The furniture, fixtures, and equipment in your space set the tone for everything that happens within in it. FF&E gives a hotel, restaurant, or retail guest an immediate impression, one that colors their entire experience.

When you’re doing an FF&E refresh in Hawaiʻi, you can hire separate companies to handle the freight, the installation, the debris removal, etc.

Or, you could hire a full-service firm to take care of everything for you. Selecting an all-in-one FF&E provider allows you to:

  • Streamline your processes by reducing the number of subcontractors you have to coordinate with.
  • Improve communication and eliminate potential gaps by bringing multiple tasks under a single roof.
  • Reduce the potential for error, by adding another layer of oversight—a full-service provider who will manage their internal teams, along with all their moving parts.

Let’s take a closer look at how hiring a one-stop FF&E partner might work for your next Hawaiʻi FF&E project. We’ll walk through all the capabilities to look for, including freight, warehousing, staging, trucking, installation, and debris services. Along the way, we’ll show you how an all-in-one FF&E solution could add significant ease to your next renovation or construction project.

First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page with a few definitions.

What Is FF&E? Definition and Examples

Whether you’re selecting FF&E for a hotel project, a retail location, a food & beverage outlet, or an office and industrial (O&I) move, you’ll need to plan for transporting your FF&E to Hawaiʻi.

Rather than simply hiring a freight provider, we’d suggest looking for a full-service FF&E partner. Based on our experience in the Hawaiʻi market, consider seeking a partner with the following capabilities (and the benefits they bring).

Capability #1: Hawaiʻi Freight Experience

It’s important to start with a partner with experience in Hawaiʻi freight. Hawaiʻi’s isolated position in the Pacific comes with its own shipping challenges. Using providers unfamiliar with the lay of the land in Hawaiʻi can mean delays—and significant costs.

Working with an experienced freight provider means you’ll get efficient, cost-effective service. This can be especially important if you’re executing a neighbor-island project on Maui, Kauaʻi, or the Big Island. Not all providers offer direct service to the outer islands, which can mean longer transit times.

An experienced Hawaiʻi freight provider will also understand how to select routes and services within your budget—without impacting timelines.

The Bottom Line:

Ask your potential partner about past FF&E freight projects to Hawaiʻi, including the solutions developed. Their answer will offer insight on whether they have the knowledge and expertise to handle your FF&E freight with ease.

Capability #2: Storage in Hawaiʻi—and on the Mainland

Once the interior design is complete, the next step will be procuring FF&E from the chosen vendors. All these orders need to be carefully coordinated so the on-site installation team has the right items at the right time.

Because the FF&E will come from vendors in various locations, you may need secure storage to house everything until it’s needed. Many job sites simply don’t have the “extra” room to accommodate these materials.

That’s why it’s so important to choose a provider with storage options.

We’d also suggest looking for a provider with both 1) on-island capacity and 2) mainland options for staging.

Here’s why: Storage in Hawaiʻi can be expensive. It’s much more cost-effective to store items on the mainland, and then ship items to Hawaiʻi as needed. A company that offers this option can help keep your FF&E budget on track.

Additionally, if the company arranging your freight is also arranging the staging, there’s no need for you to coordinate with multiple parties. Your provider could simply work with your vendors to move the freight to their mainland warehouse. Then, they’ll ship out the FF&E so it arrives in Hawaiʻi when the installation team needs it.

At Royal Hawaiian Movers, we partner with our sister company, Approved Freight Forwarders to stage freight on the mainland. Their warehouse in City of Industry, California means easy access to Hawaiʻi-bound container ships. Plus, with twice-weekly sails to all four major Hawaiian Islands, our team can keep your FF&E moving to Oʻahu, Maui, Kauaʻi, and both sides of the Big Island on whatever schedule you need. Interested? Reach out to one of our experts to learn more.

The Bottom Line:

Storage options are a must for any FF&E project, and mainland staging can save you a bundle. Locating a partner that can handle freight, storage, and staging means an efficient—and cost-effective—solution.

Capability #3: Installation Experience

Not all freight providers have the capability and experience to install FF&E.

