12 Business Tips For Interior Fit-Out Contractors
Specialized fit-out contractors provide the finishing touches to development and construction projects.
Therefore, you can class yourself as the icing on the cake!
All project managers will want to ensure that their offices, shopping centre, or residential development are fitted out in style. You need to convince them that you are the best firm for the job.
Here are some business tips to help you stay in business profitably and successfully.
1. Select Tenders To Respond To
You, as a fit-out contractor, will need to submit a tender whenever a company wants you to work on their project.
While it can be tempting to respond to each and every tender, as you want to make as much money as possible, you need to determine which tenders to respond to with care.
Fit-out contractors differ dramatically; some businesses deal with small-scale office jobs, others work on massive hotel and museum projects. Not all companies are going to be right for all projects.
It is important to be realistic. You shouldn’t try to be too ambitious by applying for projects that your company really does not have the capacity for. Remember, the preparation of a tender proposal is a very costly and time-consuming process.
2. Ensure you are up to the task
You should look carefully at the specification, and ask yourself certain questions.
- Can you, without question, meet the main requirements?
- And if so, will your business be able to handle this financially?
- Would it put too much pressure on your organisation?
Aside from this, if you know who the incumbent supplier is, it would be a good idea to try and find out details regarding the existing pricing arrangement. This is important, as it will help you to determine whether it is within your proposed price range that will guarantee that you make money by taking on the contract.
It may be beneficial to partner with another SME if you run a small company yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask the nominated purchasing contract questions or for clarification on any of the requirements.
3. Offer free services
With stated terms and conditions, you can offer free services to your clients. This might be as simple as a free consultation. Free services create a platform for you to showcase your talent and business. You can do some preliminary projects for free or next to nothing price for your clients.
Another means of offering free services is doing community projects. You can design an event centre, town hall, or a general meeting centre for free. Doing free services doesn’t necessarily mean you waive all your compensations but you can relinquish part of your service fee or give a discount on some of your sales.
This will not only tempt potential clients to check your business but you can also have a high chance of retaining them. The satisfied clients are likely to recommend you to others especially because you did it for free.
4. Define your vocation
Though your vocation primarily is interior fit-out, you have to be more specific about it. You should not be another general fit-out contractor. Interior fit-out has many subdivisions which include office furnishing and refurnishing, sales and installation of ceramic tiles, generic and custom furniture, home furnishing and improvement. The list of divisions is practically inexhaustible.
Defining your vocation will ensure you attract and serve the right client. You can’t be a jack of all trade. Instead, define your market by focusing on one aspect. If you want to do fittings for the home, be a home fit-out contractor. If you will do well with a small office and not big offices, be a small office fitter.
The whole essence of having a niche is so you can research and build your speciality in that niche. With this, you know more about your clients, their expectations, the market size, and market trends. Whatever market you target, give your best, and be the best in that market niche.
5. Partner with others
Obviously, you cannot do a fit-out all by yourself. Even if you could render all the services, you would still need someone to buy the materials, paint, ceramics and supply the furniture. You will, therefore, agree with me that you need partners. Partner with sellers of these materials to get a better price.
Often times, you, as a fit-out contractor, will need to partner with another contractor to get the job done faster and better. You might need the speciality of another to augment your speciality or deliver an outstanding fit-out.
6. Take your business online
One of the trending things in this new age is the use of the internet. A typical client will go online to check and compare different fit-out businesses before physically approaching the one he deems fit. If your business is not listed somewhere where it can be found, how then do you show your professionalism?
You can put your business online in several ways. Build an interactive website which links to your social media pages and other relevant links. Your online presence should be convincing enough to potential clients with your amazing photos, and videos. You can also use the services of good content writers to provide contents for your website.
A cost calculator for fit-out projects can also be added to your website. This way, your clients can have an estimate for their projects.
7. Utilize social media
Since the internet has made the world a global village, why not make the most out of it by presenting yourself on social media platforms. It is easier and cost-effective to contact a lot of people through Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media networks.
Social media is a good place to showcase your portfolio. Therefore, you should build your connections through social media friends and followers. Many of them may one day need your services.
You might need professional services to maintain and optimize your social media presence such as a social media manager to post your catchy, interactive, and engaging content on your pages. Never underestimate the power of social media.
8. Market your business
How do you market services or promote your work which is done on the inside of a building? The first way to market your work as an interior fit-out contractor is to let your work market itself. This is what I mean – perfect all the jobs you do so that it’s not only your clients will be wowed but all that behold your work.
Thus, make every interior design a masterpiece so that it will announce your business to anyone that sees it. Your client will also promote your business when you deliver a job well done.
You should also employ the conventional means of marketing. Showcase your work, go to seminars, organize events to advertise your services, use of media houses and other means of publicity. You can also distribute flyers as a means of promoting your business.
Engage in the use of email marketing. Apart from being a cost-effective means of marketing, it also ensures you reach new and big clients you wouldn’t have had time to access physically. Encourage visitors to your website to subscribe to your newsletter for free so they can stay updated with your services. Place targeted ads on the internet and reach more people with this.
9. Innovate and improve
The innovation and creativity in your jobs will sell your job faster than the promotion you give it. How do you now get innovative? Acquire knowledge as much as you can from trade events, shows, seminars and lectures, and other fit-outs related events.
Ensure you are up-to-date with the trend in the fit-out industry. The worst thing that can happen to a contractor is to be outdated. You must be up and doing to ensure you improve your processes and stay ahead.
