Reviewed By

Nichole Samuel

Verified Expert in Interior Design

Owner of Goddess Interiors based in the NYC, CT Tristate area. She has over 12 years in the home and design industry and specialize in new construction and virtual services.

Currently at

Home » Interior Design » 10 Tips for Interior Designers to Deal With Supply Delays

Dealing with Supply Delays for Interior Designers

Delays in delivery of the item you have asked for are as normal as your name being pronounced wrong at Starbucks. But as an interior designer, dealing with these delays in a manner that the client is not annoyed to a level that they fire you is crucial. 

Is there really a way to manage all the delays smoothly and ensure that you retain the project and be in the client’s good books? There is not one but ten ways of ensuring this, and we will share them with you today, starting with a couple of reasons for these delays. 

Read also – 15 Problems Most Interior Design Business Faces

Issues with Furniture, Product, and Execution Delivery

With delivery times soaring high due to a series of unprecedented reasons, the customers are facing issues. Even though companies are trying to ensure timely delivery, the items are running late.

As if the earlier reasons were not enough, now we have to deal with the woes of the pandemic. COVID has perpetrated a lot of changes in how we interact with the world now, and an increase in delivery times is one of them.

Due to COVID and its country-specific regulations, the delivery time of items increased due to safety checks and restrictions put forth at borders. Within a country’s borders, the transportation and logistics companies also have to take extra necessary steps like sanitization, etc., before an item is delivered.

Read also – How To Revive Your Interior Design Business Post-COVID-19?

Issues with Furniture, Product, and Execution Delivery

Source: Reuters

Another reason for the delay was the blocking of the Suez Canal, which led to delays in the arrival of shipments from all across the world. Even after the shipments arrived, the ports were clogged with a heavy influx of goods.

Coming back to the COVID-led changes. When COVID hit, the world’s machinery fell like the domino effect. For instance, in the US, there was a lag in making new furniture. This lag was caused due to the shortage of foam, which was a result of the lockdown of the factories that provided the material to make the chemicals that make the foam.

Things like these may not seem apparent at the front, but they make a lot of difference in how the industry’s cycle works.

Here are a few other reasons for supply delays:

1. Natural Disaster:

Earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, tsunamis, etc., can come at any point and in any part of the world. Some events are so catastrophic that they disrupt the global supply chain.

The 2011 earthquake and the resultant tsunami in Japan affected the production of 300-millimeter silicon wafers. Japan provided 22% of global silicon wafers demand. This disaster temporarily shut down the entire production process, sending the global manufacturing process where semiconductors were used into turmoil along with the necessary auto parts.

Events like these are not good for anyone, and they can heavily impact the entire industry.

natural disaster
Source: downtoEarth

2. Cyber Attacks:

If you think that the chances of a cyber-attack leading to delays are dim, you are mistaken. We have heard the news about super chains and stores getting hacked via phishing schemes, among other ways.

If you are dealing with such global chains and have ordered products from them, expect delays in the supply if they come under an attack.

Unfortunately, you cannot cite these kinds of supply chain issues as reasons to a client who wants a new ottoman in the living room, YESTERDAY! Hence, you need to know the way forward in such situations and keep the client working with you. Here are some tips for interior designers to deal with supply delays.

Read also – 8 Ways Covid-19 Has Changed The Future of Interior Design

10 Ways How Can Interior Designers Deal with Supply Details:

1. Be Honest About It:

This might not be the tip you wish to hear, but it’s the best way to deal with such delays. Your clients will most probably want to hear new excuses every time there is a delay in the work, delivery, or anything else.

So, make sure to convey everything you know about the current situation. If there is a delay due to clogged systems, traffic jams, misplaced delivery, or anything else, tell it to the client.

be honest about supply delay details

Source: everyday power

By telling any other reason than the truth, you might have to change your story every time. That’s why it is best not to play with the dates. You have to believe that it is always better to share a true story.

However, as you are supposedly doing this for a long time, the client can easily ask that you should have accounted for these delays. In that situation, you can show your efforts put in for tracking the item or trying to source them from another vendor.

Read also – 10 Best Client Management Tips for Interior Designers

2. Prove your Story:

Every client will not always believe the reason you are giving; make sure to share the evidence. Search for the news articles, data, and other relevant information about the delay and shoot an email.

Some people may not even take your word for it, and you must have this sort of information ready to be shared. The purpose of sharing is to prove that the delay in the arrival of the items required is not in your hands.

provide evidence for supply delays

Source: iPleaders

Besides sharing the information, they need you to also set up a system to send updates every week. You can send an email or call them up to convey general information about the work and progress. This will be helpful in several, but most importantly, the client will understand that you are regularly working.

Read also – 15 Best Client Retention Strategies for Interior Designers

3. Prepare for the Delays:

As the industry is already reeling under the impact of COVID and the situations it has set in motion, you need to adapt to the changing environment. By this, we mean to start preparing for the delays well in advance.

As there is every possibility that any shipment can be delayed, start ahead and place the order in advance. This way, you can still install the item on time, even after dealing with the delays.

Early preparation is one of the important tips for interior designers to deal with supply delays because it makes you more aware and smart about the entire situation.

Read also – Installation Day Tips for Interior Designers

Source: Freelap

4. Track the Items:

For most of the items that are delivered today, it is easy to get the tracking information. Make sure to gain access to this information and track the item proactively.

