I recently completed a deal that was really delayed because the new tenant/prospect did not really understand the construction side of her business. THAT’S OK, but you as the tenant/user are responsible for understanding the numbers ($) of your construction. In another situation, I was working with an operator who was opening his first franchise and we were on the final stage of lease comments with the landlord when the landlord said, ” How much do you estimate your build out to be?”. The tenant was shocked and angry because he thought that the landlord was going to do all of the construction, interior design included. Well, I do not know where you are sitting right now, but in my market the landlords do not do interior build out beyond the very basics which can be used by future users should the present one leave.

So, here is my advice for tackling the build out of your store:

1) Get at least three (3) bids from different contractors in your local area who are experienced in commercial/retail build out. Compare their estimates and ask plenty of questions especially when there are drastic price differences.

2) Realize that you are going to need to invest some money into the space. It is your store, so do it up to your specifications. Additionally, you probably do not want the landlord doing this work for you because it is very likely that it will not be done as well as a professional contractor you hire and work with side by side.

3) If you have a franchise, visit several other locations of the franchise so that you can get an idea of what they look like and where there is room for differentiating.

4) Do not cut corners! This means, pull permits for all mechanical and system changes in you build out. If you fail to pull permits in many municipalities, you will have a stop work order on the project site resulting in a delay in your opening and possibly resulting in the landlord getting rent earlier.

5) Communicate with the landlord. This will save everyone headaches and heartaches.