at no additional charge.

    3. What is the most durable leather or upholstery?

    Here the answer is "How well are you going to take care of it, and what's your lifestyle?" You use of the piece and the maintenance on it is more likely to determine life of the cover vs the initial selection of materials. Some people are much harder on their furniture than others. Most covers (both leather and fabric) fail due to lack of care and cleaning, and UV exposure (direct sunlight) more than any other factor. For fabric, I suggest you always use Scotchguard, that you apply yourself.

    4. I have a pet, what is the best cover to use?

    I'm a dog lover myself, but furniture is not made for pets to be on and just like people, pets come in all shapes and sizes, with different personalities and traits. In general, the most damage I see on furniture from pets is puppies in the chewing stage, other than that the don't seem to bother it much.

    5. Do you Discount?

    Sure, every dealer does. MSRP is a joke, and done to appease high-end decorators. Discounts on the order of 40% to 50% off MSRP are commonplace.

    6. My photos that I post are sideways and I don't know how to fix them?

    Here's a tip for your iPhone pictures. To prevent them from displaying sideways - ALWAYS - edit them in your phone. After you take a photo, go to the EDIT function and make a slight crop of the photo if nothing else. Once you do that and save it, the photo will always display correctly. Post or send them without editing and they will usually be sideways, its a fluke in the Apple software.
    Last edited by drcollie; 12-10-2018 at 01:33 AM.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  2. #2

    Default Re: Common Questions (a.k.a. FAQ's)

    I've been trying to research retail mark ups for furniture and have come across some older posts on the net that indicate it can range from 200% - 400%. Is this still true today? And, if so, are there different ranges for low-end and high-end furnishings?

    My wife and I are looking to replace recliners and have decided to research 3 manufacturers who appear to have good construction specs. I believe that price-wise they fall into three levels. The three we are most interested in are: Hancock & Moore (highest), Smith Bros. (mid), Best HF (low).

    I fully understand the need for a retailer to make a profit but I have always negotiated on high end purchases -- just need to know what the mark-up is so I don't insult or come off as a jerk.

    Thanks for any help you might provide.

    Ken

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Alexandria VA
    Posts
    13,178

    Default Re: Common Questions (a.k.a. FAQ's)

    No offense, but when you decide how much profit a retailer or dealer is decided to make on an item, you WILL come off as a jerk. That's a path you don't want to go down, as you have no idea of their overhead costs and trying to "compute" a fair cost for them doesn't work.

    FYI, when someone comes into my store and wants to negotiate I politely explain I offer the best possible price already. Most the time they haven't even price-shopped, they just like the thought of hammering out a deal. I won't play that game in my store, its adversarial and I don't want a me vs you situation coming into play. If the person in the store keeps pushing me for better pricing, I simply say "If you can find a better price, go and get it". Most the time they cannot -I know what the other dealers sell for, been doing this 32 years now. I will actually go on record that if you feel you MUST negotiate a price and enjoy that game - save us both the time and frustration and skip shopping my store.

    Low-end furniture typically carries higher margins overall because of freight costs. A 300 lb sofa is a 300 lb sofa regardless if it costs $ 1,000 or $ 10,000. So you have to carry a higher margin on less expensive product to recoup the freight and handling charges. It typically costs me $ 100 to land a 300 lb sofa to my store via my usual carrier, That's 10% of the price of the low end product, but only 1% of the high end one. And the workload is the same to unpack and handle either one. So yes higher margins on less costly pieces.

    Be mindful of the fact it's not all about price. Everyone wants the lowest possible price for their dollar, but if you don't get service to back it up, you may find your purchase aggravating. Just yesterday for example, I had a forum customer who emailed me and said his Hancock and Moore sofa he ordered from me did not fit in his home, the doorway was too narrow. So the delivery company put it in his garage until he could figure out how to modify his door openings. He wasn't complaining, just letting me know so I could tell future customers ordering the same piece (and I appreciate that feedback). My reply to him was I will pay up to $ 300.00 for a professional carpenter to come in and remove the door frame. Am I under an obligation to do that? No, but it's the right thing to do. This is why I don't want adversarial price negotiating, I'm here to help you with your purchase and I will step up when things go south for whatever reason. That's how I do business. In return, I ask people respect my price structures. Make sense?
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  4. #4

    Default Re: Common Questions (a.k.a. FAQ's)

    Quote Originally Posted by drcollie View Post
    No offense, but when you decide how much profit a retailer or dealer is decided to make on an item, you WILL come off as a jerk. That's a path you don't want to go down, as you have no idea of their overhead costs and trying to "compute" a fair cost for them doesn't work.

