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.