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How much should a folding chair cost? Should it cost $12.25? Should it cost $14.50? Should it cost $18.00 or should it cost $25.00? The answer is yes. I love it when a customer calls me and says that they want a “sturdy” folding chair. Most times when a customer says that they want a “sturdy” folding chair they have already made up their mind on how much they are willing to spend (yes you guessed it $12.25) and want a bullet proof, store them outside, support a 320 pound person folding chair. It is kind of like saying I want a new Lexus but I only have $10,000. I am exaggerating but not by much.
Every company has some sort of Mission Statement. When we started this company over 11 years ago we made up our minds that we will never become “sales people”. What I mean by that statement is that we would rather tell a customer the truth because we believe that it is the right thing to do. I can also literally count on one hand the number of times in 11 years where we had a customer call saying that they were disappointed in a product or that they felt we misrepresented the transaction in any way. and loose them rather than mislead them in an effort to try to “get the sale”. I’m sure that we lost plenty of sales to our competitors
So now I hope to try to give some details on what we sell and hopefully some insight that will help any potential customer make the right decision for their particular situation. Besides the basic metal chairs, we have folding plastic chairs, metal folding chairs with fabric upholstery or vinyl upholstery and even folding chairs that are part of the National Public Seating’s “Body Builder” series which will hold 480 pounds!
Let me try to answer the first question about what a metal folding chair should cost. The metal folding chair for $12.25 has one brace not multiple braces like the more expensive metal folding chair choices. The $12.25 metal folding chair has only one hinge and not multiple hinges like the more expensive metal chairs. The braces on the $12.25 metal folding chair are tack welded and not riveted like the more expensive metal folding chair choices. The $12.25 metal folding chair is made of 19 gauge steel and not 18 gauge like the more expensive metal folding chair choices. As you may know, 18 gauge steel means thicker metal than 19 gauge steel. This comparison begs the question. Why would you even sell an $12.25 metal folding chair? The answer is that some folks want an inexpensive office chair for occasional use like monthly meetings in an office. They may not be concerned about servicing a 300+ pound person who may have other options. The stories are endless but the point is you get what you pay for. That doesn’t mean that you should just pay what is listed without shopping around. However, when you do shop around, I only ask that you match apples to apples. I love it when someone calls me and tells me that my competitor will sell them the “same chair” for $3 less. When a normal profit on a folding chair can most times be less than $3, I know that something is not right. There are five possibilities that I see. Either my competitor is:
1. adding the $3 per chair into the freight cost or
2. he is selling at cost or
3. he is selling just slightly above cost or
4. he is selling below cost or
5. it is not “the same chair”
Hardly anyone stocks product anymore. All of us dealers are buying from the same 1 to 5 manufacturers usually at almost the same cost. We sell National Public Seating folding chairs. When we approach marketing, I refuse to play games. Our mission statement is that we will try very hard to offer a fair price with honest freight costs and great customer service.
One other thing I need to talk about is freight. Please understand that when someone is telling you that there is “FREE” freight that this not really true. Either they show and charge your freight as a separate line item or they roll the freight cost into the price of the item. There really is no way around it. If you have a freight concern, please give us a call and we can help advise you on selection(s) that may minimize the freight impact. For instance, you are in CA and are looking at buying the NPS 510 Black Folding Chair which ships from NJ. We could advise you that the same chair in Beige or Grey is stocked in CA. You may not be interested in Beige or Grey but if you bought the next model up (210) that black chair is also stocked in CA. So the additional $1.50 per chair may be offset with much lower freight giving you a better chair for potentially less money. The bottom line is just give us a call.
When you contact us you will find a friendly knowledgeable person who will genuinely try to help you find the right product for your situation. We will never try to “up sell” you. A good friend of mine IS a sales person. He actually owns his own food manufacturing company and constantly tries to turn me into a sales person by pointing out how I am loosing sales by not following his methods. For instance, when someone calls and asks for a quote on metal folding chairs, I do not automatically offer storage trucks. Why would I not suggest a chair truck? Because, in my mind my customers know what they want and what they don’t want. Now if a customer asks me about truck capacities, styles etc. etc., I will do everything I can to help them with the available truck choices.
