Commercial Realtor Tip from the Pros: Securing a Top Office Furniture and Cubicle Partner
We work closely with commercial realtors every day. After all, our businesses cross paths frequently. We both eat, sleep, and breathe new office buildings, business expansions, and office relocations.
From our experience, commercial realtors are often asked by their tenants to recommend where to find various office-related items, including furniture and cubicles. We decided to sit down with a commercial realtor to pick his brain about what he looks for in an office furniture provider. Our goal was to put together a few expert tips for other realtors who are approached by their tenants as well.
We recently sat down with Richard F. Smith, Jr., Vice President of Avir Realty Group, Inc., at their office in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. We asked him: What makes a great office furniture partner?
“Obviously you want a partner who is knowledgeable about the products and understands what tenants need when they are moving into office space,” says Smith. “But to me, it’s more than just knowing what you’re talking about. Since you are making the recommendation for business, like with anything else it’s your name that is attached. You want your tenant to have an outstanding experience, and you want their job to be done right the first time.”
Below are some more specific traits that Mr. Smith looks for in an office furniture partner.
Like in all aspects of business, people expect their phone calls to be returned and their emails to be answered. The ideal partner in this field is large enough to be able to provide excellent customer service but small enough to be able to add that personal touch that businesses and individuals expect.
“If I am recommending a cubicle and office furniture company, I need them to be there to take my tenants’ calls. But that’s just the first step. Similarly to how I work with architects, if the tenant decides to move forward with them, I need to be able to rest assured that the company I’m referring to will be there every step of the way – from selecting the right products to laying out and setting up the office. And if they have questions throughout the process – which they will – they need to be answered in a timely fashion. Lack of communication just does not work for anyone.”
Creativity comes in many forms. Many people in charge of selecting office furniture think about colors, styles, and fabrics. While these are all important elements of a business location, space planning and office layout also require a creative touch.
“The high majority of tenants I work with are ecstatic when moving into their new office setting. I enjoy helping them select the right space for their needs, but for them this is only half the battle. Laying out the office comes next. With this in mind, I look for furniture partners whose teams have a keen sense of design to help people turn the vision for their office environment into a reality. From my experience, companies with creative personnel who assist with office layout maintain more long-lasting relationships with tenants who have furniture needs than those who deliver product.”
There are many factors that determine what types of cubicles and office furniture an organization may need, and no two situations are alike. Factors like spacing, colors, configurations, power requirements, type of workers, and quantities vary for each organization. According to Smith, the right partner will have products that meet the needs – and budget – of every tenant
“It’s no secret that companies’ budgets vary. I work with multimillion-dollar entities, start-ups, and small to mid-sized entities alike. Some organizations involve architects and can afford elaborate offices, while others just need great-looking cubes that offer privacy and a comfortable “home away from home” for their employees. I need a partner that has an extensive product line and can come through in all of these different scenarios. It makes no sense from my standpoint to hire one vendor for higher-budget tenants and one for lower-budget tenants, for instance. The ability to always recommend the same quality partner makes my life easier.”