10. Build your brand
While most of these tips tend towards building your brand, you must also put a conscious effort to build your business brand. Before your service speaks for you, you must have spoken for your services. Brand your business with good name, logo, business cards and stickers, branded materials, a good website, and social media presence.
Your brand speaks a lot about your business. Take your logo for example, wherever that logo is found, it should indicate quality service renders by your business. As your fit-out business grows, it will then be known and associated with the quality fit-out.
11. Show yourself as a specialist in the field
After all these tips have been adopted, it is high time to shew yourself as an expert in the field. You are indeed an expert but you have to show it to remain relevant in the field. You can do this in diverse ways but the best way is to write. Writing a blog post, a book or a manual will go a long way in showing you as an authority in the field. This will build the confidence your clients have in your business.
You need not write a hundred-page book (you may if need be) but you must ensure the content you write is detailed and unique. Ensure there is a pictorial representation of your write up. Use as many pictures as possible. The same thing applies to a blog. Keep it simple and minimalistic in nature. Go directly to the point.
In asserting your authority, you can write about a few of your projects with details and pictures from the beginning to the end. You can reveal a bit about your techniques without compromising the edge and exclusivity of your business.
Fundamentally, you have to show and promote your fit-out business using ingenious approaches. Ensure your business has and maintain a good visual identity through its brand and service it renders. Build and maintain a good online presence through your social media pages and website.
Stay up to date with the market trend and never be outdated. Here you go with the ten business tips for an interior fit-out contractor.
12. Create a portfolio
Design is a vocation of appealing to the senses, the eyes being at the top. Visual representation is one of the ways to attract new clients and keep old ones as a fit-out contractor. Capture amazing photos of your finished works and make a portfolio out of it. It is impractical for new clients to visit all of your finished project sites.
One of the most powerful marketing tools you will have at your disposal as a fit-out contractor is photographs. Videos are great too. Pictures are a good way to make your clients acquitted with the jobs you have done. Impress your clients with visual effects. These pictures can be displayed in magazines, newsletters and your physical office.
This is something that companies like Levitch have mastered. If you can give potential clients a real feel for what they can expect by choosing your business, then you can increase your chances of securing their work by a significant degree.
After every project you carry out, you should take professional, high-quality photographs, and create a portfolio on your website. Mediocre photos simply won’t cut it. In fact, they can do more harm to your business than good. So get to grips with lightings and angles, and show off your services as much as possible.
Videos always represent an exceptionally powerful marketing tool. You can take potential buyers on a virtual tour of some of the work you have done to date. You can show off your level of quality, creativity and professionalism.
It is as close as they are going to get to visit the buildings you have already fitted out. By incorporating photos, videos and case studies on your website, you really can stand out from other contractors in the industry.
Cost of a 1500 sq. ft. office fit-out
The cost of office fit-out varies with location and type of fitting. Some fit-out involves cosmetics changes while some others may involve structural changes. So the exact cost depends on:
- Furniture selection
- Staff number and other specifications for the clients.
Generally, there are three divisions to fit out with a lot of gradients in between. The basic office fit-out deals with the functionality and optimization at a simple level. If the client is tight on budget and wants a comfortable office fit-out, basic office fit-out should be recommended.
Mid-range or mid-spec office fit-out is the midpoint between the two extremes. It has additional features to the basic fit-out but not as much as the high range. The client should expect functionality and optimization concepts as well as improvement in services like lighting, flooring, and media setup.
High range or high-end office fit-out is the highest in this division. It packs all the perks of both mid-range and basic and it magnifies it in all aspects. This is the fit-out set to optimize all space, features and latest gadgets to equip the office space. The high range is always set to impress both the client and visitors to the office.
According to officeprinciple.com, they have these ranges to fit-out budgets
- Basic range: allow $915 – $1,220 per person
- Mid-range: allow $1,220 to $2,135 per person
- High range: allow $2,135 – $3,050 per person
The fit-out calculator estimated a total of 1830 USD for a 1500 square footage for a simple and low budget specification. On the higher end of high complexity and specification, a whooping sum of 329140 USD is estimated. (Source – officeprinciples)
Ranges according to rhino office in the United Kingdom.
- Basic range: allow $890 – $1,025 per person
- Mid-range: allow $1,150 to $1,400 per person
- High range: allow $1,540 – $1,970 per person
A thing to note is that furniture takes up most of the cost. Typically, furniture can take between 70 to 90 percent of the whole fit-out budget.
Average table for 150 staff in a 15,000 sq. ft. space
|Staff space fit-out (USD)||Furniture (USD)||Total (USD)|
Note: There is an average of a wide range of office fit-out costs.
Below is an ideal table from rhinooffice
|Staff space fit-out (USD)||Furniture (USD)||Total (USD)|
This cost analysis is for budgetary plans only. It should be noted that each office is unique. Time and market are also determinants in the costing and execution of a fit-out plan.
A good building, be it commercial, residential or industrial, is incomplete without a solid interior fit-out. A building without a fine finish from a fit-out contractor is like a car without seats, air-condition, and other internal features.
Fit-out contractors essentially add the finishing touches to the work of civil engineers. They ensure that the client’s specific needs are considered while rendering the interior designing services. You might need interior fit-out to blend residential and official functions in style. Another client might just need you to arrange furniture to maximize the space.
To flourish in this business, you must be able to meet all your clients’ needs and still do what you do best –fit-out in style.
I hope these tips help your interior fit-out business! 😉