An office redesign project has too many moving parts and requires too much specialized knowledge to tackle alone. But how will you know you’ve selected the right people to help you out? When it comes to your office design or renovation project, we’ve put together these 8 must-haves to help you select the office furniture specialist to work with. Our advice is based on larger office projects, but it can also apply when you’re buying a couple of high-end office chairs or outfitting the whole crew with ergonomic keyboards and monitor arms. So, without further ado, here are 8 things your office furniture specialist should do for you.

#1 Meet with you for free.

You should be able to pick the brain of a furniture sales rep and even a designer at the early stages of your project at no cost to you. You’ll be able to get a feel for the fit between you, your company and your project requirements and the office furniture specialist you’re considering working with. What kind of advice do they have? What did they bring up that you hadn’t thought of? What do you think it’ll be like to work with them?

#2 Know how to secure the best pricing possible.

Quality counts, but so does keeping the budget down. Ask what furniture manufacturers your office furniture specialist is an A-vendor for. Ask what strategies they’ll employ to get you the best price. Is there any value they’re adding that you’d otherwise have to pay for?

#3 Be able to refer you to clients with situations similar to yours.

Experienced office furniture specialists should have at least one client whose project has similar challenges and opportunities to yours. At the very least, the rep should be able to talk about the project in detail. Even better is a case study. Best case scenario is a personal conversation with your counterpart in the other organization, and even a tour of their space.

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#4 Give you 3D renderings for your project.

It’s hard to visualize a space in two dimensions. A 3D colour rendering will allow you to experience the redesign more accurately, which could save you time and money down the road. Your specialist should arrange for 3D renderings of any aspect of the project you need: a workstation, a private office, a reception area, a breakroom. Don’t expect the renderings until you’ve made a commitment to work with a furniture partner, but ask if it’s part of the service they offer.

#5 Manage all the details.

You need a furniture partner who is meticulous and takes your milestones as seriously as you do. You can tell if someone is detail-oriented and organized from a couple of meetings, but in the early stages you won’t be able to gauge their commitment to your project, only their commitment to getting the sale. Ask for a reference, then ask the reference whether the specialist helped keep their project on track.

#6 Communicate well.

Chances are this office renovation or redesign project is on top of your regular job responsibilities, which means you’ll be doing some of this work after hours when you’re tired and scattered. A good office furniture specialist will be available late at night and early in the morning as the project gets down to the wire, and will be able to interpret (and keep track of) your garbled email questions and requests. It’s also likely that furniture is only one component of a larger project. Does the specialist play nice with others? How does he or she handle on-the-fly changes? Ask the person you’re referred to for the straight goods on the specialist’s communication skills.

#7 Be in contact during installation.

A good furniture specialist will be in regular contact during furniture installation and, ideally, on site for at least part of the time. That way he or she is able to ensure everything is going smoothly and respond to potential problems immediately.

#8 Make it right.

It’s a good idea to expect the unexpected with any big office furniture project, then expect your office furniture specialist to fix it—ideally behind the scenes and before you even know about it. Of course you’ll still expect transparency and honesty from your specialist, but it’s better not to be bothered with problems, only notified of solutions.

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