Over the years, I noticed a pattern of adjectives that are used by potential customers when looking for folding tables and chairs. Customers use words like “sturdy”, “durable”, “quality” and phrases like “will it hold up”, “does it get scratched” or “can that vinyl tear” and many other similar descriptions or expectations. I know that buying things is hard work. Especially for you folks that have to answer to a church board, HOA board, or your boss, buying can be very scary. I’m sorry but there are no real short cuts here. You can just buy within your budget and you get what you get, you can spend some time reviewing the specifications, or you can just listen to a sales person. I vote for #2. There is no better ammunition in the war of buying than knowledge. If you see a website that is “saving you 60%” but there are no clear specifications shown for the product, my suggestion is to move on. That is another thing. It is 60% off of what? That is 60% off of list price. I do not know anyone on the planet paying list price on anything. I find the 60% thing a bit insulting but that’s just me. I need to get back on track sorry.
My usual first response to my customer questions that include those words and phrases is “I used to work in Country Clubs and my guys could destroy anything”. I know that sounds sarcastic but it literally is the truth. We had four 18 hole golf courses, 25 tennis courts, 4 pools over 200 acres. We set up for parties, golf outings, charity events all over those 200 acres. While doing so we had portable bars falling off of trucks, folding tables stacked too high crashing down on top of stack chairs. I could go on for hours. The point I am getting to is the true answer is … “no, a plastic table that cost less than $60 cannot take a 250+ pound teenager jumping and sitting on the edge without damage”. I’m sure that my competitor is telling you that his “commercial grade” plastic table at the same price can. Yeah right. However, we offer a true “commercial grade” table made by Correll, the R3072 that could most likely take that abuse but it is $115.00 not $60. Now if you really want to get crazy and get a table where that teenager and 4 of his friends can jump on a folding table without damage, we have one. The A306WL made by Southern Aluminum is built out of aircraft grade aluminum and is rated to hold 4,000 pounds of distributed weight. It even has a “lifetime warranty”. Yes you guessed it, it is not $60 it is $340.00.
Now you may be saying “who the heck would spend $340 on a folding table?” The short answer is companies and institutions who are tired of buying folding tables every 3 to 5 years will definitely buy that table. I had one customer that has a bunch of 20 year old Southern Aluminum tables that are still in service. He was calling to buy some more. There was no “sale person” needed for that sale.
Not to be crass but an old car salesman friend once told me … Denis there is an A__ for every seat. It is so true.
Here is a general overview of what we sell and what I believe are the assets and liabilities for that particular choice.
Plastic Wholesale Folding Tables
Commercialine – These tables are a light duty tables that will do very well around the office for meetings, dining etc. This is not a plastic table where I would stack cases of copier paper or heavy computer equipment.
National Public Seating tables BT Series – These tables are a perfect middle of the road table. The BT series is a solid step above the Commercialine product and one of the most popular tables in our arsenal. Especially the BT1872 & BT1896 seminar or training tables are becoming more popular as the days click by.
Correll CP Series – The Correll CP and Food Service (crescents, and ¼ round wedge too!) series blow molded plastic tables are in direct competition with the NPS BT product.
Correll R Series – This series is truly a “Commercial Grade” wholesale folding table. The easiest way to tell the difference is to look at the underside of these tables. There is more “frame” support compared to the lesser cost tables. The 30”x96” has three cross braces along with the standard parameter framing.
Other Wholesale Folding Tables
Correll tables – Correll offers a number of wholesale folding tables made of particle board core and plywood core folding tables with either a melamine or high pressure laminate. Most all models have adjustable height and even standing or counter height tables are available. You need to check out their newest offering Flip Top Tables. This is an adjustable height table perfect as an office table or a general "around the office" work table.
Maywood Furniture Corp. – Maywood offers two very popular series of plywood core folding tables. Their “standard series” tables feature exterior plywood tops that are sanded smooth and stained with wishbone style legs made from 1” diameter 16 gauge cold rolled steel. Maywood also offers their “original series” tables that have been the #1 table of choice for most all major up scaled hotel chains. These tables are built with clear faced plywood 5/8” thick with a full self supporting chassis welded and riveted throughout. The chassis consists of two longitudinal 1 ¾” x 1” x 1/8” rerolled high carbon steel angles. This is one strong banquet table!
