Rosy Retailers: How Cashed-Up Retailers Should Make the Most of the Pandemic

Unfortunately, this post is not for every retailer. We understand times have been tough in the retail industry for quite a while. Being in commercial construction, where we build retail stores for a living, Australian shopfitters know all too well that many retailers are doing it tough. Many of us are too.

Likewise, we are aware that there are retail stores and chains out there who have been skillfully staying ahead of the evolving retail space, and have been thriving.

Firstly – Congratulations 🙂 Secondly –

Thriving retailers; now is your time to shine!

Now is the time to renovate, remodel, rebrand. While sales are down, now is the time to undertake a shop fitout. Renovate during the pandemic. Now is the time when business interruption is already at a maximum. Therefore, a 3-4 week downtime of business closure to renovate will not have nearly as great an impact as usual. Now, in the midst of the pandemic, is the time a shop fitout would support many local small businesses and trades who are struggling during the Coronavirus crisis.

Business Interruption is already at an all time maximum. Renovate during the pandemic.

Seriously – think about it. With the Covid-19 pandemic your business has;

• Decreased foot traffic
• Staff reduction
• Less overheads
• Reduced sales
• Finance rates at an all-time low (subject to lender and lending criteria)

By renovating during the pandemic you could be supporting some of the following Australian small businesses;

• Shopfitters
• Electricians
• Glaziers
• Plasterers
• Painters
• Plumbers
• Carpenters
• Tilers
• Upholsterers
• Retail designers
• Lighting suppliers
• Equipment hirers
• Flooring suppliers
• Board manufacturers

Cashed up retailers, it’s time to put on those shiny, rose coloured glasses and sparkle.

Take a fresh new look at the pandemic in a different shade of light. Things are tough. Things may never be what they were before Covid-19. But if we work together and all help one another we can, and we will, get through this and make it to the other side. Let’s do this!

If this has inspired you to fitout your store, there are hundreds of small to medium business shopfitters and retail designers nationally to help get you started. The Australian Shopfitting association ASOFIA provides a list of association shopfitting company members, or feel free to Google away to support a business locally to you.

AAFS Shopfitting are based in Melbourne and are licenced and accredited to undertake fitouts nationally. Despite many state borders closing, our business is well set up in each state and territory across Australia, so interstate travel would not be required. We have loyal sub trades and projects teams across the country to assist with your project, no matter where your store is located (check out our project portfolio).

You can currently contact our Managing Director, Brett Curtis, on 0410 653 027. Contact Brett to discuss how to get the ball rolling, provide you with contacts of some fantastic local retail designers we’ve worked with, or to tender your upcoming project, if you’re already at that stage.

Stay safe everyone and let’s take care of each other xx

AAFS Shopfitting


Kiosk Shop Fitters: Why Only The Best Will Do

Kiosk shop fitters are provided with better lighting than most tenancies. This is thanks to bright mall lighting and generous skylights found in numerous Australian shopping centres. But whilst the lighting is optimal, mall kiosk builders have their own set of unique challenges. Here is a list of challenges kiosk shop fitters face when building custom mall kiosks, and why we recommend choosing a shopfitting company experienced in kiosk fit outs.

Kiosk Build Spatial Constraints

In Australia, shopping centres require 1200mm high hoarding to surround kiosk tenancies to protect the public from the building site. These space limitations make for a rather difficult shop fit out. Generally only leaving 300mm – 1 metre of working space is available between the joinery and protective barrier, known as shop hoarding.


Noise Restrictions During Trading Hours

Any shopfitting company will tell you how difficult it can be keeping building noise to a minimum to avoid complaints in shopping centres. This challenge becomes extremely problematic when fitting out a kiosk, where zero building noise is allowed during trading hours. Noisy building works, such as using a saw, grinder or nail guns must be undertaken in the limited hours available between centre opening hours and tenancy trading hours.

Under the Watchful Eye of Australian Consumers

The process of fitting out a kiosk requires being constantly watched and scrutinised by centre staff and the general public. With this being the case, kiosk shop fitters should be personable, well presented and highly skilled at site installation. This includes being able to work under pressure without voices being raised and avoiding the use of profanities.

Melbourne Kiosk Shop Fitters

AAFS Shopfitting are custom kiosk manufacturers who thrive on the challenge of fitting out modern kiosk designs. Manufacturing our own joinery provides the opportunity to set up the kiosk within the factory. Pre-construction eliminates risks when installing on site.

