hospitality ff&e schedule timeline

When to Hire an FF&E Purchasing Agent

You have finalized a transaction, or received a PIP, or moved forward with construction approval. You know you are going to need to hire an FF&E purchasing agent for your new construction or renovation. When is the right time? When do you start engaging and hire a procurement specialist? The answer to that varies as all projects are unique in their own way. Here are a few key markers or triggers to give you a pretty good idea.

Hiring FF&E Procurement Based on Project Dates

Before determining when to hire a procurement company, you must first figure out a few timeline factors. Will there be model rooms? Do you have a preference in manufacture location? Lead times of factories vary based on their capabilities. Lead times on freight can also vary based on the time of year and source. For example, if your timeline overlaps with Lunar New Year, that can impact timelines from some overseas manufacturers.

We treat every project as a custom project because it is one.  It is impossible to give an exact standard timeline and expect it to work for every project. That being said, there are some general timeframes that you can use to give you a sense of how long it could be for each stage.

For a model room, the average time from starting the spec review to the model room installation is around 6 months. Again, this varies based on project, depending on product and location there can be movement on either side of that timeline.  If no model room is needed, it is always best to bring the purchaser on as early as possible.  18 months before the estimated date of completion is a good target.

Knowing when to hire a hospitality FF&E procurement company based on timelines can be very tricky. Each project is unique, has individual needs and specifications, and has a different scope. Perhaps a better way to gauge when to hire is based on a certain sequence of events.

Hiring a Purchasing Agent Based on Event Triggers

Since the timeline of each project can vary drastically, and we have already discussed the uniqueness of each project, let’s discuss basing the hiring process on event triggers. Often the FF&E purchasing agent gets hired after the design has been finalized. While that may seem like it would be the right time, there are a few factors that could benefit from hiring earlier in the process.

Hiring a purchasing agent at the same time you bring on the design firm can be the perfect time to hire.  Better yet, before design is finalized. Working alongside the ID at this early stage, the purchaser can be a resource to the designer on FF&E insights, current challenges, etc. 

An experienced FF&E purchasing firm can even help before the design stage by creating preliminary budgets. They can offer FF&E estimates that take into consideration the scope, branded flag, and location of your project.  Having an accurate base line can help reduce costs. Accurate budgets keep things on track and on schedule later down the line.

Early Consultation Before Finalizing a Transaction

It may be helpful to understand what a renovation would cost before finalizing a hotel transaction. An FF&E procurement expert is perfect for that. While not a part of the purchasing process, hiring a purchasing agent in a consultant role has major advantages. Increase your confidence before a transaction is finalized by knowing what the renovation would entail, how much it would cost, and some insight into meeting brand requirements.

In a previous series, we discussed the importance of an accurate preliminary budget. The same follows for budgets created before a transaction, to know how much it could potentially cost, as well as for budgets created while starting the design and construction process.

Major Factors to Consider Before Knowing When to Hire

There are many factors that may vary the length of the project. Scope, key count, size of public areas, F&B outlets on site, custom vs prototypical design, calendar holidays, new construction vs renovation, soft or full renovation – to name a few.

These factors play a role in determining both the timeline of the project, and the purchasing process. It can be difficult to say exactly when is the best time to hire a hospitality purchasing agent. Each project is truly unique and at Beyer Brown, we absolutely treat every project as a custom one, because they all are. We assess the needs and factors of each individual property and find the best possible solutions.

When is the best time to hire a hospitality FF&E procurement company? The easiest answer, which perhaps is not an answer at all, is as soon as possible.

If you need help with creating a preliminary budget, have any questions about timelines and schedules, or want to know what the latest is regarding lead times, please feel free to contact us. We’d love to chat. If you are curious about how to best choose a purchasing agent, we recently published the last of a three-part series that covers that very topic.