Whether you're buying discount pieces of particle-board furniture or designer items from Europe, you're almost always going to save by shopping factory-direct. When you buy furniture right from the manufacturer, you cut out the retail markup costs and eliminate the expensive shipping fee of moving an item first to the middle man and then on to you.
To learn how to buy factory-direct furniture and save money, keep reading for 4 tips on how you can find great deals.
1. Get to North Carolina
It may sound expensive, especially if you live in California or Oregon, but for American-made, high-quality furniture at incredible, straight-from-the-factory prices, the place to be is North Carolina. The factories will ship any item to you for a fee if you live out of state and do not have a large vehicle, and items can be picked up for as much as 50-80 percent off.
The factory furniture outlet market in North Carolina, and particularly High Point, is so big and varied that there are actually multiple guide books on the subject, covering everything from the best outlets to hit to how to plan out a weekend of furniture shopping. If you're considering making a special trip, try checking one of these books out of your local library or picking one up at a book store.
2. For Bigger Discounts, Look Locally
While the brand names may not be as well-known, you can still find great deals locally, without making the trip to North Carolina. Look online for furniture manufacturers in your area. Google Maps lets you type in your address and search for businesses.
You can even look for Furniture Manufacturers as a business category and limit your search to those within 25 or 100 miles. Doing so makes it much easier to actually see and touch products you may opt to buy than than being limited to purchases through a catalog or the Internet alone.
Additionally, if the manufacturer is indeed close to where you live, you can save a bundle on shipping charges if you have a sufficient large hauling vehicle and can pick up the furniture yourself. You might even be able to rent a small truck or trailer for half a day, then pick up the items, deliver it to your home, and have the vehicle back to the renter in just a few hours.
3. Know the Difference Between Factory-Direct and Factory Outlets
Factory outlets, or furniture warehouse retailers, are still retailers who will be selling their products at a significant mark-up percentage. While you can still find great deals at these places, they're not actually factory-direct models.
Unless you're buying the piece of furniture right from the place where it's physically made and assembled, then you're not buying factory-direct. Retailers will tell you that since the product ships from the factory to you that you are buying factory-direct, but understand that you are still paying retail prices.
4. Try Custom-Made
Sometimes the best deal is to go straight to the craftsman and have a piece of furniture custom-made. Custom-built furniture often costs much less than most consumers expect. So, before you trek out to North Carolina for your next storage unit, try getting a quote from a local carpenter who may surprise you with both his creativity and low cost for materials and labor.