One of the most common questions we get from new clients is, "What is commercial or contract furniture anyway?" In simple terms, it's furniture not intended for residential use. The official definition is: Commercial furniture is manufactured to meet established industry standards. It is subject to stringent testing and a certification process. It is then sold exclusively by local dealerships.
The difference between commercial furniture and retail furniture can be a bit confusing. There are many things that both do well. But, there are perks to buying commercial grade furniture and working with a certified furniture dealer like us. For instance, if you buy storage for your desk, will it match and fit into place? Do you know what type of seating works best for what task? Maybe, but maybe not. If you work with a knowledgeable dealer, the answer is yes.
It's not just about working with a dealer though. It's about what furniture best suits your needs and business challenges. Commercial grade furniture may be the right choice for you if:
- Your employees are going to use the furniture for hours, days-in and days-out.
- The furniture is going to be used for numerous years by many employees.
- You need it to last so it must be made of higher quality, more durable components.
- You're looking to easily clean and maintain it.
Most commercial grade furniture is sold in large quantities, because it's generally sold for an entire office. That's why one common concern with commercial grade furniture is the price tag. Yes, in fact, it usually does cost a bit more than residential. However, it also lasts much longer than residential. If you don't want to have to replace it for years to come, commercial is the best option and can save you dollars in the long run.
Many commercial furniture brands have good warranties too. These warranties are typically for a longer service period than residential furniture. For instance, we're a certified Herman Miller dealer. All of their product comes with a 12-year warranty that includes parts and labor. And, when warranty work is performed in the U.S. and Canada, it covers the cost of service.
Lastly, there was a time when commercial furniture might not have had as many design options or choices. But, today, there are many options that are modern and look like they could be residential. For instance, look at the Naughtone fiji chair or the Geiger Tuxedo sofa. You can even go fashionably classic and mid-century modern with Herman Miller's Eames collection. Really, the choices are pretty endless, and you're sure to find something that fits your style.
Ultimately, it's about what's best for your business goals and the culture you want to create. Just keep in mind how important your furniture selection truly is to your bottom line and to your employees' experience. Below is a recent report Herman Miller completed that will give you real world examples of just how impactful furniture can be to your business if chosen wisely.