Here is where you really need to do your homework and look at the specifications. One thing that NPS has done is create the “Body Builder” series. That means that they have built and tested a series of folding chairs that can take 480 pounds of weight and still “hold up”. I think they are an incredible value for what you get. Each chair that is in that series is clearly marked. Beyond that, feel free to give us a call and we will try to help you through all of the choices.
We do not have a huge variety of stack chair manufacturers. When it comes to chairs for an office, we have found over our 10+ years that National Public Seating is the best value. Their line of stack chairs include both plastic chairs and metal upholstered stack chairs. This product can be used as restaurant furniture, office furniture or general business chairs. They are also a manufacturer that ships quickly and always stand behind their product. So, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
We use the same reasoning here. These Correll tables are perfect for small restaurants dining room tables, break rooms, office lunch rooms, and many other food oriented venues. This restaurant furniture is available in typical dining height or those high tables used with bar stools. These 42” high tables are sometimes called pub tables. Corrells line of Café tables offers the most popular sizes, with high quality high pressure laminates, fast turn around and great pricing. There is another category of Café table that sometimes goes unnoticed. That is Pedestal and Scissor tables. We have pedestal tables with bare plywood tops or plywood core laminate tops made by Maywood, and pedestal and scissor aluminum tables made by Southern Aluminum. The pedestal tables are designed to be assembled and disassembled in seconds without tools. The scissor tables by Southern Aluminum are designed to where the tops flip down and the bases collapse like a scissor for storage. Some even come in adjustable height. Southern Aluminum has just introduced the “Infinity” table. They are standard “restaurant” tables with Southern Aluminum’s famous “Swirl” tops. Incredible product.
I’m sure you are tired of me saying the same thing but Wooden Mallet’s Dakota Wave series office furniture is our choice for the same reasons. No, we do not have hundreds of reception chair choices. However, we have found a quality manufacturer that has a great “solid oak” product, ships in 2 days or so and is priced right. If you are looking for some of those $4oo office chairs that fancy reception furniture designers use in high end offices and hospitals etc, this product is not for you. Our typical customers are looking for a quality chair around $100 or so that will present well. We have placed this product in many doctor’s offices, veterinarian offices, general office lobbies, senior centers, theaters and many other venues. The furniture is available in three wood finishes and a variety of solid colors, designer fabric patterns/colors and vinyl colors.
Break Rooms, Lunch Rooms and Cafeterias
As we already noted the Correll Café tables can work very well in these kinds of venues, but if you are looking for the traditional “Cafeteria table” (sometimes called a school table), we sell the National Public Seating line. We believe that their value pricing and variety of core materials steps them above the competition. These tables are not just used as school tables; we have placed these Cafeteria tables in major manufacturing plants as their lunch room tables. We offer the fixed bench style, a folding bench style or attached stool styles. They also have a “Convertible Bench” unit that you just have to see to appreciate. It can be a bench with a back, or a “half table” with a bench seat, or put two together to create a full size bench table. Very cool.
Podiums, Lecterns and Pulpits
We sell Oklahoma Sound lecterns and podiums. This is a brand of podium with longevity (they have been around 30+ years) and value. The lecterns are available with our without sound completely assembled or assembly required units. We also have the acrylic lectern for that crisp clean look. Whether you are looking for a wooden Lectern for a school room, an Acrylic Podium for a church pulpit, a presentation cart with AV, a Table Top Lectern with a sound system, a Podium with a microphone or a pa system Oklahoma Sound has it all!
Portable Stage Systems
Again when we find quality and value we stick with it. We used to sell two of the most popular wood staging product on the market. Once we found Southern Aluminum stages and risers, we decided to no longer represent the wooden choices. I know that my old friend reminded me that there is an a__ for every seat, but we felt that the market’s direction is toward light weight easy to move and set up stage systems. Here is a fact. A Southern Aluminum 4 foot by 8 foot carpeted deck weighs just about 100 pounds. That may sound like a lot but a wooden stage with the same dimensions weighs up to 280 pounds or more. Also, when you order staging you need to specify the height. They do sell multiple height staging but the prices are out of sight. The Southern Aluminum product allows you to buy the deck and the legs separately. What a great stage design! That means that you can by a stage deck with 8 inch legs and for around $150 more get a 16 inch set of legs to use for a different venue. What a great value. And for those that have ADA concerns, even though it is very expensive we have experts that can design a ramp system that is ADA Compliant and the adjective “sturdy” does not cover the strength of this product. So whether you are looking for a stage for a concert or a portable mobile stage for any event you need to look at our Southern Aluminum prices.