Our expert team of shop fitters are pleasant and well presented. We are highly skilled in the shop fitting trade and experienced mall kiosk builders. So if you’re looking for a local Melbourne shopfitting company for a small kiosk, contact one of Australia’s leading shopfitting companies, AAFS Shopfitting, on 03 5943 0581


Check out the Energy Deal kiosk we were an Interior Fit Out Award Finalist for.

Experienced Kiosk Shop Fitters

Building retail kiosks requires friendly, hard working shop fitters with great attention to detail. The highly skilled team of professionals at AAFS Shopfitting are experienced in Melbourne retail and cafe kiosk fit outs.


Why Melbourne Shopfitters are Classified as Commercial Builders

Looking for commercial shopfitters in Melbourne to build your interior fit out? As a registered shopfitting company, we hold a builders licence, known as a Commercial Builders (Limited) licence.

The licence is obtained through the Victorian Building Authority (VBA). Unlike a vehicle licence, the commercial builders licence must be reinstated annually to remain a registered commercial builder. Therefore commercial shopfitters able to legally build commercial buildings, structures and components of these, such as retail and office fitouts.
VBA’s comprehensive application process requires proof of industry qualifications, history of building experience and competency. This is done via an in depth submission form. Submission must be validated by a national police check and a technical referee report for each component of the licence.
Although the Commercial Builders (Limited) licence is also required for construction on low and medium rise building work up to 15 metres in height, at AAFS Shopfitting our registered components (therefore limitations) are for structural and non-structural commercial builds, concentrating particularly on fit outs in the retail and hospitality industries.
Undertaking fit outs in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and across Australia, our award winning commercial shopfitters inspect architectural and designer plans and documents. These are segregated into trades, construction, supply and installation. This helps to accurately establish fit out costs for each commercial shopfitting project we tender.
Once a job has been awarded, our Project Coordinator is responsible for arranging building and council permits. A construction contract is then drawn up; outlining payment terms, significant dates and other company terms and conditions.

The Project Manager is in charge of managing allocated licenced subtrades such as painters, plasterers, plumbers etc. Whilst the remainder of the team focus on setting-out (the process of converting designer and architectural drawings into workable construction drawings), ordering shop fittings, fixtures and other building materials, and the actual joinery construction and installation of the interior fit out.
For a quote from registered, qualified and experienced Melbourne commercial shopfitters, send through your designer drawings to or phone us on 03 5943 0581.

Fit Out Companies: What Retailers Should Expect From Their Builders

Fit out companies do more than just build and install joinery, yet many retailers seem uninformed of exactly what is included in shop fit out costs, and what they can expect shop fitters to arrange and coordinate when undertaking a commercial fit out.  So we’ve provided a breakdown of what retailers should expect from their builders.

Fundamentals: What Fit Out Companies Should Have Before You Consider Them

When gathering quotes from fit out companies, one of the first and most important things you need to ensure, is that the shopfitting company holds a valid builders licence, all required insurances, such as public liability and workers compensation, and that these are up to date. If construction is being done within a shopping centre, this is usually something verified by centre management administration; however can save a lot of time if you establish this before requesting a tender.

Pre-Works: What Shop Fitters Do Before Building Even Begins

For new clients of a commercial fit out company, it would be anticipated that the shop fitter assigned to your project would meet with you prior to project commencement. Here you would discuss your expectations and briefly outline the project timeline. This also allows you to both put a face to the name, so to speak.

As reassurance for both parties, a construction contract outlining the terms and conditions are commonly signed prior to initiating works. The contract should also outline payment terms. Retailers should expect these payment terms to include paying a deposit prior to commencement of the commercial fit out.

One shop fitting tip we strongly recommend is to assign your fit out company as early on in the project planning as possible. This is guaranteed to minimise your workload. Shopping centre retailers can expect fit out companies to attend the centre’s pre-start meeting. Pre-start meetings discuss matters such as inductions, construction plans and emergency procedures.

Furthermore, the fit out company will arrange building permits, coordinate base building works, known as category one, or CAT 1 works. This includes items such as sprinkler and EWIS fire services, and required air conditioning service works that are necessary for any commercial fit out. Your shop fitter will coordinate with centre management in regards to concrete floor construction, the external face of your store, any issues or alterations to tenancy walls and even organisation of the construction hoarding.

