Because of the significant discounts available to HostGPO members, we’re constantly helping hosts furnish their vacation rentals with Pottery Barn and West Elm furniture and it’s easy to understand why it’s become the Gold Standard of the vacation rental industry: West Elm and Pottery Barn furniture is reliably well-built of durable, sustainable, and long-lasting materials, and looks amazing in VRBO and AirBNB photos. Hosts especially love their Contract Grade furniture, which is rigorously tested to last and look beautiful for years under all of the stresses of a commercial hospitality environment. They also have very useful complimentary design services. The most frequent questions we get center around how to lower shipping costs and get furniture delivered quickly, so we decided to offer some quick tips:
- Know the difference between Parcel Delivery and In-home Delivery
- Have all of your furnishings delivered and assembled together for one low flat rate
- Select In-stock items, or in-store pickup if you need your items soon
- Choose Contract Grade furniture that will last for years and look great in a vacation rental
Parcel Delivery vs In-Home Delivery
The first thing to understand is that there are two different types of shipping charges, the first is called “Parcel Delivery,” “UPS,” or “Front Door Delivery,” while the second is called “In-home delivery” or “Flat Rate Furniture Delivery.”
As a general rule, Parcel Delivery includes smaller items that are easier to ship via UPS like dinnerware, linens, and smaller furniture items like light chairs and small nightstands, while In-Home Delivery items are bulkier and heavier items like full-length mirrors, large rugs, and larger furnishings. But plenty of smaller furnishings get sorted into either category, and you’ll know for certain when you see them in your shopping cart:
Notice some dining chairs, and beds in the above are considered “in-home delivery” while others are considered “parcel delivery”–usually it’s the heavier, larger, and more expensive items that are in-home delivery, but there are no hard-and-fast rules. Sometimes, an item will even let you choose your delivery method:
Why the Shipping Method Matters
The main reason this distinction is important to keep in mind is because they each have their own separate fee schedules and you’ll often have to pay both. With In-home delivery, there’s a flat fee for all purchases above $1k of about $259 (depending on location) and you’ll pay that same flat rate whether you’re getting a whole house full of furniture or just a single table.
With Parcel delivery, the more you buy, the more you pay, although shipping becomes a smaller percentage of your overall order as your merchandise subtotal increases.
This makes some cart combinations less cost-effective than others when it comes to shipping. Consider this cart which gets the worst of both worlds:
Because their table is just over $1k, this host would be paying the same $259 to get it delivered as they would to get $20k worth of furniture delivered, and because their parcels are just under $3k, they’re having to pay 10% instead of 5% for UPS delivery. In order to economize on shipping costs, this host could either select a table that’s under $1k (remember the HostGPO discount brings lots of items down below $1k) so that there’s just a $159 flat rate, or they could take full advantage of the $259 flat rate by seeing if they can find alternate chairs that ship via In-Home delivery. Alternatively, if they added a few small items to their order, they would reach the $3k Parcel Delivery item threshold to cut their shipping costs in half.
Or consider this shopping cart where the furniture is just over $1k.
Since the bed qualifies for either type of delivery, by switching it to Parcel delivery, you can bring the in-home items below $1k, saving $100 and instead just pay 10% x $399= $39.90 to ship it separately.
In addition to economizing, it’s also important to consider how each shipping method will affect your unit readiness. It’s certainly easier and less time consuming to have items delivered and assembled in-home white glove, than having to assemble them yourselves. Also, because in-home delivery items are all delivered together for one flat rate after the last item is ready, you’re able to schedule all of the items to arrive at a time that’s convenient for you, as opposed to getting sporadic UPS packages as they arrive. But this can present a real problem if delivery of all of your short term rental’s furniture is being held up waiting for one or two pieces that are scheduled to arrive months later. To avoid this, you can break up your orders into multiple orders (but this means multiple flat-rate shipping fees). A cheaper alternative is to select items that will arrive within your timeframe.
One key is to note when the item is scheduled to arrive when adding it to the cart. If the “ship to home” estimate is too long, check if it may be available for “ship to store” which is often cheaper and faster or even “Free In-store or curbside pickup” which is often available that same day within two hours.
If you need your items soon, you can also filter your search to include only items that are in-stock and ready to ship.
A final tip for getting furniture quickly is to stick with best-sellers made of materials like wood, metal or a default fabric or leather, instead of custom fabrics that take months to ship.
We hope these tips will help hosts get their furniture quickly and save even more money than they’re already saving with their HostGPO discount! If you ever have any questions or need suggestions, please never hesitate to ask! We’re always happy to help!