How to Buy Construction Materials and Furniture for Your Office: The Complete Guide

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Are you starting a business and weighing your option between running your business virtually or having a physical location?

With the e-commerce trend going strong, there’s still a need for businesses to have an organized workspace where employees can work together as a team. A physical office contributes to the value of a business and helps attract quality employees and clients.

And when your business is expanding, you’ll need to think of having your own office building to facilitate increased production and accommodate a growing workforce.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to buy construction materials and furniture for your office.

I. Where to Buy Building Materials and Furniture for Your Office?

1. Buy Construction Materials and Furniture from Local Sources

Finding local suppliers of construction materials and furniture should be easy. You’ll have many local suppliers presenting products at different price points. But look closely at the choices available. Do the materials offered to you fit your exact needs? Will it be more economical if you buy from abroad, especially when most products offered are manufactured overseas anyway?

2. Buy Building Materials and Furniture from Abroad

Many of the products you use every day were made in China. That’s because China is considered as the manufacturing capital of the world, accounting for 28.4% of global manufacturing output in 2018. The United States comes in second in global manufacturing output at 16.6%.

II. Why Purchase Office Construction Materials and Furniture from China

1. Guaranteed Quality

In a race to win foreign clients in a highly competitive market, Chinese manufacturers give buyers assurance of high product standards. Proof of high-quality standards is the presence of well known international brands having manufacturing bases in China. Many international furniture designers have their furniture manufactured in China. Global brands like Ikea, Ethan Allen, Ashley Furniture, and Raymour & Flanigan import furniture from China then sell them with their own brand name.

2. Cheaper Cost

When you buy directly from manufacturers, you’ll save a lot of money. International buyers receive great value from Chinese manufacturers with the advantage of having much lower labor and manufacturing costs than other countries. The savings from manufacturing costs more than compensate for the shipping cost of products across the Pacific.

lower manufacturering cost

3. Lots of Manufacturers to Choose from

There are tens of thousands of building materials manufacturers and furniture manufacturers in China. Most are small to medium-sized businesses with no brand names, selling their products in the international market.

4. Wide Range of Products

You’ll find many different products in every possible variation when you deal with Chinese suppliers. Whatever you need, there’s a Chinese supplier who can customize their products to suit your exact needs.

5. Easy Payments

Importers use the US dollar, considered as the global currency, to pay Chinese suppliers. The usual payment methods include:

  • Letter of Credit
  • Telegraphic Transfer
  • Alibaba Trade Assurance
  • PayPal
  • Multi-Currency Accounts
  • Payoneer
secure and reliable logistics

6. Secure and Reliable Delivery

China’s emergence as a global power in trading is due mainly to its massive logistics infrastructure. This ensures a secure and reliable delivery of products from Chinese suppliers to international buyers.

III. Preparations Before Purchasing Office Construction Materials and Furniture from China

1. Consider Major Cities and Their Popular Products

In considering Chinese manufacturers when purchasing your construction materials and furniture, you need to know that China has manufacturing clusters. Foshan and Guangzhou cities are well-known for building materials and furniture. Several wholesale markets offer a comprehensive range of products at very affordable rates.

2. Know about Office Design

Why do you need a good office design? A workspace needs to be designed in a way that employees can comfortably perform their jobs. Office plans may differ based on the company’s needs. A good office layout design leads to work efficiency and better morale among employees.

Here are the most popular types of office layouts:

  • The Most Popular Types of Office Layouts

  • Open space office

Modern workplaces favor the open space office plan, where workspaces don’t have walls, separators, or passages. Instead, cabinets, cupboards, shelves, and screens serve as separators between workstations. An open space layout encourages communication and teamwork. However, in this office layout, employees experience more interruptions and lower levels of concentration because of noise and the lack of physical barriers between employees. Another benefit is that it takes up less space, resulting in lower square footage costs, and savings on lighting and heating.

Open Space Office
  • Private room office

In the private room office layout, interior walls span from floor to ceiling. In traditional offices, the private room is usually reserved for senior management. Private offices give employees privacy and a quiet work environment.