Essentially, the only reason a retailer would need to communicate with centre management regarding the shop build, is to sign off on the costings. Any further issues and interactions with centre management should be handled by the fit out company.


During Fit Out: Know What’s Required of, and Organised by, the Shop Fitters

Like when building a house, it’s desirable to maintain one contact person from the fit out company. This person would handle all your enquiries throughout the duration of the project. A Site Foreman is usually assigned this role, and knows the project inside out. Consequently they are able to answer any queries you may have concerning the store build.

Fit out companies arrange their own trades. From plasterers to plumbers. Flooring installers to electricians. The shop fitters coordinate these trades throughout the fit out. This includes supply and installation of all building materials and fixturing, such as lighting, flooring and paint. Any concerns or issues that may arise regarding the build are dealt with by the shop fitters with their trades, the retail designers or tenancy deliver managers, whichever applicable, and where possible.

Shop fitters are responsible for the fit out to meet the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and structural requirements. Relevant building regulations will also be adhered to, and are the responsibility of, the fit out company. Retailers should expect their store to be built within the contracted timeline, feature quality joinery using specified materials and finishes, and as per the quoted price.

In the unlikely and unfortunate case of costly variances or issues arising, it would be assumed that the fit out company would discuss these with you. Outlining the necessity and expense, and issuing a separate invoice for the variance (also known as a variation).  Progress payments are highly probable. Progress payments are deposits paid throughout the store build. The progress payments will be outlined in the contract provided prior to project commencement.

Post Works: What to Expect at Handover

As a general rule of thumb, a retail property up to 300sq metres in size, should expect around a one month turnaround on a complete store fit out. Handover of the store should be as per the agreed date outlined within the original project timeline.

Shop interiors should be 100% completed at handover, There should be no trades in the store finalizing their work.  Commercial cleaners (arranged by your fit out company) should have previously been through and have the store looking spick and span to allow retailers full access to stock the store in preparation for trade.

If this standard of shop fitter involvement and project management is not what you have received in the past, then shop around until you find one who will provide this.

Because this is what retailers should expect from their builders.

AAFS Shopfitting: A fit out company guaranteed to meet your expectations

Eliminate the anxiety and stress out of your next fit out by allocating shop fitters that are guaranteed to meet, or even exceed, your expectations. 

See what shopfitters do inside a shopfitting factory

What is a Shopfitter?

No, not shoplifter. We’re not professional thieves! What is a shopfitter?

Working all over Australia, we’ve had many people read our shirt branding and express to us they incorrectly read it as shoplifter. Then obviously thinking this can’t be right, realised we are shopfitters. Then they ask, “What IS a shopfitter anyway?” So we thought we should explain what our profession actually is, and what shopfitters do. So let’s start with what shopfitting is …

What is shopfitting?

Shopfitting is the business of building and installing, known to our trade as ‘fitting-out’, commercial spaces. This can be fitting out small retail shops and cafes or large commercial offices, department stores and restaurant fitouts.

Shopfitting consists of constructing, and sometimes manufacturing, counters, cupboards, shelving and display units. It also incorporates necessary shop fittings, fixtures and equipment a business needs to be able to function and trade.



What is the role of a shopfitter?

Along with building and assembling joinery, the role of the shopfitter is also to supply and install shop fixtures and fittings. For example, a hair salon would be provided with fixtures such as mirrors and wash chairs. Refrigerators, freezers, mixers and bain-maries would make part of the shopfitting requirements provided for a café fitout. These would generally all be arranged by the allocated shopfitter.

Best of all though, is the shop fit out contractors will organise all trades required for the project. From glaziers, plasterers and painters to plumbers, electricians and flooring specialists; shopfitters coordinate and project manage them all.

That’s why, as an experienced shopfitter, the best shopfitting advice I can give is to engage your shopfitter early in the design process. Doing this prevents clients wasting unnecessary time and resources on project management.

A good shopfitting company will schedule, coordinate and control all of their trades. This is from conception to completion, and allows clients time to concentrate on other important aspects of their role.

In need of a shopfitter? AAFS Shopfitting have constructed and installed fit outs all over Australia. To obtain a quote, forward your plans drawn up by an architect or retail designer and email them to us at or phone our Pakenham office to discuss your upcoming project.