    FYI, when someone comes into my store and wants to negotiate I politely explain I offer the best possible price already. Most the time they haven't even price-shopped, they just like the thought of hammering out a deal. I won't play that game in my store, its adversarial and I don't want a me vs you situation coming into play. If the person in the store keeps pushing me for better pricing, I simply say "If you can find a better price, go and get it". Most the time they cannot -I know what the other dealers sell for, been doing this 32 years now. I will actually go on record that if you feel you MUST negotiate a price and enjoy that game - save us both the time and frustration and skip shopping my store.

    Low-end furniture typically carries higher margins overall because of freight costs. A 300 lb sofa is a 300 lb sofa regardless if it costs $ 1,000 or $ 10,000. So you have to carry a higher margin on less expensive product to recoup the freight and handling charges. It typically costs me $ 100 to land a 300 lb sofa to my store via my usual carrier, That's 10% of the price of the low end product, but only 1% of the high end one. And the workload is the same to unpack and handle either one. So yes higher margins on less costly pieces.

    Be mindful of the fact it's not all about price. Everyone wants the lowest possible price for their dollar, but if you don't get service to back it up, you may find your purchase aggravating. Just yesterday for example, I had a forum customer who emailed me and said his Hancock and Moore sofa he ordered from me did not fit in his home, the doorway was too narrow. So the delivery company put it in his garage until he could figure out how to modify his door openings. He wasn't complaining, just letting me know so I could tell future customers ordering the same piece (and I appreciate that feedback). My reply to him was I will pay up to $ 300.00 for a professional carpenter to come in and remove the door frame. Am I under an obligation to do that? No, but it's the right thing to do. This is why I don't want adversarial price negotiating, I'm here to help you with your purchase and I will step up when things go south for whatever reason. That's how I do business. In return, I ask people respect my price structures. Make sense?
    Duane,

    No offense taken, and please know that I appreciate your candor. I do appreciate service and both patronize and am willing to pay for it (and do so with my current vehicles). I recently visited a dealer for H&M and was not impressed with the salesperson's knowledge (I did a bit of research on models and had a number of questions) or their approach with regards to answering my questions or seeking information that might afford them the chance to really serve me well. We didn't talk price at all, but I did ask quite a bit about fabric (not sure about leather) and a specific model which they said didn't exist (found it on the website for H&M).

    As I don't have the faintest idea of mark-ups, but do have a sense of overhead and other costs, I'm trying to determine a fair price versus the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail and can't do that without some sense of what the range is. For example, they had some H&M floor items for sale (as we are looking for a pair of recliners, none they had would have worked for us as they were single items) and one, a Ghent recliner in leather (not sure of the rating of the leather) was listed as having an original price of $4,999 and was marked down to $2,999. Another, a Sami (also in leather) was marked down to $1,999 (don't recall the original price of that, think it might have been $2,999). Neither had any blemishes or damage that I could see. Both are substantial reductions from original listed pricing, but to me there was no rhyme or reason for the size of the discount.

    I do plan on shopping a bit with the hope that I would be able to get a sense of price points but, at the moment I'm just beginning the process, and trying to learn as much as I can about both the product lines and the dealers with whom I might be purchasing from.

    Again, I appreciate your candor and your advice.

    Ken

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Alexandria VA
    Posts
    13,178

    Default Re: Common Questions (a.k.a. FAQ's)

    MSRP in the furniture business is ridiculously high and done so because of pressure from Decorators to have artificially inflated Suggested Retail Prices. Most the people that use Decorators 1) Don't ever set foot in a furniture store and 2) Don't want to pay the Decorator an hourly / job wage for their services. So the Decorator needs that high MSRP to come off looking like a hero by giving them 20% off the price. It's how they have to make their living. So that's why you see even bigger discounts when you go into stores yourself. Generally I tell folks that around 50 % off MSRP is usually a pretty fair price for product, +/- a few percentage points either way.

