Whether you are starting a new venture, moving premises, expanding your office space to accommodate more staff, re-branding or simply looking for a facelift to your tired old offices, the sheer overwhelm of the task can sometimes feel enough to rattle even the most calm amongst us.
As commercial fitout is almost always outside of the daily remit of any business, it is a task rarely attempted without the knowledge, support and project management of a professional interior fitout company.
This, of course presents the first list of problems:
Amongst all of the commercial fitout companies available in Australia, what do you need to know to make an informed decision? How do you choose the right commercial fitout company for YOUR needs, YOUR project and YOUR budget?
Most of the websites have beautiful images of finished projects. Whilst images tell a thousand words, they probably don’t tell you the particular words that you need to hear.
From the images and glowing website copy, you’ve no idea of the scope or the budget of each project, you can’t see whether the project went smoothly or whether it entailed daily issues with extended delays and budget blowouts, you can’t see whether all of the contractors were tidy and respectful of your premises.
In fact, beyond understanding that the commercial fitout company employs a great photographer and website builder, you really know very little.
That is why it is so important to scratch below the surface. Go deeper than the images on a website and the pretty promotional brochures. You have to know, like and trust the commercial fitout company with whom you decide to partner.
No one has endless time to check and double check every single detail of a company before contracting them for their commercial fitout and most of us rely on referrals, recommendations and, of course, Google to create a shortlist of contractors to quote or tender for the project.
To assist in creating your shortlist and indeed, in making your final decision, there are 3 timeless standards that go well beyond a company website or façade.
Track Record – The Know
If you’ve been referred, you will most probably have a glowing report from your referrer but they may not know of any projects other than their own. Search for previous projects listed on the company website or on executive and employee LinkedIn profiles or simply ask the commercial fitout company for previous project information.
To take one additional step, choose 2 or 3 projects and ask to speak with the company for whom previous projects were completed. Much like a reference for a new employee, it will give an overall view of the company.
The most important information you are looking for in their track record is;
- Integrity of the contractor and their history of completing projects on-time and on-budget
- Professionalism of both the Contractor and their tradesmen
- Expertise and ability
The Process – The Like
After creating a shortlist of commercial fitout companies, the next stage is contacting those companies for a meeting, briefing and quote.
You’re looking for a smooth process where each step is meticulously explained to you.
You must understand what you can expect at each stage and, in turn, what is expected of you. You must know when you need to make decisions and on what. You must understand the project timeline and importantly, the inclusions (and exclusions) of the project.
The manner in which the company approaches this stage can be very telling for the rest of the project. The more transparency and clarity shown at this stage, the more likely you are of a successful partnership and commercial fitout project.
Instinct – The Trust
Our “gut instinct” is almost never wrong. One of the most important factors in choosing the right commercial fitout company for your project is trust.
After you’ve created and met with your shortlist contenders, weighed up designs, finishings, timeline and budget, the final decision will invariably come down to how that commercial fitout company makes you feel. Trust this final step – it is incredibly powerful.