Private Room Design
  • Cubicle design office

Offices with cubicles use partition walls that surround the tables from three sides that give their cubicle shape. This design is a practical option for businesses requiring confidentiality for employees but don’t have the budget to have private offices for everyone.

Cubicle Design Office
  • Cluster design office

The cluster type office is designed for team-based work. In this set-up, employees are grouped as a team in a cluster, sharing a single table for better communication and collaboratione.

Cluster Design Office
  • Tips for Designing the Office

How do you choose a design for your office? Here are some considerations:

  • Pay attention to color schemes

Your office color scheme should be the result of a well-thought-out decision. That’s because colors have a significant effect on people. Consider also the colors that you use for your company branding. Choose colors that serve as the perfect background for working productively. Your office colors should inspire your employees to work.

  • Consider office space planning

In space planning, remember that employees should have enough space to move around comfortably. Also, there should be spaces in the office for specific uses, like break rooms, meeting rooms, and quiet rooms. Space planning should also consider safety issues. There should be enough space so that people can exit the building safely and quickly in case of an emergency.

Office Design- focus on light and greenery
  • Focus on light and greenery

Light plays a critical role in employees’ physical and mental wellbeing in the workplace. A sound lighting system enhances employees’ wellbeing, energy, and mood, and affects their productivity. There should also be enough windows to let the natural light enter the office.

Do you know that it’s also good practice to have greenery inside the office? Besides giving us clean air, plants help reduce stress and boost creativity and productivity.

  • Map out furniture placement

In arranging office furniture, you should keep entryways clear and be mindful of traffic flow. Your entryway should have only a few furniture pieces near it as possible so that there will be a smooth flow of traffic. Keep walkways open and create a space that’s easy for people to move around in.

  • Decorate to inspire and motivate

The office needs to be a space where employees are inspired and motivated to work. Choose office decor that will help achieve this objective. Consider adding artwork to the workplace. Artworks create visual interest and enhance employee creativity.

3. Get to Know the Types of Office Building Materials

  • Interior Building Materials

  • Doors and windows

When choosing office doors, you must decide how you plan to use your office space and how you prefer to separate the rooms. Office doors can be full-glass, metal, or a combination of wood and glass.

Windows help you control the amount of light and temperature in your spa, as well as invite in a cool breeze if you need a breath of fresh air. Windows help control the amount of light in your office and invite in a cool breeze when you need a breath of fresh air. Windows installations are usually available in wood, vinyl, and fiberglass frames.

  • Ceiling

Office ceilings add aesthetic appeal to your business environment. They make office spaces feel airy and wide, or cozy and comfortable. Good office ceiling design helps you optimize lighting, manage acoustics, and reduce energy costs.

  • Flooring

The best office flooring for your business depends on the space you want to cover, the amount of foot traffic each area gets daily, the overall interior design style of your workplace, and your budget. Having the same flooring for an entire workplace provides visual continuity, but having different materials helps to indicate different work areas according to their various uses.

  • Cabinets

Look for cabinet solutions providers that let you customize the space to accommodate your office equipment and gadgets, your work style, and your design style. Consider a wrap-around cabinet for your office if you need ample storage space for files, papers, and reference materials.

  • Sanitary and bathroom fittings

Bathroom fittings provide convenience to employees and customers, and keep the space hygienic. Sanitary wares like toilets are used regularly for hygiene concerns.

  • Exterior Building Materials

  • Roofing and siding

Equip your office with a premium-quality roofing system that can withstand any kind of weather and have a beautiful and appealing appearance.

The right siding material weathers well and serves to protect your building structure from wind, moisture, fire, mold, and more. When installed properly, siding can also help lower your energy bills.

  • Deck and railing

Decking should be able to withstand constant use. Your choice between timber and composite decking materials determines the durability of your deck. It will also affect the cost and the amount of maintenance required in the future.

Railings on stairways, decks, and ledges add beauty to a building, but the primary purpose of the railing should always be safety.

  • Steel frame

Steel frame structures are often used in high rise buildings because of their strength, low weight, speed of construction, flexibility, and plasticity.