Australian Interior Fitout Company Award Winners

Australians Voted: Best Interior Fitout Company 2016

Australians voted AAFS Shopfitting the winner for Best Interior Fitout in ASOFIA’s inaugural People’s Choice Award for 2015/2016. In fact, the fitout of ProVision Optometry Clayton, in Melbourne’s South East, saw the fitout company take out the national shopfitting award for category of Best Interior Fitout under $150,000 as well. This makes AAFS Shopfitting back to back winners of the fitout category, becoming award winners for the sophisticated fitout of international hairdresser, Franck Provost with their Emporium Melbourne salon, in the 2014/2015 ASOFIA Interior Fitout Awards.

“Up against some the best interior fitouts, and impressive competitors around Australia, we are equally shocked and thrilled to take home the awards” says Managing Director, Brett Curtis. “We strive for excellence in all that we do. Our team’s commitment to maintaining a high quality, and our dedication to a smooth and structured management of all projects has attributed to our success. ”

“Handing over the keys to the business owner after completing a fitout, to us, is still so rewarding. Seeing their eyes light up from the transformation of what the space was a few weeks ago to what we have helped it become in such a short space of time is so gratifying. The hard work of our clients to get to this point – the retail designers, our dedicated crew of contractors and our team’s work has all come together to reach the pinnacle. It is all such a team effort. We are so honoured to receive the awards, but realise that we would not be doing so if it wasn’t for a wide range of people working along beside us. So a huge thank you to all those involved with the build of ProVision Optometry Clayton, to all those who supported and voted for us in the People’s Choice Award and to ASOFIA for inspiring shopfitters to preserve Australia’s high standards in commercial craftsmanship and customer service. Thank you.”

Renovating or expanding your business space?

Obtain a quote from multi award winning shopfitters

If you have plans drawn up by an architect or retail designer and keen to get an idea of the cost to build it, we are more than happy to discuss the proposed project with you.

Hair Salon Cutting and Styling Station

10 Things You Wish You Knew Before Building Your Hair Salon

Whether you’re building a hairdressing business from home, a barbershop in your local strip shops or a busy hair salon in a large shopping centre, these shop fitout tips will guide you to building a successful hairdressing business.

1. What’s the right height for work station benches?

Lower back pain is a common work related injury for hairdressers. Prevent the risk and get the height right. Generally the finished floor level (FFL) to benchtop finish height for a hair salon work station is around 900mm. Also remember to adjust chair height for each client to minimise lower back bend. Check in the salon mirrors to see that you are standing, or sitting, correctly

2. Mirror Mirror on the Wall: Which Colour Should I Install?

Grey mirrors are trending in the business space at the moment. The slightly tinted appearance offers a more commercial look than your standard silver mirror and creates a striking contrast to hair care products placed in front, enticing an easy cross selling opportunity.

Want to make the room look larger? Install one large panel of glass across a number of work stations, rather than smaller, individual mirrors per station.

3. Optimise natural lighting throughout the hair salon

Where possible make the most of natural lighting in the salon to give clients the true colour of their hair shades. Where lighting is required, LED lights of approximately 3000K offer a natural look, however we highly recommend to discuss the lighting design in detail with the architect or designer, as well as the lighting supplier, about the right lux levels (illuminance and luminous emittance and how far the light throws) for your space.

Want to save money on building your salon?

Tip: Allow plenty of time to gather quotes

Successful shopfitters project manage the salon build for their clients. This includes arranging required trades to complete the build. To ensure the best price for your hair salon, make sure you allow shopfitters the time to obtain prices off their trades and not throw an overpriced estimated figure when pricing your project.

4. Install insulating flooring to stop sound struggle and prevent a noisy salon

Minimise the battle of bellowing over the sounds of hairdryers and running taps by installing noise insulating vinyl flooring. This flooring solution is highly effective at absorbing sound compared to opposing flooring products. It’s also great for hairdressing businesses as other benefits of vinyl flooring include being highly stain resistant, easy to clean, durable and best of all – affordable!

5. Cutting station to shampoo sink ratio

To maintain a fluent customer flow, the general rule of thumb when building a hairdressing business is a 1:3 ratio of shampoo sinks to styling /cutting stations.

