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Selecting the Right Chair
By: Molly E. Jones

The selection of the ideal chair for your worship facility that satisfies the optimum balance between needs and wants, while at the same time respects your stewardship responsibilities, can take a great deal of time and effort. 

The chair selection has lasting importance and requires a significant financial commitment, not to mention it is one of the most visible and functional parts of the worship center. 

One cannot minimize the importance of care in selecting your church seating. Not only do the chairs contribute to the beauty of the worship facility, but their degree of comfort can serve to enhance the overall spiritual experience. 

Whether you are adding chairs to an existing facility or starting a project from the ground up, it is never too early to begin the selection process. Since there are so many different chair models and so many sources, knowledge of some key areas that would serve as a guide in the selection process could prove to be an invaluable tool.

Below are four categories with key questions to ask in the selection process.

Quality encompasses a wide range of areas such as construction, comfort, and aesthetics that come together to make the chair. A few tips to consider.

* Are the chairs built to high quality engineering standards both in terms of construction and durability?

* Are the chairs comfortable when evaluated during extended periods of sitting rather than a within a quick 20-second trial?

* Are the chairs fully assembled and can they be easily transported, reconfigured, or stored based on the needs of the worship facility?

* Does the appearance of the chairs serve to enhance the look and feel of the sanctuary?

* Are the chairs welcoming and do they allow for a comfortable sitting posture?

* Does the design of the chairs encourage fellowship?

* Do the chairs accommodate the seating needs for the demographics of your congregation such as age and body type?

It is very important to consider the overall value of the chairs as compared with their price. The goal is to maximize value. Here are just some of the key factors to look for in determining value.

* How does the cost of the chairs compare with the desired length of time for expected use? 

* Will the chairs be able to withstand the rigors of use over a long period of time and remain both comfortable and attractive?

* Determine if the manufacturer has a track record of high quality customer service and a reputation for servicing their warranties.

* Determine if the chairs will still be available if you choose to add on in the future and want to match existing chairs.

This section identifies some of the independent indicators of the ability of a chair manufacturer to stand behind their product without reservation. 

* What type of warranty does the manufacturer carry and is the warranty in writing?

* Does the manufacturer have a strong financial profile from an independent source such as Dun & Bradstreet that demonstrates their ability to meet their obligations in a timely manner?

* Does the manufacturer have a high rating with the Better Business Bureau?

* Is the chair manufacturer willing to provide references and share testimonials regarding their products and service?

* Has the chair manufacturer been in the business for a number of years and do they have a track record of ethical conduct?

* Is the chair manufacturer willing to answer any and all of your questions to your satisfaction?

Delivery & Lead Time
All manufacturers certainly want to please their clients, and in most cases are able to accommodate their client’s specific delivery timeline.

However, any manufacturer can suddenly be faced with totally unforeseen factors that can develop beyond their control such as inclement weather, transportation delays, supplier delays, or natural disasters.

Based on this knowledge, a good rule of thumb is to plan special events with a reasonable delivery window that allows for unavoidable and unforeseeable delays. Here are some guidelines to consider.

* Does the manufacturer over promise and guarantee a specific delivery date on a custom order or does the manufacturer give a reasonable window of expectation?

* Does the manufacturer offer more than one method of delivery such as expedited or coordinated with other shipments?

* Does the chair manufacturer offer the option of customer pickup?

* Are the delivery policies clearly conveyed in writing such as volunteers needed to unload the chairs, unpacking instructions, chair stack dimensions, etc.?

In this article, we have tried to outline some considerations within these categories that are important in the chair selection process.

While every worship center is unique, they each share in common the desire to select the best chair for their congregation in terms of aesthetics, quality, and comfort, all within their stewardship guidelines. 

By planning ahead, exercising due diligence in the chair appraisal process and remaining patient, the desired result of selecting the best chair for your congregation can be achieved.

Molly Jones is director of outside sales and marketing for Uniflex Church Furnishings, Inc., www.chairs4worship.com.

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