Church Building Projects and FF&E Budgets

Save Your Church Money Blog

FF&E normally stands for “Furnishings, Fixtures and Equipment” and is often a line item in a proposed church building project budget.  A contractor will submit a bid as to what it will cost to build the new church building that has been designed.  That bid will adhere to the specifications listed in the bid documents regarding all sorts of building materials.

However, when it comes to finishing off the building in terms of floor coverings and various furnishings, fixtures, and equipment, generally a budget amount is listed instead.  The theory being practiced is that the church will decide on what furnishings, fixtures, equipment and floor coverings they want in their new church building after the project has started, so a dollar amount is inserted for the church to work with and plan for with their project.

Sounds reasonable in theory doesn’t it?  But here is the problem that we see so many churches run into.  The time comes to pick out all their floor coverings and the amount that has been budgeted for floor coverings restricts the church to very basic floor coverings, not at all what they wanted to finish off their new church with!  Or the time comes to purchase the furnishings that all those using the building will see, and use, and sit on, etc., and the church discovers that once again they are greatly limited in what they can purchase with the budget amount that has been allocated!

As we have worked with hundreds of churches involved in church building projects around the country over the past many years, we have observed one constant:  Not a single church has experienced a surplus in their FF&E budget!  Why has there been this amazing consistency?  There is one primary reason and that is contractors are motivated to keep the budget number for the FF&E of a church building project as low as possible in their quotes as that can assist them in being awarded the project!  Churches will not begin working on their furnishings and fixtures and equipment until the overall building project is underway.  Therefore the contract will be secured long before the church realizes there is simply not enough in their FF&E budget line to furnish out their new building the way they would prefer to.  Generally the church will go over budget in order to do so.  But at times the church will settle for far less quality of furnishings in their new building than is appropriate and desired.  We often recommend to churches to take that FF&E budget line and plan on it increasing by 50% over what has been budgeted.

At Church Furniture Partner one of our stated goals is to assist churches in being able to afford one level of quality higher furnishings for the same dollars they would have paid for that one level of quality lower furnishings.  Between our unique business model and our longtime ministry focus we are often able to accomplish just that.   We would love to assist your church as well with our no pressure/high information approach.  You can contact us here at your convenience.