    Credit cards have become a major expense for retailers. Everyone (myself included) carries rewards / cash back cards in their wallet. Guess who pays for those rewards? YOU DO, via the merchant price structure. The issuing bank is not paying those rewards, they charge the merchant for them. When I get a merchant bankcard statement, there are approximately twenty-three levels of charges for various rewards cards and my average payout is 3 %. So, to get your best price on furniture take your checkbook with you and ask for a cash/check discount (debit cards and PayPal carry fees, they are not cash). I now quote all my pricing in Cash/Check and then add in 3% for credit cards, because most people want the lowest possible price. I find most customers prefer this and it has cut my credit card processing in half. Know what your rewards payout is on your card which is usually around 2 % and how much the merchant will discount for cash - usually you will come out ahead that way.

    To look at a H&M NC7000 Ghent Recliner, the current published MSRP varies from $ 5,130 in GR 1 and goes all the way up to $ 8,940 in GR 5 leather, so knowing which leather is on the piece is critical to knowing if the price is good, or not. Using that 50% off MSRP as key, we see that GR 1 comes in about $ 2,565, correct? So that makes that $ 2,999 price "Marked Down" from $ 4,999 not a great deal, but not a terrible one, either. Where they came up with $ 4,999 as MSRP is anyone's guess as its not the published figure.

    Then, if in a promotional leather, the price can be even lower than in the standard 1 through 5 leather grades and both the NC7000 and 1080 Sami are run on promotions, but only in selected leathers, so its critical to know the cover in order to get accurate pricing. Add in the ever-challenging Chinese tariffs mandated by the Trump Administration of currently 3% going to 25% (Jan 1) and you have an even more confusing price picture. About half the GR 1 and GR 2 hides are from Chinese tanneries, so that becomes a factor.

    Best thing to do is a little price shopping once you know the model you want, and the cover. You are not going to see actual selling prices on a public website anywhere, nor do I discuss them on the forum for Hancock and Moore as they forbid that. However you can get actual pricing from any H&M dealer by picking up the phone or even getting an email quote.

    Hancock and Moore is a complex line to learn and you will find the majority of salespeople have a basic working knowledge of the line but nothing in-depth. Any questions you have specific to to the line you can ask here on the forum and I will usually know the answer.
    Last edited by drcollie; 12-10-2018 at 01:35 AM.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  6. #6

    Default Re: Common Questions (a.k.a. FAQ's)

    Thanks, again for sharing your knowledge and for your candor. You helped answer a number of my overarching questions and I'm feeling more confident as I move forward. I'll definitely be in touch.

    Ken

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: Common Questions (a.k.a. FAQ's)

    As someone who has recently been through this process let me share a couple of things I learned. I only have 2 local dealers of H&M and one was definitely more knowledgeable than the other. However, even the more knowledgeable one did not know about all the programs H&M offers because some apparently require buying into them or have other requirements and that store chose not to participate. Sales people are generally not aware of lines their store does not carry. If you are interested in a particular line you might want to call to see if they participate. I can’t remember which lines they are but I think the “Your Way” program might be one.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Common Questions (a.k.a. FAQ's)

    I too recently went thru the process of purchasing new sofas (see my post "Absolutely the Best Place to Buy a Leather Sofa" in this forum). One place I visited had a sofa I liked and offered me a "deal" on buying two identical units, which I was in the market for. The offer was 50% off the first and 40% off the second. Duanes pricing beat them hands down so I seriously doubt I was being offered the quoted % off the MSRP by the first store. Duane knows his products inside and out, he will give you honest advice and excellent service at a fair competitive (if not lower) price.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Common Questions (a.k.a. FAQ's)

    Quote Originally Posted by colby View Post
    I too recently went thru the process of purchasing new sofas (see my post "Absolutely the Best Place to Buy a Leather Sofa" in this forum). One place I visited had a sofa I liked and offered me a "deal" on buying two identical units, which I was in the market for. The offer was 50% off the first and 40% off the second. Duanes pricing beat them hands down so I seriously doubt I was being offered the quoted % off the MSRP by the first store. Duane knows his products inside and out, he will give you honest advice and excellent service at a fair competitive (if not lower) price.
    Colby (and Sue), thanks so much for sharing your experiences. Both suggestions are appreciated.

    Ken

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-22-2016, 11:10 AM
  2. Why you don't ship Common Carrier..
    By drcollie in forum Customer Reviews & Shipping Information
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-05-2014, 10:19 PM
  3. New and Many Questions
    By Donna in forum The Lobby
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-01-2012, 10:25 AM
  4. Questions on H&M
    By drcollie in forum Leather Upholstery
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-07-2011, 11:05 PM
  5. B&Y questions
    By Goodgal in forum Leather Upholstery
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 01-10-2010, 12:21 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •