11 Questions to Ask Your Furniture Salesperson

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Your furniture salesperson can help you better if you ask questions. Photo (c) Digital Vision / Getty Images

Today's furniture buyers are well informed, and they may not consider a salesperson when researching. They have easy access to a lot of information, and can easily share opinions and experiences with friends and strangers alike.

Even so, and despite the horror stories that abound, your furniture salesperson could turn out to be your best asset. Asking these questions, along with your existing knowledge, should create a super successful shopping experience.

  1. Can I get a better price? When you walk into a furniture store, most likely you will see price tags on everything. A salesperson will also quote you a price if asked. But you can always ask if you could get a better price on that chair, for instance. Every store has different policies and different criteria for lowering prices, but it never hurts to ask. And if you are not in an urgent hurry to buy, you can always ask if there are any upcoming sales when you might be able to buy your desired piece at a lower and more desirable price.

  2. What customization features are available? Manufacturers are making their furniture more and more customizable. It goes beyond merely changing the fabric on your sofa. For upholstery, you can find different options for arm styles, filling, backs, and more. For case goods, you can find different finishes, or even combinations of finishes. So make sure to ask.

  3. Will any customization cost me extra? This is one question people often forget to ask, and sometimes the salesperson will not volunteer the information either. The result, you end up paying more than you thought you would. It is best to go into this knowing what it is going to cost you, and maybe curtail the extent of customization if it doesn't fit your budget. And even if you can afford it, it is best to know before hand.

  1. How was this furniture made? Find out how the furniture was made along with the materials used in its manufacture. For instance, if you're buying a sofa, you need to know what kind of frame it has, and what kind of filling and support does it have. All this affects the quality of your furniture. You may also want to know where it was made, who manufactured it, and if you have sustainability concerns you may want to find out about industry certifications. Find out if the finishes are non-toxic or low VOC.
  1. Do you have other items in the same price range? It is always good to look at all the options before you make up your mind. Take a look at similar items, because you may find that some other piece fits your needs better. If the piece you like seems a little above your budget, also ask to see similar items in another price range. You might be able to find something from another maker that is less expensive, and very close to what you like.
  2. How do you deliver, and how long will it take? Never assume anything about deliveries, even if you have shopped there before. Your order might be a custom order, or they might have changed their policies. Ask about any additional delivery charges as well, and whether they'll call before delivering your furniture.
  3. Why should I buy from you? As a consumer you have the choice to buy or not buy from a store of your choice. Ask what sets this store apart from others, what makes them special. Is it their merchandise selection? Customer service? Pricing?
  4. What guarantees do you have? Find out about any guarantees the store offers. Find out what is covered and if the guarantees are in writing. Some stores have price guarantees, where they match other retailer prices. Some guarantees are about their products or customer satisfaction. Sometimes there are additional guarantees from manufacturers.
  1. What happens if things go wrong? There are so many things that can go wrong with an order. Ask who will be responsible for answering any questions. This is where knowing about guarantees helps. What happens if you decide not to keep the furniture?
  2. How much time do I have if I need to cancel my order? Sometimes, you may want or even need to cancel an order. You should know whether you can do so, and how much time you have for cancelling an order.
  3. Can you remove my old furniture? As anyone who has tried to get rid of used furniture knows, it is a pain and a hassle to get rid of it. Many furniture retailers will remove your old furniture when they deliver your new one. Some of them may even have furniture banks to help find a new home for your old discarded pieces.