6. Create a welcoming reception counter to entice customers

The reception counter is where clients make their first and last point of contact with your hair salon. Therefore it’s essential to create a visually appealing and welcoming entrance that conveys a sense of comfort and space. Clever use of colour in the store design can effectively segregate the reception area without intruding on the remaining space of the salon. This is also an ideal place to display haircare products to influence consumers to purchase.

Hair care product display shelving

7. Salon Smell: Make Scents of the Sales Opportunity

Don’t underestimate the power of scent in sales. Take Subway for example. Or Darrell Lee. Or Dusk. These stores contain such a distinct scent that their presence is known before consumers visually locate the retailer. Without thought it triggers an emotional response where we visualise a memory of the product.

Evoke emotional connections with your clients by producing a subtle scent to the salon. The aroma of hair care products used in the salon can build brand identity and provide a sense of relaxation for customers. This has the potential to affect client’s buying behaviour, and dramatically increase purchases of the product.

8. Increase client retention with comfort and relaxation

Customer comfort is essential in client retention. When building your hairdressing business, be sure to consider client relaxation whilst their hair is being treated. Plan the cutting stations for client comfort as well as for storing salon equipment. Design a specific position for coffee cups, magazines and phones for a clutter free bench top. Plan a place off the floor such as a hook, cupboard or shelving space for clients to feel comfortable and secure to leave their handbag.

Looking for a simple and inexpensive personal touch? Provide the opportunity for clients to charge their phone or tablet whilst in the salon, by supplying a charging dock at each work station. Digital Trends recommends five great charging hub options, although there are so many other products on the market.


9. Design wash basin space for optimal comfort

To ensure your salon provides a pleasurable experience, design and build the wash basins for client’s psychological comfort, as well as physical comfort. Be privacy conscious and aware of the direction of skirts and dresses. If the layout of the floor plan forces the shampoo station chairs to face the street or salon entry, construct a privacy fin to certify clients are content.

10. Adhere to all health and safety regulations

Be sure to adhere to all health and safety regulations within your country, state and municipality. This includes maintaining clean work stations, requiring separate wash basins, ensuring safety with chemicals and organising regular electrical appliance testing.

For information on workplace health and safety in Australia, head to or Safe Work Australia.

IBISWorld’s Australian Market Research Report (May 2016) advises that “hair and beauty service operators have a high rate of business failure.” So safeguard your hairdressing business with thorough research and by building with a trusted and reliable builder.

To discuss your salon fit out with award winning Melbourne shopfitters, contact AAFS Shopfitting on 03 5943 0581.

SlideShare Presentation on Shopfitting Tips for Optometry Store Design

Strategic Tips for Building or Renovating an Optometry Practice [SlideShare]

This short presentation is a helpful guide to optometry practice business owners wishing to renovate an existing practice or build a new store fit out.



To read optical store case studies or view more images of optometry stores built by AAFS Shopfitting check out the following fit outs within our company portfolio:

Hastings Optical (Mornington Peninsula, Victoria)

Family Eyecare (Bentleigh, Victoria)

ProVision Clayton (Clayton, Victoria)

Or contact our experienced team of Melbourne shopfitters on 03 5943 0581 to discuss your upcoming fit out project


Sustainable Shopfitting: Retailers Guide to Going Green

Australian workplaces generate over 12.5 million tonnes of waste each year.

Establishing effective in-store recycling systems, introducing reusable shopping bags and recycling ink cartridges (check out Planet Ark’s awesome initiative on this) are common sustainable practices retailers can easily implement to reduce landfill. But forward thinking businesses can reduce their environmental impact even before beginning trade.

Here are six simple ways to build an environmentally friendly store:

Create calm with renewable raw materials

Amongst the demanding, always-connected lifestyles of shoppers, many crave a soothing surrounding that allows their minds to temporarily unwind. Featuring raw material fixtures in your fit out creates a calming atmosphere that allows consumers to relax as they wander through the store.

Using pre-finished or recycled timber materials is a great way to incorporate this look, and is completely on trend in retail design for 2016. However, if the unfinished look doesn’t fit your brand or design concept, Master Builders Green Living suggests sealing the timber with a solvent-based or synthetic product for a green alternative.

Concrete flooring can be used for sustainable construction for a new store build. Limestone is a natural rock resource, finely ground and heated to produce cement powder used in concrete. Concrete is versatile in design with options in colour, polish and stain to adapt to any space. Experienced contractors can also create amazing artistic floors with concrete stencilling and stamping. Stencilling concrete allows for customized pattern creation, whilst stamping is becoming increasingly popular for in store brand marketing.