4. Make a List of Construction Materials and Furniture for Office

(Case study for reference)

Office Furniture

  • Sofa
  • Office Desk
  • Office Chair
  • Office Drawer

Office Kitchen

  • Office Coffee Bar
  • Storage Cabinets for Office

Soft Decoration

5. Consider Your Budget

Your budget largely determines the type and quality of building materials and furniture that you’ll be purchasing. Aside from the product cost, consider also the shipping cost and miscellaneous costs associated to be incurred in the importation process. You don’t have to buy the most expensive items nor the least costly items. Buy the best quality products that are within your budget.

IV. Where To Find Office Building Materials and Furniture in China?

The process of looking for a Chinese manufacturer starts with your requirements for finding the right product and manufacturer. Have a list of “must-haves” and “nice to haves” for both product and manufacturer so that it would be easy for you to narrow down your potential list of manufacturers.

You can employ a Chinese sourcing agent who will guide you throughout the importation process. Make sure that you hire the best manufacturers that will fulfill your requirements.

1. Online Sourcing

You’re presented with plenty of options when doing online sourcing of Chinese manufacturers.

It’s a convenient way to make an initial list. But you still need to verify these suppliers to minimize your risk..

  • Google

A simple Google search for “office building materials manufacturer in China” and “office furniture manufacturer in China” yields pages and pages of websites that you can browse to find what you need.

Google Search Office Building Material and Furniture
  • Forums

Online forums are excellent sources of information about different businesses and people’s actual experiences doing business with certain companies. Quora and Houzz are good examples. There are also Facebook groups for architects, interior designers, and the like. Start with a keyword search and participate in the conversations to get valuable insights.

  • Alibaba

Alibaba is the world’s largest online B2B marketplace in the world, where people source products made in China. A simple keyword search for the product you’re looking for, in this case, “office building materials” and “office furniture,” brings you a list of manufacturers that you can further narrow down depending on your criteria. Some listings will catch your attention because of the product designs and information presented.

2. Trade Shows

Attending trade shows is a productive way to meet with several suppliers in a short period. New products, services, and technologies are on exhibit that can be seen a few months later by the general public. Here you can see actual products and check the quality.

The Canton Fair or China Import and Export Fair is the largest trade show in the world, and is held in Guangzhou every spring and autumn. The exhibit was first held in 1957. It is divided into 3 phases. Similar products or services are grouped together, including building materials and furniture, and are featured for a specified period.

The China International Furniture Fair (CIFF) takes place twice a year in Guangzhou in March and in Shanghai in September. It features home furnishing products, home decor, home textile, office furniture, commercial furniture, hotel furniture, outdoor furniture, furniture machinery, and raw material.

3. Wholesale Market

Building materials wholesale markets in China offer unbeatable avenues for businessmen and consumers alike to purchase materials for business and personal use.

  • Casa Ceramics and Sanitary Wares Mall

This is a one-stop-shop for high-end building materials, including sanitary ceramics, sanitary ware, architectural ceramics, hardware, and water accessories.

  • China Ceramics City

This ceramic wholesale market occupies 3,000 square meters and houses over 140 well-known Chinese and foreign brands.

  • Foshan Huayi Decoration Material Mall

This mall offers a wide range of building materials including doors, windows, lighting, wallpaper, and other materials for your construction and renovation needs

  • Shunde’s furniture malls

Shunde is a Chinese city devoted to the manufacturing, wholesale, and retail of furniture. Known as “Furniture City,” it has over 1500 furniture manufacturers and 3,500 Chinese and international furniture dealers with showrooms in 200 modern buildings covering an area of over 3.0 million square meters. Some of the furniture malls in Shunde are:

  1. Louvre Furniture mall
  2. Sun-link Furniture Wholesale Market
  3. Tuanyi International Furniture City
  4. Red Star Furniture

V. The Do’s and Don’ts of Buying Office Building Materials and Furniture

Office Buying List

1. Do Get the Correct Measurements

You must have the correct measurements for all the items that you need to buy. That would include measurements in terms of quantity, product dimensions, and dimensions of the area where these materials will be placed. You should also consider the measurements of doorways and staircases to determine if the furniture and building materials can easily fit through.

