When you walk into different furniture stores, you automatically assume that the furniture came from some off-site shipper or manufacturer. On a closer look, you may see furniture tags that read "factory direct" or "on-site manufacturing." These two labels can be confusing unless you know exactly what they mean and what it means to the furniture offered for sale. Here are the defining differences between these two furniture store labels and why it matters.
What "Factory Direct" Labels Mean
The "factory direct" label means that the furniture was made in a factory and shipped directly from the factory to the store. The factory may be owned and operated by the furniture store, or it may just have a contract with the furniture store to produce a lot of its furniture. Usually (but not always), the furniture is manufactured (mostly) here in the U.S. so you do not have to pay import fees on top of the price of the furniture you buy. Additionally, if the factory is especially close to the furniture store (e.g., within the same state as the store or within the same region of the state) you will also be charged less for the shipping fees.
What "On-Site Manufacturing" Labels Mean
The "on-site manufacturing" label means that these pieces of furniture are made right there, in the store. There is a factory attached to the back of the store where several employees spend their time churning out furniture to be sold in the store in front. Mattress shops are probably the most common type of on-site manufacturing and sales in furniture, but chairs, tables and furniture with storage drawers follow closely behind. If you buy furniture with the on-site manufacturing label, you are not charged any shipping fees or import fees. Additionally, if there are any problems with or flaws noticed in the furniture you buy, the store may provide a reduction in cost or offer repair and replacement services in conjunction with lifetime guarantees.
Why These Distinctions Matter
With on-site manufacturing, you can speak directly to the quality control associate about any problems you have with the furniture you have bought. However, factory direct furniture (made here) means that it is covered under some type of warranty, a feature frequently not provided by imported furniture from other countries (e.g., China, Taiwan, India, etc.). When you buy furniture with either of these labels, you are supporting the American economy, too. Be sure to read the tags and labels on each piece of furniture you want to buy before you buy it.