One of the most common questions we get asked is “How much does a fit-out cost?” To assist potential clients with answering this question, we’ve used our wealth of knowledge and experience in preparing the information below.
Average Cost Of Shop Fit Out
With the caveat that each retail fit-out will be influenced by a wide variety of factors that could affect the cost, we’ve put together some indicative costs for three different retail store scenarios. Depending on the size and the type of facilities you need, there are three main dollar/metre figures to take into consideration.
- Basic (cost-effective fit-out or renovation)
- Mid-Range (up-market, spacious and feature-packed unit)
- High-End (Opulent retail store fit-out that’s ideal for premium retail spaces)
Each type of retail store fit-out is addressed in more detail in the section below. Just click on whichever type you’re after.
Factors Impacting the Cost of a Shop Fit Out
The needs of every business are different, but some essential items will apply to calculate most average shopfitting costs. The shop fit-out cost per square metre will vary significantly depending on the area, location, and type of business.
Several factors affect the fit-out cost. Here are a few examples of some things to consider.
In most contemporary shopping centres now, you will need to engage a professional designer to deliver on your space. The approval process needs to be managed to maximise the impact of your store, whilst also achieving certification by private certifier or municipality. If the site is a high street location, you have more leniency. However, you should still be aware of your obligations under the Building Code in your region and ensure you maximise the space.
Experience of the shopfitter
You can expect to pay more for an experienced shopfitter. Still, you also get the benefit of their knowledge and skill.
Fixtures and Joinery
This is very dependent on the design of your store. In this case, it is important to have an idea of what you are looking for, as the cost can quickly be absorbed in this area. Sourcing options do extend once you have timelines in control – where offshore supply may let you achieve a better or more detailed result with the same capital – or save significantly if you have more than one location to focus on. IA Hardware can help you with multiple sourcing options.
This one can creep up on you, so be vigilant in understanding the floor that is being specified. What’s its durability, is it designed to be used in a commercial/retail space, how much is the material and how much does it cost to lay? All considerations when choosing the right product and application. The site conditions also have a bearing on how much your flooring will cost – as floor preparation can often be a similar amount as your flooring.
Consider the usage and how much traffic flooring will get during the day. It is possible to reuse the old flooring if it is in good shape to save on costs. Be sure to consider the ease and cost of maintenance when choosing the floor.
If anywhere, this is where we recommend you spend money. A badly delivered well-lit space often looks better than an amazing space that is poorly lit. Lighting is everything at retail. Not only good quality fittings that have accurate colour rendering, which hero’s your product but the right amount of light – so you don’t look like a 7-11 store nor the bat cave. The scene is set with the ambience created by in-store lighting. Generally, we would recommend somewhere around 5% – 7% of the cost of the fit-out be spent on lighting fixture supply. [IA Hardware lighting range being released late 2018.]
Lighting costs depend on the style of lighting chosen and the amount of light needed in the space. If an electrician is needed, then lighting costs could go up significantly. Also, a building with old wiring might have to be upgraded. Many leases specify that the landlord will supply the lighting, but not all of them, so make sure that you read your contract.
The location of the shop fit-out will have a significant impact on the price. For instance, a fit-out at a major mall in a big city will cost more than one in a smaller town.
Timeframe. If you want a rush job, then you can expect to pay more than for a job with an extended time frame.
Base Building Costs
Shopfitting costs per square metre must take into consideration the age of the building and upgrades that are needed. Most rental agreements do not include shop fit-out cost, so be sure to read the lease terms carefully. Shopfitting cost might be affected by local requirements or requirements by the landlord.
This is a hidden cost to a lot of our clients when they first start working with us, an unknown. In a mall environment, generally, all mechanical and fire services are delivered by the asset manager, at the retailer’s cost. Negotiating these costs to be reduced prior to the execution of the lease (if not covered by the landlord) is a critical cost-saving measure. Similarly, a level floor, stairs or disabled access, structural elements required to carry your fit-out are all elements that can be undertaken as part of the “Base Building” and add significant “Cost to a Retail Fit Out”.
The materials that you choose will have a significant impact on the cost. High-end materials such as marble or custom hardwood fixtures will cost more than more common fittings, such as tile and laminate.
This is where cost can easily blow out and understanding what is available on the market is essential – working with a professional in this area can save thousands! Stone vs Man-Made Stone vs Laminate. The cost differences are significant, as is the impact in the finished space. Working with our clients, we aim to retain materiality in high touch locations and save in lower touch locations for the customer, resulting in a higher perceived value in the space.
Painting costs generally depend on the size of the area to be painted. Painting tall spaces or larger spaces might require extra equipment and someone who is experienced with this size of the job.
Signwriting & Technology
This one is very much, how long is a piece of string! There is a lot of costs associated with various technologies or signage formats in store. However, when comparing capital cost, you also need to weigh up the operational update of static signage vs simple update of digital signage. It is a great idea to start with a tech budget, that allows you to do something – and if decisions are made mutually with either business partners, consultants or suppliers to support tech further in-store – then the decision is mutual. Numerous projects we have worked on a capital budget + hardware budget for digital.