2. Do Look at Ergonomic Needs

Ergonomic needs have to be considered to make sure that people are comfortable when using furniture. Ergonomically-designed furniture minimizes stress and strain on people who use it and lessens the risk of workplace injury.

3. Do Consider a Timeless Design Style

Adopting timeless classic designs ensures that your pieces won’t be outdated or obsolete after a short time, and will still look right through the years. Classic design elements include clean lines, symmetric design, basic colors in single or two-tone, and natural wood tones.

4. Don’t Prioritize Price Over Quality

Always choose quality over quantity. Building materials and furniture made of inferior materials will deteriorate fast. Soon you’ll have to replace them with new ones. The savings you get initially from buying cheaper stuff will be wiped out when you have to repurchase new items.

Quality over Price

5. Don’t Overlook Practicality and Functionality

Before buying any type of furniture, think about how it will be used in what location. Don’t buy office furniture just because it looks good; otherwise, it only takes up precious space. That coffee table is not needed in your small reception area. Also, you get more value for your money when you buy furniture that has multiple functions. Office desks with storage for files and stuff are a good buy.

6. Don’t Buy from the Wrong Company

Choosing the right supplier is a long and complicated process. Still, it would be well worth your time and financial investment when you find one that can fulfill your requirements and one you can work with for the long-term. So at the outset, look for a reputable company that stands by the quality of its products and takes good care of its customers.

VI. Factors To Consider When Choosing the Perfect Supplier

1. Price Versus Quality

What is your priority when purchasing building materials and furniture in China? Obviously, you want to buy at a low price, but you also need to look at quality issues. You can avoid potential problems by choosing suppliers with a solid reputation for producing quality products, and whose supply chains are known to be safe and of a high standard.

2. Availability and Flexibility

  • Availability of Various Supplies

Various Product Types for Office
  • Product types

The perfect supplier is capable of producing items in different variations so that buyers will have many options. For example, for an office table, you’d like to work with a manufacturer that can produce tables of varying sizes, shapes, and materials because you’ll likely need different types of tables for the different rooms and diverse people working in your office.

  • Price selection

Aside from having different product types, the right supplier will have products at various price points to cater to buyers having different budgets.

  • Maintain Flexibility and Respond to Change

The perfect supplier (as well as a buyer) is open to negotiations in order to solve the buyer’s problem. Maintaining flexibility in the purchase terms creates a win-win situation where the buyer gets to acquire the product that he needs, and the seller obtains a customer and earns from the transaction. To create that situation where both buyer and seller wins in the transaction, the seller (and buyer too) should be able to respond in a positive way to changes that happen in the course of the deal

3. Service and Efficiency

  • Provide Product or Service

The perfect supplier can provide the products required by the buyer according to the terms previously agreed upon and as indicated in their contract.

  • Ensure an On-time Delivery

Terms that the perfect supplier needs to comply with include ensuring on-time delivery of products. Because the buyer needs to adhere to a schedule that’s dictated by business needs and their own clients.

4. Reliability and Responsibility

  • Show Short Reaction Time

The perfect supplier is quick to react to customer requests. The supplier should reply back immediately to acknowledge the buyer’s concern, and let the buyer know how the seller will handle the stated concern.

  • Provide On-Time and Proper Trouble-Shooting

When problems arise, the perfect supplier quickly provides long-lasting solutions and helps buyers avoid future issues.

VII. Terms about Request For Quotation

The Minimum Order Quantity is the minimum number of units or physical stock needed to order from a supplier, or that a supplier is willing to sell. For example, if a supplier’s MOQ is 100 pieces, you must purchase at least 100 pieces before that supplier can accept your order.

The sample price is the price for a sample order. It is typically offered before proceeding with the production of a bulk order. Depending on your suppliers, you may get product samples for free or with a fixed fee.