Brighten the future with energy efficient lighting

Possibly the most obvious way to reduce your environmental footprint is to replace traditional light bulbs and install LED lighting throughout the store.

Although the initial purchase is more expensive than older metal halide and fluorescent globes, LED lights are known to last up to 50,000 hours and have lower power consumption, therefore saving you money on power bills. The energy efficient lighting technology has less impact on the environment as they emit significantly less UV radiation than traditional bulbs.

LEDs allow for optimised lighting design with their compact size and readiness of various instant illumination options. LED lighting products range from backlights, strip lights and downlights, to rings and lines. Most retail designers will incorporate a variety of lighting fixtures to enhance the customer experience through mood creation and highlighting key areas and merchandise.

Note: Various lighting fixtures (fluorescent, incandescent and halogens) can be recycled. For information on disposing of light bulbs in Australia go to Recycling Near You

Nothing a fresh coat of eco paint can’t fix

For added eco-friendly store design, add a splash of green paint! Well not literally green (unless it fits your brand of course), but an environmentally friendly paint such as the Dulux Eco Choice range, or Taubman’s Pure Performance interior and exterior paint products.

Master Builders Green Living suggests using a water-based low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) painting solution to minimise negative health and environmental impacts. Biodegradable acrylic based paints are an environmentally safe alternative to solvent based paints, and are offered by an extensive variety of paint brands.

Zero or low VOC acrylic water based paints produce minimal odour, are scuff resistant and available in a range of shades. Most products can be applied to walls, floors, interior and exterior doors, trims and window frames.

Say goodbye to paper, and hello to digital display

Today’s technology advanced world makes it easy for retail businesses to think and act green with paper reduction. An abundance of online software for POS (Point of Sale), CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and document sharing is available at our fingertips, saving retailers time, space and money.

Going paperless forces improved organisation, allows for additional control and increases productivity. Encourage consumers to take part in your paperless work environment by offering to email their receipt to reduce carbon waste (plus it’s a great way to obtain customer details for future email marketing …. with their permission, of course!).

Bridge the gap between e-commerce and bricks and mortar stores by embracing digital, and integrate technology in store. Becoming a tech savvy retailer minimises landfill waste by decreasing offline signage and marketing material.

Aside from decreasing the use and disposal of invalid signage on paper, cardboard and other wasteful materials, incorporating digital display signage allows retailers ease in changes to prices and stock.

For more ways to include technology in your fit out read our article on Omnichannel Retailing

Recycling Quote

Recycle fixtures and fittings for sustainable shop fit

Be resourceful: Recycle old fixtures and fittings

Refitting a store is an inevitable strategy in the cycle of continuous improvement. Not completely modifying a store at least every five years can be detrimental to maintaining current consumers, let alone increasing your customer base. With ongoing worldwide technological advancement, modern day shoppers not only want brands to keep on trend – they expect it.

Although qualified shopfitters are required to carry out the store defit, some fixtures and fittings can be easily removed for recycling prior to their arrival. Recycling scrap metal fixtures such as wall racking, posts and metal features is an effortless waste management initiative that can put cash into your back pocket.

Its also recommended to walk through the store with your shopfitter to determine what fixtures and building materials can be salvaged and reused in the new fit out.

Updating the store’s fittings and fixtures between store fitouts is also essential to remaining competitive in the retail landscape. There are numerous opportunities to achieve business excellence from smaller, simpler shopfitting modifications. Not through expensive restructuring, but through recycled redesigning.

Reupholstering furniture and upcycling are easy ways to repurpose store fittings and remain on trend, using clever design.

Check out Upcycle That for some fantastic upcycling ideas.


Remember, the only thing you can’t recycle is wasted time – so go green today!

#Earthday2016 #greenenergy

Fit Out Costs: Best and Most Effective Ways to Save on Shopfitting Expenses

Let’s talk fit out costs. Due to so many variables in shopfitting, we’re not comfortable answering questions like, What is the average costs of a shop fit out? or What are shop fitting costs per square metre? What we can provide advice on is how to keep fit out costs to a minimum.

Listed below are what we believe are the best and most effective ways to reduce fit out costs. Five techniques guaranteed to keep more money in your back pocket.