However, locating a freight partner who can handle the installation can simplify your workload significantly. Rather than coordinating the freight movement (and storage!) and the installation team schedule, one single provider could do it all for you.

That team could create the installation schedule, store the freight offsite, and ensure it arrives on time—and in the proper order. This means a lot less legwork for you, especially if the project hits a speedbump.

The One-Stop Advantage

When it comes to FF&E projects, vendor snafus happen. For example, consider a hotel renovation project, in which the vendor supplying the beds has to delay delivery by several weeks.

Rather than having to contact the freight provider and the installation team, working with a one-stop provider means you only have to reach out to one contact. Then, they can propose the necessary adjustments to both the shipping and installation schedules.

Of course, as you’re vetting potential partners you’ll want to know that they’re experienced in foundational FF&E services, such as:

  • Furniture unpacking and assembly
  • Lighting and wall fixture installation
  • Appliance installation
  • Inventory tracking and management

Consider asking potential partners to walk you through their past projects. You might also ask for references so you can talk with previous clients and get their unvarnished feedback.

The Bottom Line:

A partner with freight and storage capacity—plus FF&E installation expertise—can add significant value to your project. If anything changes, you can make a single phone call and let your provider make all the necessary adjustments on their end.

Capability #4: An Owned Fleet of Trucks and Trailers

Hiring a full-service FF&E provider with trucking capacity adds immediate simplicity to your project. Rather than finding a freight forwarder, a local trucking company, and an installation subcontractor, you could make a single phone call and get all of those pieces handled.

In Hawaiʻi, freight providers fall into two categories:

  • Asset-based operations that own their own warehouses, run their own fleets, and employ their own delivery teams.
  • Operations that use agents. These providers subcontract out their Hawaiʻi deliveries to their own partners in the Hawaiian Islands.

We’d suggest looking for an asset-based provider that owns its own fleet. You’re much more likely to get quick and efficient service.

Companies that own their own fleet can simply allocate a truck or trailer from their fleet to pick up and deliver your FF&E. In contrast, companies using agents need to coordinate those pickups and deliveries with an outside company. Your freight may not get the priority it deserves.

The Bottom Line:

An FF&E provider with a fleet of owned trucks means flexible scheduling and efficient deliveries for your project. Ask potential partners about their fleets—and whether you’ll be able to schedule deliveries when you need them.

One more tip: Inquire whether your FF&E provider has owned equipment they can provide. A full-service FF&E provider is much more likely to have machinery like forklifts available to unload freight quickly, easily, and safely.

Capability #5: Debris Removal & Disposal

In the Hawaiian Islands, debris disposal can be a little more complex than on the mainland. Some discarded FF&E and other waste may require special handling or disposal at particular locations. Other items may be able to be recycled.


Rather than dealing with local rules, regulations, and recycling policies, why not leave that to your FF&E provider? A true, full-service provider will know exactly how to handle removal, disposal and/or recycling as needed. That’s one more item off your to-do list.


The Bottom Line:

Ask your FF&E provider if they can handle removal and disposal of any discarded FF&E and other waste. It will save you a significant amount of legwork.

Finding the Right Partner for Your Next FF&E Project

Hawaiʻi is a unique destination, a place where things work a little differently. As you look for the right FF&E partners to help you complete a refresh or renovation, a local Hawaiʻi provider with multiple capacities will add ease to your project. They can be your single point of contact for all your FF&E needs—freight, storage, staging, installation, trucking, and debris removal—ensuring a smooth, seamless project from start to finish.


Looking for a Hawaiʻi-based partner for your next FF&E project? Royal Hawaiian Movers has experience with a wide variety of O&I and FF&E projects for clients that include hotels and military barracks. We can assist with storage and mainland staging solutions, as well as getting your FF&E to Hawaiʻi on your timeline. We also deliver expert installation services, as well as debris removal.


With teams, warehouses, and owned fleets on all four major islands, we’re able to assist with projects on Oʻahu, Maui, Kauaʻi, and the Big Island.


To learn more, request a complimentary quote. We’d love to add ease to your next FF&E project.

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