The Budget & Tendering Process

Was this the hardest part of your build or will it be? Let’s face it, we all want the absolute best of everything and with a price tag several times smaller than the actual reality. So many of our clients don’t discuss their budget during the design process and find they end up using either  inferior products and materials and sometimes second-rate builders in order to get their project to fit within their planned financial specifications. It is imperative you consider your budget early on and work with your shopfitter to achieve a quality fit-out whilst still reaching your project goals.

In our case, prior to tendering, we did a budget to give us an idea of what the costs would be based on the specifications set out by the designer and made some adjustments before moving forward. We do this for our clients too if they or their designer has been in touch early enough in the process.

Our next step was to have our estimator set out a scope of works for our build and send it out for tender, just as we do for our clients. This is an interesting process and provided us the opportunity to compare the budgeted price against the quoted price. It gave us as a company some insight as to how effectively we are budgeting projects. As clients, it was a very important part of the process giving us the opportunity to really look at the products and materials specified by the designer, what the costs were and whether we could achieve the same finish whilst still maintaining a high quality fit-out utilising alternative, more cost effective goods.

Upon review of the tender, we made some amendments to materials due to some slight changes to the plans (and our own personal choices) and some because of cost.

Obviously there is not a company out there that is going to be able to beat our own price for the build of our new office space but if I was a client and had only been in contact with the designer, at this stage, I would meet with the shopfitters that had provided a quotation for my project, I would anticipate about three of them. Don’t just meet one, you want to meet all of them.

There are many reasons people end up with the wrong shopfitter and at the end of their build are unhappy with the outcome. Here are some of the main ones:

  1. The quote accepted did not include the entire scope of the project …… extra costs end up being charged and clients end up over budget because they have not properly been presented with a full and detailed proposal.
  2. Went with the cheapest …… the best price does not always mean the best result. So often in such a competitive industry such as this, companies price to win a job on a minimal margin and then make up for this by adding on variations.
  3. Timing – your chosen shopfitter forgot to mention that your project does not fit in with their works schedule or perhaps they cannot guarantee that they will reach Practical completion by the date the shopping centre opens. (I know you are saying, no, surely this does not happen but unfortunately, on occasion it does. Reputable companies will generally advise prior to the date the project is due to be awarded if they can no longer offer their services due to scheduling).

What can you do to ensure you end up with a company that provides you with a service that is going to exceed your expectations rather than cause you undue stress and tension (and empty your pockets more than necessary)? Do your own research! Meet the shopfitting companies representative and see if you are comfortable with them. Do they seem trustworthy? Are they straightforward or are they just trying to sell to you? Can they meet your project timeline? Look at their website. Ask to speak to a previous client who would be happy to discuss both the pros and cons of working with the company. Your designer will likely already have great relationships with several shopfitting companies and will highly recommend all those that tender your project. Don’t be shy about recommending they add a new company that you may have sourced yourself to their tender list, you never know, it might end up being extremely beneficial to you.

If after all of this you love a particular company and know that they are the shopfitter for you but they aren’t quite meeting your budget, speak to them. Tell them what they are up against and give them the opportunity to see if they can work with you to meet your budget goals but remember, you get what you pay for!