May 14, 2015

The difference between Principle and Agent in Regards to FF&E Supply

Interior Designers can offer their FF&E (Fixtures, Fittings & Equipment) to a client in two different ways: as an agent & as a principle retailer. This can heavily effect the way a designer charges & works with the client and so is important to know the different.

Definition of an Agent:

An Agent of FF&E is a person who works in-between the supplier and the client. There is less risk for an designer acting as an agent than for a principle retailer, as if the supplier does not supply items which match up with the description or breaks the terms, it does not link back to the Designer but the client due to a contract of supply.

This is an agreement where the designer purchases for the client rather than sells to the client.

By acting as an agent, the trade discounts that a designer is entitled to get passed on, saving clients money, however to pay for their services they will charge a percentage fee on the purchase.

Definition of a Principle Retailer:

A Principle Retailer of FF&E is a person who acts as a retailer to the client. When acting as a principle retailer a designer must comply with the Sales of Goods Act. Which means if there is a faulty item or terms are broken by the supplier, the designer is responsible for clearing up the mess.

As a principle retailer of FF&E the designer is effectively purchasing the items (with trade discount if offered) from a supplier and selling them onto their clients. This means that there is both a purchase order & a sales order, where as working as an agent, there is only a purchase order.


Kia Designs works as an Agent. This means that we pass all the prices we provide our clients with include trade discounts and fees. Often, even with the Fees added, the prices will still be below the price you would pay if you were to buy items yourself. By doing this Kia Designs invoices you for the items that you select and so organises the payment and delivery for you so that the project runs to schedule.

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