Three Things Higher Ed Furniture Buyers Should Pay Attention to Right Now

In today’s unusual business environment, schools of all sizes should be aware of how a few key market factors could influence their ability to procure furniture in the coming months.

With planning well underway for future projects, plus orders coming in for last year’s upgrades that were delayed due to the pandemic, contract furniture manufacturers are stretched thin. And that means it might not be as easy as you think to procure the residence hall furniture you need quickly and cost-effectively.

If you’re looking for furniture for a residence hall, lobby or lounge, it’s a good idea to consider your needs with the understanding that supply chains are tight, orders are taking more time to process, and manufacturers throughout the contract furniture industry are running on overdrive.

However, there is a silver lining! Facility managers that plan ahead, choose a trusted furniture partner, and communicate effectively will have no problem obtaining the furniture they need in the months ahead. With that being said, here are a few things to pay attention to if you’re planning a contract furniture purchase in the coming months. Read on to learn more!

Lead Times

With materials in short supply, and a labor crunch echoing throughout the economy, lead times are longer than usual. This means last-minute orders might not make delivery based on your desired schedule. With smart planning, however, you can take stock of your needs, request pricing, and get the ball rolling early to ensure a smooth timeline. At Blockhouse, we manufacture all our furniture in our Pennsylvania factory from a North American supply chain. That means we have control over our manufacturing process, can prioritize orders and can oftentimes deliver when others can’t. However, if you have a hard deadline, you’ll need to order early to guarantee delivery.


The law of supply and demand means that when materials are in short supply and universities across the country need furniture, prices go up. In addition, labor costs are increasing as the market of available workers remains smaller than anticipated. These factors all contribute to an increase in prices that must be factored into your furniture budget. Whereas in the past, manufacturers were able to offer some degree of flexibility to accommodate your order, margins are stretched thin and some manufacturers who rely on foreign vendors are adding surcharges to their costs. At Blockhouse, we’re able to hold the line on pricing while continuing to offer great value to our customers. But if you need furniture in the months ahead, it’s smart to leave some wiggle room in your budget to account for the current state of furniture pricing in today’s unique environment.

Ability to Deliver

If you need furniture in the months ahead, be sure to communicate closely with your contract furniture vendor about their ability to deliver on the promises they make. Do they have the materials in stock to build your order? Do they have manufacturing capacity? Are they waiting on materials from overseas? Are they staffed up with craftsmen, upholsterers, CNC machine operators, drivers and delivery laborers? At Blockhouse we’re proud to have kept our entire team engaged throughout the past year, and that means we have the staff on hand to deliver on our promises. We also remain stocked up on materials and components so that we can build orders as they come in. So whether its design, account management, materials, manufacturing, or delivery, our team is fully-staffed and has everything they need to deliver orders for our customers. Be sure to ask your vendor about the considerations above, and make sure you’re confident they can deliver on the promises they make in light of these factors.

Ready to Discuss Your Needs in the Months Ahead?

Contact our team today to learn more about how Blockhouse is staying one step ahead during these unique times. With materials on hand, a full staff working every day, and a North American supply chain that’s resistant to delays, we’re here and ready to help you procure the furniture your organization needs. Let us know how we can help. We look forward to hearing from you!