The production price depends on the number of products you want to order, so you should negotiate for a reasonable price. Ask your supplier for a schedule of costs and discounts for your reference.

The production lead time or manufacturing lead time is the period when a buyer first placed an order and the order is completed and fulfilled by the manufacturer.

The shipment time is the period taken by a shipment to reach its intended destination.

When importing products from China, the typical payment term is a 30% upfront deposit payment before manufacturing. The balance is payable upon completion, but before shipping, after quality control and lab testing. Some suppliers may allow an adjustment of payment terms as the transaction progresses.

VIII. Purchase Process

1. Deliver Floor Plans

Have the floor plans for your office building ready. Double-check that you have the correct measurements to ensure that materials to be purchased will fit allotted spaces.

Office Floor Plan

2. Determine Product Supplies Solution

From the floor plans that you have submitted, your supplier will offer a preliminary design and an appropriate product supplies solution that fits your needs and your budget, while keeping in mind your company’s overall vision for the office building.

3. Confirm the Final 3D Design

After doing consultations and making the necessary adjustments on the preliminary design, the supplier will provide the final 3D design rendering with recommended materials, and comprehensive design detailing.

4. Complete Orders

In choosing building materials and furniture, it’s essential to consider quality, value for money, design, and product lifespan. After selecting the building materials and furniture for your office, it’s time to complete all order details and arrange the production of products needed. Make sure that contracts are drawn with all the complete details and specifications indicated to avoid production delays.

5. Wait for Delivery

Once production is complete and satisfactory quality control inspections are made, your supplier arranges for delivery using their logistics expertise. You then wait for the delivery to arrive at the designated location.

IX. Challenges When Importing Office Building Materials and Furniture

Language Barrier when Buying Building Materials and Furniture for Office

1. Language Barrier and Tips to Solve

Language barriers pose a big challenge for international traders, as this can cause many misunderstandings and may even be a reason that a deal falls through. To prevent this, work with a supplier that you find easy to communicate with. The supplier should have someone on staff who can converse in basic business English. Alternatively, you can hire a reputable interpreter who can speak well in English and the local Chinese dialect.

2. Quality and Quantity Issue and Tips to Avoid

When quality and quantity issues arise, a Chinese manufacturer of good standing will not hesitate to correct their mistakes. To avoid errors in quantity and quality issues, double check your contract to ensure that all information is correct. Make sure to have open communication with your suppliers so that when problems arise, these can be immediately corrected. And most importantly, choose a supplier with a reputation for consistently producing quality items.

3. Delayed Shipment and Tips to Avoid

Unfortunately, delayed shipment is common due to several reasons. Some are avoidable, and some are not. To avoid this problem, take note of the schedule of packaging, loading, transit, and any other steps in importing cargo from China. Also, make sure that all the paperwork is correct and complete.

X. How George Buildings Can Help You

1. To-Door Jobsite Measurement

Accurate measurements are essential in the construction of office buildings. George Buildings will send a professional team to your site to provide precise jobsite measurement services to ensure correct measurements are made.

2. Comprehensive Design Service

George Buildings’ design team will create unique designs for your project requirements, factoring in your design preference, budget, and other considerations. Our designers can provide 3D rendering and comprehensive design detailing. We also offer fully-coordinated working drawings to make sure the purchased materials can be appropriately installed and used at the end of the project.

3. Professional Materials Recommendation

With decades of experience in building materials, George Buildings is confident in recommending the best materials for your project. We have supplied all kinds of businesses from around the world, and we know the materials best suited for your business and your climate, wherever you may be located.

4. One-stop Product Supplies

George Buildings is your one-stop-shop building materials supplier with an extensive inventory of products for all your construction and renovation needs.

5. Reliable Logistic Service

George Buildings will handle the shipment of your building materials: from our factory to the port of loading, during ocean shipping, and upon arrival at the destination. Trust our logistics expertise to ensure that your building materials arrive at their destination safely and on time.

6. Flexible Jobsite Installation

George Buildings’ team of installation experts will go to your location to assemble the building materials for your business quickly so you won’t have to worry about doing a trial and error installation on your own.

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