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Five top tips to make sure your interior fit out is on budget

- 6 min read

At ecsec we work on a really wide variety of interior fit out projects. Just as no shop or restaurant you walk into is ever exactly the same as another, each fit out is different too. But one thing that all our clients have in common is their two biggest priorities - completing on time, and coming in on (or under) budget. 

Whether you’re in the restaurant trade, retail, or any other sector, investing in a fit out is always a big financial decision.  It’s never more important to spend your money wisely than during that time, when you’re first starting out in a new venture, or returning to market after a refurb. So, to help you prioritise your budget, in this article we’re going to share some of our top tips for ways that you can avoid overspending on your new fit out. 

Tip one: it’s all in the planning

Your best friend when it comes to budgeting is careful planning. This will help you preempt any unforeseen costs, so you should aim to be as detailed as possible to make sure you’ve got cash in the bank for every stage of your commercial interior refit. Time taken to think of everything beforehand is time (and money) saved in the long term - so it goes without saying that once you’ve got your plan, you should stick to it, and try not to get carried away with any big changes or additional events. 

Start a cost tracker spreadsheet with each item you're going to spend money on such as furniture, soft furnishings, equipment, staffing, suppliers, overheads like rent and utilities, your launch event etc. and add estimates that are as accurate as you can manage to help you work out a rough total budget. Plus, allocate at least a 10% contingency fund to help with any unforeseen costs - you’ll definitely thank yourself for setting this aside in the future.  

Tip two: choosing your suppliers

Whatever industry you’re in, you’ll be working with a range of different suppliers for your stock, or catering needs. You might have existing contacts, or you might be coming to this completely new. Either way, we’d always advise getting at least three comparative quotes for each service before you start out, so you can make sure you’re getting the best pricing available. Even if the supplier you like the best turns out to be the most expensive, you can use the cheaper quotes to negotiate them down. 

It doesn’t hurt to run this exercise regularly in future, to check whether pricing has changed in the market. Little tactics like this will help to keep your budget down over time. 

This applies to your wifi supplier too. It’s a business essential, but the best deals aren’t always shared initially and it’s worth shopping around rather than going for the first quote you get. Add a note to your calendar to also check the renewal quote when your contract is due to end, as often savings can be found by moving elsewhere at this point. 

Tip three: consider your tech

There are all sorts of useful bits of tech out there that will seem really appealing for your new business, however, these are costly and only a few will prove to be real essentials that you can’t function without. Before splurging on (for example) iPads for every staff member, think about other workarounds to help you in the short term, and invest in these pricer items when you’re more established. 

Tip four: DIY marketing

Once your fit out is completed, it’s essential to spread the word about your opening (or reopening, if it’s a refit) and entice customers to come. This is where PR and marketing come in, and across different industries many owners will choose to work with a specialist agency or independent consultant to promote their launch, which takes the pressure off you so that you can focus your time elsewhere. But this can be costly, and if you can find the time, there’s a lot you can do yourself to save paying them a fee. 

These days everyone is on social media, and you can easily set up a business page across Instagram and Facebook to start building excitement about your business opening. You can post ‘work in progress’ shots of the refurb, or team catch ups. Use simple design tools like Canva, that have a lot of free and easy to use templates, to create graphics that align with the visuals of your brand. Make sure to post in local groups to get the word out, and ask people you know to help you by sharing posts. 

Hosting a launch event on your opening night is a tried and tested tactic, and works especially well if you offer free drinks and nibbles. Make sure to invite local newspapers, magazines and blogs along, as well as your audience on social media. Finally, you could consider running a discount offer through your first week of trading, shared via a flyer dropped locally. 

Tip five: look for partnerships

Leveraging any connections that you have or seeking out partnerships can be a mutually beneficial way to scale back on some of your costs. For example, rather than investing in art for your business, you could partner with a gallery to use your space to exhibit their artists. They’ll make money from any sales, and you can keep your walls looking fresh with regular updates. You might also find local plant shops who’re happy to do something similar, lending you the greenery to make your space look great, with any sales going directly to them. 

In conclusion

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully you’ve found at least one tip here that will help you manage the budget on your interior fit out. Plus, with careful planning, cautious spending and a hands-on approach, you should get your business off to the best start and avoid overspend. 

For more advice about your fit out, or to talk to us in more detail about how we can help with your renovation plans, reach out to us today.

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