What to expect when replacing office furniture, flooring after Hurricane Ian
By Joe Gammons
Hurricane Ian is expected to be one of the costliest, if not the costliest, natural disasters in U.S. history. In addition to lives lost and livelihoods changed, it’s estimated that insured losses could reach $75 billion.
Our community is resilient, though. Immediately after the storm made landfall, Floridians emerged to begin a cleanup, recovery and rebuilding process that could take years.
Businesses first turned their attention to employees, making sure their personal needs were being met. Then, business leaders began assessing damage caused by wind, storm surge, rain and power outages, in addition to damages like lost revenue and momentum.
Much like a homeowner needs a bed, sofa and kitchen table to restore a sense of “normalcy,” office-based businesses also need furniture to feel whole again. Ian flooded businesses from Naples to Sarasota and clear across the state. Those businesses are now in need of new desks, chairs, tables and storage solutions, as well as flooring.
There’s just one challenge. Office furniture was already in short supply because of the pandemic, and Hurricane Ian has accelerated demand across a wide region of Florida.
Businesses should be aware of three factors when looking to replace or upgrade their office furniture in the coming months:
Typically, the furniture-buying timeline starts nine months out by studying furniture styles and trends. At six months out, businesses should schedule a professional consultation. Orders should be placed about three months out to ensure manufacturers can produce, package and ship the custom furniture.
Businesses that lost office furniture or flooring during the hurricane should immediately start looking at their options. Manufacturers maintain inventory in warehouses, and local furniture suppliers have a pulse on what materials are available now.
A nine-month furniture-buying timeline allows businesses to select custom pieces that are manufactured to exact specifications.
There is a way to get furniture quickly… buy it off the rack. Warehouses typically stock a large selection of the most popular styles, colors and finishes for desks, shelves and bookcases. That may mean a mahogany, sit-to-stand executive desk suite featuring an attached hutch and rustic hardware might not be available. The same goes for flooring – a unique pattern or color that matches a company’s logo might not be available. However, there could be plenty of comparable choices in stock that can ship in a matter of days.
Take photographs and video of existing office furniture and flooring to show current conditions and damage. Visual evidence is helpful when filing an insurance claim.
If renting or purchasing replacement furniture, save every receipt to document all hurricane-related expenses. This includes receipts for furniture, flooring, design services and installation costs. These expenses could be covered under insurance policies or through business assistance programs offered by the federal government.
The impacts of Hurricane Ian will be felt for quite some time, but the quickest way for our region to rebound is to get our businesses community up and running.