Signwriting can cost between a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Some areas have restrictions on the types, sizes, and style of signage that you can use, so be sure to meet local requirements first.
Size of the space
The cost per square metre prices many fit-outs. If you have a small coffee shop, it will cost less than a larger retail store.
Don’t forget that during the time you’re working on a new project, you have staff that are working on various aspects not associated with the build, from merchandise to operations. These staff costs need to be factored into the project, whilst also considering the time they are spending not focused on their day job! These costs can multiple easily, so focus on your existing operations are critical whilst working the businesses next steps.
The complexity of the job
Of course, the more complicated the project is, the more it will cost. For instance, custom fixtures and a job that involves rearranging structural components of the space will be more than a simple task involving only flooring and surfaces.
Does your budget fit the average rate in your state?
In Victoria, businesses charge about $55/hr for shop fit-outs. On the other hand, shopfitters in New South Wales have an average rate of around $65/hr. Meanwhile, shop fittings in Queensland will cost you about $75/hr.
Residents of South Australia pay approximately $70/hr for shopfitting services, while those in Western Australia pay only around $61.50/hr. The Australian Capital Territory shopfitters have the highest average rate at about $82.50/hr.
In order to ensure that you are getting value for your money, hire only a licensed business to do shop fitting for you. ServiceSeeking.com.au has a list of the best shopfitters in your area.
Three factors that tell if the service you need fits your budget
In order to properly calculate the costs of fitting out your commercial space, you need to know about the factors that come into play when a business provides you with a quote. These mainly include:
You’ll naturally have to spend less if, for instance, your coffee shop covers only a small space. Fitting a full-scale retail outlet store, on the other hand, would definitely be more expensive.
Since many shopfitting businesses charge on an hourly basis, it will cost you more if your project takes a long time to complete.
The complexity of the job
As a rule of thumb, the more complicated your project is, the more expensive it will be. Additional fixtures such as shelves, custom tables and chairs, cold rooms, climate control systems, decorative flooring, and other specially made fittings will cost you extra.
How can you cut costs when doing an office fit-out?
There are several simple things you can do to reduce costs, such as:
- Get multiple quotes. If you want to save money, compare your options. Instead of simply choosing the first shopfitting company you find, compare quotes from multiple firms to find the best value for money.
- Don’t go overboard. It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement and end up paying for things you don’t need. Try to keep things simple and create a neat, organised space where your customers will feel at home.
- Do a little DIY. Most shop fit-outs take place in spaces that have been previously used, so the area will usually need a little stripping back before new work can begin. If you can do some or all of this yourself, it’ll be a lot cheaper than getting the professionals to do it.
- Sell your old stuff. You might be surprised just how much you can get for your old shop fittings and furniture on Gumtree, or perhaps by going through a second-hand dealer.
- Minimise structural changes. Changing the existing structure of the business space can be very expensive, so avoiding major structural changes whenever possible can provide big savings.
- Plan ahead. Don’t put things off until the last minute – leaving it as late as possible to organise any facet of the work will only increase costs. Instead, develop a timeline with realistic deadlines to make sure everything runs smoothly.
- Stick to your plan. Once you know what you want, stick to the plan. Chopping and changing at the last minute is only going to drive up the cost.
How to Hire a Shop Fitter
Shop fit-out costs can vary greatly depending on the type of business, area, and what will be involved. Here are a few tips on hiring a shop fit-out firm.
How to Create an Accurate Estimate
- Make sure that you know what is and is not included in the lease agreement.
- Research any local or site-specific rules beforehand.
- Make a detailed plan of the space and how you intend to use it before you start searching for quotes.
Licencing and Qualifications
Shop fit-outs do not necessarily require anything other than a general building and contractor’s license. However, if there will be significant construction, electrical, or plumbing work that is needed, then the contractor would have to either possess the required licenses themselves or have agreements with other subcontractors. Here are a few things that you need to ask beforehand.
- Do they have the necessary licenses to perform all of the work that will be required?
- Can you see any pictures or get references from past customers?
- Make sure you know exactly what services will and will not be provided by the contractor.
While a refurbishment done right can substantially increase the appeal of your business to prospective customers, there are a few key risks you need to consider before starting the work.
The biggest risk is biting off more than you can chew, especially if you’re taking out a loan to finance the fit-out, so make sure you can afford whatever project you have planned. Taking the time to compare your business loan options, not to mention compare the services and quotes of a number of shopfitters, is also essential.
Finally, remember that a fit-out is not the be-all and end-all of the business success – there’s plenty more you need to do to keep turning a profit, and there are always plenty of ongoing expenses to contend with. Remember to budget for those future costs, making sure to leave some money aside and don’t blow all your funds on a fit-out.