If you see a probable delay in the delivery, contact the customer support number to take updates about the situation. Ask about the exact location of the item.

You may not be able to get the shipment anytime earlier than the stipulated time, but you can share this information with the client and make sure that they are always kept in the loop.

Read also – 15 Ways To Improve Customer Service for Interior Design Business

Source: groovypost

5. Try Local Shops and Vendors:

It is possible to find the same item you have ordered from another city, state, or country to be available in your city as well. Yes, it requires a bit of hunting for the item, but wouldn’t it be great if you could save time and money?

Another option is to hire a local professional to make that thing for you. Yes, the chances of getting everything right are not very high, but it is better than not having anything.

Read also – Interior Design Sourcing and Procurement

try local shops and vendors to deal supply delays

Source: Decorilla

6. Increase your Vendor Network:

As an interior designer, you might already have a circle of fixed vendors and distributors to source items. But what if you can increase this circle because you can better deal with the supply delays and search for the item you need from different vendors.

Besides the local vendors, make contact with vendors from other cities and states. It will help you look for alternatives or similar items and get them delivered on time.

increase vendor network to deal supply delays

Source: Bizvibe

Also, having different vendors located in different cities will only increase the number of possibilities. Within these, choose the vendors that have a country-wide distribution chain. They will have more options and can easily transport the product for you.

Read also – 10 Powerful Networking Tips for Interior Designers

7. Have a Backup Plan:

Supply chain disruptions can easily thwart your plans to complete the work on time. So, your motive should always be to have a backup plan. You can either arrange for the same item locally or get it made from a local professional for a furniture item running late.

backup plan for supply delays

Source: Vectorstock

Whatever you do, make sure to have that process ready to be implemented. Delays in furniture items can run from anywhere between 4 weeks to 36 weeks. Not every client you are working for will have the patience to wait for these many weeks.

So, instead of losing clients, you must have a backup plan that can compensate for the delay and make sure that the work continues.

Read also – 10 Best Ways to Stop Losing Money in Interior Design Business

8. Find Substitute Transporters:

Build contact with another logistics expert and fulfillment expert to step in and help you deliver the product on time if the existing supplier is running late. Yes, hiring another logistics provider may cost a bit, but you can then complete the work on time, which means happy clients.

An alternate transportation expert can help you get the product either by contacting a local courier service or making the necessary arrangements.

Read also – Guide To Interior Design Project Management

find substitute transporters to deal with supply delays

Source: trucking truth

9. Upgrade an Existing Item:

Another helpful tip for interior designers to deal with supply delays is that you can upgrade an existing item. This means that you can have your people customize an existing item and ensure that it looks and works according to the original piece that you had planned.

If you don’t have people on your team, it is easy to hire professionals locally and get the work done. This is better than having to build the item from scratch as it will save time and money.

Read also – 16 Interior Design Rules Every Interior Designer Should Follow

Source: 1stDibs

10. Adjustable Contracts:

Besides facing troubles with the client’s work, supply delays can also lead to issues with the contracts, especially the stipulated timelines and costing. Hence, it is necessary to include adjustable clauses in the contract.

Supply delays can increase the final cost of the product that you have to pay, and not including the same in the contract means you may be paying the extra cost out of your pocket. So, be smart about it and ensure that your clients understand the terms.

Read also – 15 Steps To Prepare An Interior Design Contract

adjustable contracts for supply delays

Source: Parley pro

These 10 tips show how can interior designers deal with supply delays. These tips will help you prepare in advance for the delays or help you take the next steps after you have experienced a troubling situation.

Join the Foyr Community Help and Support

The Foyr community is a bouquet of fellow interior designers and professionals working in the same industry as yours. As you become a part of this community, you can share your projects, insights, and perspectives to get new ideas and opinions.

Along with this, your community can also help with supply delays. You can post about it and ask the members for similar items or assistance with delivery. Single-handedly you have access to a limited number of vendors, but with a community spread across the country, you can ask them to keep an eye for a similar item from anywhere in the country.

So, sign up on the Foyr community today to leverage the collective power of a big group of interior designers. Also, you can also ask for help from the community about what to do in any situation. They can also give you some more tips for interior designers to deal with supply delays.

The Foyr community is meant to help interior designers like yourself navigate through the daily challenges, share opinions, and look for more work. Make sure to read more articles like this on our platform targeting different topics associated with an interior designer.

Read also – 8 Best Interior Design Communities


Interior designing is already a challenging job, and on top of everything, you will have to deal with supply delays and similar issues every now and then. Dealing with the clients in case of these delays is not easy, but it must be done with grace and hope that your client won’t change wagons mid-way. These 10 tips for interior designers to deal with supply delays will help you navigate the challenges of supply delays in the interior design businesses.

Foyr Neo Free Trial

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 1 Average: 5]

Join 50,000+ designers and teams

Using Foyr Neo is as easy as 1, 2, 3. First, upload a floor plan or create one from scratch. Then drag and drop from over 60K 3D models to fill your rooms. Lastly, just set the shot and let the AI create stunning 4K renders for you in less than 10 minutes.

Start your 14-day free trial

No Credit Card Or Download Required

Specially built for Interior Designers

Get started for free

Start your 14-day free trial No Credit Card Or Download Required