Business Premises Fitout – What You Need to Know

  • 03 February, 2022
  • admin

Before working in finance my eyes were opened to the complexity involved with business premises fitout when I worked for a major retail group.

I was responsible for the display of merchandise in new retail premises across Victoria and quickly became aware of the many elements that need to be considered to:

  • Ensure a great customer experience
  • Work for the business, from a practical perspective

This experience followed by 20 plus years providing business clients with Fitout Finance, has given me insights into common mistakes that if avoided, can make the entire process a whole lot easier:

Business Premises Fitout - Plan to Avoid Regret!

Like most things in business, if you want a successful outcome you need to plan ahead.
When considering Business Premises Fitout, it is important to consider:

  • What is the foot traffic flow?
  • Will the proposed layout be practical from a business and customer perspective?
  • How can it be optimised?
  • Will it work both today and in the future?
  • What finishes you will use? What ambience do you want to create?
  • Will it appeal to your customers?
  • Is the look and feel aligned with your brand?
  • Are the finishes durable and practical? (Whilst hard surfaces may look great, if they make conversation difficult, other options may need to be considered

Other key questions include:

  • How long will the work take?
  • Can it be done after hours?
  • What access arrangements need to be put in place?

Business Premises Fitout - Create a Budget

One key first step when thinking about business premises fitout, is to work out a budget:

  • What can the business afford?
  • What return on investment will you require to justify the outlay?

What you ultimately spend may change once quotes are received. However, if you don’t set a budget, it is easy to get caught up in the process and spend beyond your means!

Focusing on Price and Not Quality

Whilst setting a budget is important, this should not be at the expense of quality.
In business, you get generally what you pay for! You need to be financially prudent, but not to the detriment of your business.

If you overly focus on price, the supplier will need to compromise quality.

You may end up with a business premises fitout that is compromised from the outset. One that:

  • Needs to be replaced or updated within a short period of time
  • Presents the business in a poor light (first impressions count)
  • Detracts from the customer experience

Business Premises Fitout - Paying from Cash Flow

At times, it can be tempting to pay for the premises fit out from your cash flow.

However, before doing this, it is wise to prepare some Financial Projections to ensure that it will not leave you short of funds to cover ongoing operations and growth!

If you pay cash, it can be extremely difficult and costly to recoup the funds via refinancing. It is far better to arrange financing at the outset.

Doing it Yourself to Save Money!

Given the capital outlay involved with business premises fitout, it can be tempting to try and do it yourself, to save money.

However, unless you have expertise across many disciplines (carpentry, electrical, finishes, foot traffic flow, coordinating trades etc) then Fitouts are something best left to the professionals.

They will not only have the expertise, but importantly, better buying power.

Three key questions to ask are:

  • Do you have the expertise to manage all aspects of the fitout
  • Can you afford the time?
  • Could you better use the time elsewhere in the business?

Undertaking Research and Seeking Detailed Quotes

If you (wisely) decide to outsource the Premises Fitout, then it is important to:

  • Use providers who have experience in your field.
  • Ask to see examples of their previous work
  • Speak to their former clients. Ask about their experience with the supplier. Was the fitout completed to specification? Was it delivered on time and to budget?
  • Seek detailed written quotes that encompass all aspects of the fitout, price, finishes, timelines, payment terms etc.

Use a Fitout Finance Specialist

It is a complex process. If the financier doesn’t have experience in the field, it can be costly and exceptionally time consuming.

Choosing the right Finance Product (Chattel Mortgage, Lease, or Rental) is critical as it has ownership and tax implications.

Then there is the question of allocation of hard cost and soft cost components which vary depending on the Finance provider.

Using a specialist Fitout Finance Broker can help you tap into highly competitive rates and save an enormous amount of time, cost, and frustration!


Despite its complexity, I love helping my clients with finance for their business premises fitout.

While the process requires attention to detail and high-level organisational skills, I enjoy is seeing a fitout move from concept, through to successful completion.

If you would like to learn more about finance for your premises fitout, and how I may be able to assist, don’t hesitate to get in touch!