Here we go again. Once we find the best value (not the cheapest) product that is the one we stick with. Southern Aluminum makes an aluminum picnic table and benches and a kid’s picnic table or children picnic table that is made from the same aircraft grade aluminum, stainless steel hardware and scratch resistant powder coat colors. If you are tired of the old wooden tables that turn to trash within a year or two, you need to look at this possibility. Whether you are looking for a kid’s picnic table for a backyard, a commercial picnic table for break area, a picnic table that folds, an aluminum picnic table for a park, a picnic table for a business or just a sturdy picnic table to be used as patio furniture, you need to look at the specifications for this product line. In 10+ years we have never had a legitimate complaint about the quality and workmanship of this product.
Training and Seminar Tables
When there is true variety that is keeping within our mission statement of quality and value we can offer a bunch of great choices. A “training table” or a “seminar table” or a “conference table” or a “meeting table” is typically defined as a folding table that is either 18 inches wide or 24 inches wide. The folding training table could be 60”, 72” or 96” long. The most popular are the BT1872 and the BT1896. So if you are looking for training room furniture we have many levels of quality, materials and price points for your review.
Southern Aluminum tables – This is the highest quality (and of course the highest priced) seminar table that we sell. It comes with a few different leg style choices, with or without a modesty panel. This table is expensive but a truly classy presentation and a lifetime warranty.
Maywood Furniture Corp – These folks have been around since the late twenties. They have been building tables for high end hotel chains and a standard series line that is THE table in the rental business. They have a line of seminar tables that is a plywood core product. Maywood offers a very “sturdy” product especially for the price.
Correll – Correll has a variety of offerings with either blow molded plastic, a particle board core product with a melamine laminate, or a plywood core product with a high pressure laminate folding table. This folding table line is a great middle market choice. One of the newest and most popular additions is the Correll Econoline Flip Top Table and the Correll Deluxe Flip Top Table. This is a training table that flips down. This training table with casters stores with a “nesting” feature. This nesting feature will store a large number of flip tables for the office in a small space. As with all of their products, Correll offers great quality for the money.
National Public Seating – We mentioned this line earlier in the context of standard folding tables. The BT series blow molded plastic folding tables have comfort style legs and come 18” wide and either, 60” 72” or 96” long. The BT series is a fantastic “value” table.
EMU Contract Outdoor Furniture
We have some of the best EMU Contract pricing on the internet for our commercial customers looking for outdoor restaurant furniture. We do not ship this product to residential addresses. EMU is extremely strict on the market channel separation between commercial and retail customers. If you never heard of EMU Contract, just stop by your local Starbucks. This Italian manufacturer has been the preferred choice for Starbucks outdoor tables and chairs for quite awhile. Again here is a quality bistro table with a somewhat hefty price tag. The importer can usually ship within 24 to 48 hours. If you are looking for furniture for your patio, or a table for your restaurant or outdoor stools for your bistro tables, EMU Contract has a commercial table for you!
You may have noticed that we now have “add to cart” and “add to quote” buttons. For those folks that just want less than 50 folding chairs or less than 10 tables, or just one or two items in general, please use the cart button since a formal quotation will return exactly what the shopping cart will show. Those that are looking to purchase emu Contract (no residential sales), a stage system with 6 or more decks, a stage with an ADA compliant ramp system, a large amount of any item(s) please use the quote system. You will find that we respond to voice mail messages quickly and can turn around a quotes usually the same business day and in some cases within one business hour. I formally invite you to review our website, call us with questions or just drop us a request for quotation.
Our office is open weekdays 9am to 4pm. We hope to hear from you!
Thanks for listening,
Denis & Sandy O’Donnell
Tables N Chairs, Inc.