1. How Comfortable Is the Chair?
Your church chairs will be used more than anything else in your church. The reality is that people like to sit when they come to church. Making sure to purchase chairs that will be comfortable for 60 to 90 minutes is therefore critical. We always urge churches to acquire samples of all the church chairs they are considering. Then don’t just sit on them for 30 seconds and draw what likely will be a flawed conclusion as to which chair is the most comfortable. Take the chair to your desk and use it for a couple of hours to better determine if the chair will be comfortable for a normal church service length. Do this with each chair you are considering. Have other people in your church do the same. By doing so you will have a far better sense of whether the chair you are considering is truly comfortable.
2. Is the Chair from a True Manufacturer or a Third-Party Importer?
We live in a day when it can be hard to tell if the chairs you are considering are produced by a domestic manufacturer who has manufacturing locations perhaps both stateside and offshore and then are provided through a dealer network for that manufacturer, or if the chairs are produced by a foreign factory and then “branded” by an American dealer as “their” chairs. Please know this latter scenario happens quite often in our day and you will often see phrases like “built to our specifications” that can indicate this sort of arrangement. Our counsel is to make sure there is a legitimate domestic-based manufacturer who owns the tooling, the molds, creates the quality control process, and makes the same chairs for many years, versus an importer who regularly purchases from different foreign factories and chair models change as often as the choice of factories. Under the former you can purchase more of your chairs perhaps ten years later, while under the latter you will almost certainly not be able to do so.
3. Does the Warranty Have a Lot of Fine Print Within It?
Be sure to always ask for an actual printed warranty certificate for the church chairs you are considering purchasing. Then once you have it in hand (if you are not able to obtain one strike that dealer off your list of potentials) read and study it closely. Is there “fine print” that really makes the warranty almost meaningless? For example, we know of one imported line of chairs that requires the church to send the chairs back to the shipping location at the church’s expense so they can examine the chairs to see if there is a valid warranty claim. The church has to pay large dollars to package and ship and they also have to go without chairs for an extended time period. Obviously almost no churches are able to meet this requirement. As a result, the warranty is essentially meaningless as the requirements are tedious and unreasonable. Don’t let this disappointment happen for your church. Ask for some verified examples of how the warranty was honored in a way churches were pleased with.
4. Are We Placing Too Much Emphasis on the Price of the Chairs as a Church?
Churches have limited budgets and the price-point of the church chairs you are considering is certainly important. However, please understand this is a major investment in an item your church will use 52 Sundays a year for the next 20 years. That means you will use these chairs over 1,000 Sundays. If you spend an extra $10.00 to obtain a quality church chair that means that will cost your church ONE PENNY a Sunday per chair. Our firm belief is that if a church body understands that for a few dollars more, they can have a chair that is far more comfortable, have far greater quality, have an honored warranty, and have chairs that still look good after many years, there are few who would not be willing to help make up that small additional investment. Share this reality with your people and we believe you will find that to be the case.
5. Does Your Environment Demand Any Special Considerations for Your Church Chairs?
Not all church chairs will work equally well in all environments. For example, if you need to take up and store your church chairs often, then there are features available that will make that easier and there are some features to avoid. If your church needs to efficiently store your church chairs, then there are some chairs that will store more efficiently than others. If the geographical area your church is located in requires special fire ratings for the foam and fabric on your chairs, then that will limit the chairs choices available to you. We believe working with a church chair dealer that provides a wide range of products will increase the chances that the chair you purchase works best for your church, versus working with a dealer that will be motivated to encourage your church to purchase the chairs they offer regardless whether they are the best fit for your church.
Knowing the answers to these five questions before your church purchases new church chairs will make a great positive difference for your church over the years ahead.