Allow time for tender submission

Putting the plans out to tender in good time permits shopfitters to request and receive contractor quotes, rather than estimating fit out costs solely based on previous jobs.

Shopfitters appoint a number of contractors to build a store; electricians, plasterers, painters and sign writers to name a few. When provided with little time to submit a tender, it is common practise to approximate each of these costs, including a safeguard amount on top to prevent making a loss.  This may result in paying a lot more for your fitout than necessary. So be sure to allow reasonable time to gather shopfitting submissions.

Engage shopfitters early in the planning process

Get more value for your money by assigning a shopfitter during the initial stages of project planning. Most shopfitting companies will provide a project management service within their fit out cost. Make the most of this by contracting them early, relieving you of valuable time and unnecessary stress.

Shopfitters can prevent pushing the schedule back by identifying errors in design that may cause lengthy delays in obtaining permits. These documents are essential and must be certified before any building works may commence. Therefore, the earlier these are discovered the less it will impact on the timeline, if at all.

Common design error: The retail design error we uncover most regularly is in relation to DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) compliance throughout stores and trafficable areas.

Some of the best shopfitters will have endless knowledge and experience with current products and shopfitting trends and can assist in product selection. They know, and understand the pros and cons of materials and product design from a construction perspective and can provide insight on how this can assist, or affect, you and your business.

AAFS Shopfitting are multi-award winning shopfitters

Offering our clients the best possible price, at the most advantageous value, whilst meeting time restraints and not wavering in quality. Just some of the reasons we are recognised as one of Australia’s leading shopfitting companies.

Substitute expensive products for a cheaper alternative

Being open to alternative products and materials within you fit out is crucial to cutting costs and remaining under budget. Many products have an equivalent option of the same or similar quality from a cheaper supplier.

Take solid surface (Corian®) for example. Solid surface replicates the luxuriousness of marble, natural stone and caesarstone® varieties, but with a much more affordable price tag.  Additionally, solid surface has the ability to mend chips or cracks, unlike its expensive rival products which require replacing. Repairing Corian® can even be arranged on site with minimal mess or fuss.

Please note: AAFS Shopfitting are certified Corian® suppliers, manufacturers and installers.

Excellent use of corian solid surface to save money on fit out

These luminous Corian® solid surface pods were fabricated and installed by AAFS Shopfitting at the NAB Docklands branch in Melbourne CBD.

Schedule fit out works during off peak

Whilst undergoing a complete fit out, your bricks and mortar business will be closed for a duration of time known as ‘shutdown’. Fit outs take time, and time is money. We know this. You know this. So reduce the impact of the closure by being proactive and arranging the closure during a forecasted quiet period based on previous years.

Advise staff of the store redevelopment in advance, encouraging them to take leave during the works to further minimise outgoing expenses. To avoid unnecessary consumer frustration, it’s also recommended to inform customers of the closure ahead of time. If possible, arrange an alternative purchasing method or location during this time. If your business provides a service, this allows time for clients to schedule their appointments around the project and are less likely to reach out to a competitive company during shutdown.

Variations leave a bitter aftertaste

Ensure quote includes everything to avoid costly variations

The nasty ‘V’ word; variations. Those supposedly ‘unforeseen’ exorbitant costs that shock you at the end of the project. Like opening a block of chocolate, only to take a bite and realise you grabbed the 90% cocoa block. It leaves you with a bitter aftertaste, wishing you had chosen another block.

Make certain you’ve chosen correctly, by reading through the quote carefully to certify it includes everything specified in the construction plans. When comparing quotes, be sure you are comparing apples with apples.

Unfortunately some companies use the technique of lowering the overall fitout cost by excluding components to win the job, then charging the client variations post build. It has also been said that the term ‘PC SUM’ is used, meaning Provisional Cost. This is an approximate amount that could potentially be significantly increased at a later stage.  If you are unsure of anything on the quote – ASK! If they have nothing to hide, then they will be completely transparent and be able to explain everything in detail to you.

Please note: This is NOT a process we condone, nor is it a technique we use. AAFS Shopfitting provide all-inclusive quotes broken down line by line, ensuring easy of readability for our clients.

Our last fit out cost saving word of advice would be to research your proposed shopfitters. As Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘An investment in knowledge pays the best interest’.

Looking for experienced shopfitters to tender on your upcoming project? Contact our Melbourne office on 03 5943 0581.