Retail is a highly competitive sector increasingly driven by delivering memorable in-store experiences along with products. Online sales opportunities have diminished historical advantages, such as physical location, access, or local scarcity.
To stand out from the rest, uphold brand standards, and keep up with trends, brick and mortar retailers will need unique and efficient facilities一and, probably a remodel or two.
Finding the right construction & project management partner is key to overall project success, but how do you select one company over another? Here are eight things to keep in mind during your search process:
1. Ability to Communicate Effectively & Regularly
Delivering on your vision requires your construction & project management partner to understand your goals, constraints, timing, and budget. They, in turn, must ensure contractors and providers are aligned with the vision and can deliver to brand standard.
Progress reports should be comprehensive, clear, and regularly scheduled. And when challenges arise, your partner should communicate these promptly. Good communication is foundational to any professional relationship and can help avoid unnecessary barriers to project success.
2. Retail Sector Expertise & Experience
Successful execution of a retail remodeling project requires deep experience. For example, effectively using retail space, incorporating energy-efficiency solutions, or improving employee workspace probably doesn't come naturally to a residential project or factory remodel team.
Ensure your construction and project management partner has expertise and experience in retail, and preferably in your subsector: apparel, recreation, automotive, and so on. Not only will your team be up on what the competition is doing, but it will be better positioned to identify workable, creative solutions when challenges emerge.
For example, not every retail space requires changing rooms. Still, if yours does, you’ll benefit from a partner who knows what designs work better than others, the pros and cons of different lighting options, and required fire standards.
Be sure to ask for references and photos or videos of previous remodeling projects.
3. Robust Project Management
A facility remodeling is often a complex project requiring the ongoing coordination of labor, materials, equipment, and funding. Your construction & project management partner should have a robust project management component that keeps you on time and budget, and manages expectations along the way.
To some extent, delays, shortages, and change orders are likely to occur, but a good command of data and logistics can help keep these interruptions' impacts to a minimum.
Comprehensive budget reporting throughout the project is also essential. Sound project management involves anticipating financial overruns before they happen, or mitigating them quickly when unavoidable.
4. Quality Subcontractor Network
Ensure your construction & project management partner provides outstanding work product一from design to drywall to drainage and everything in between.
While this may seem an obvious feature for consideration, it’s not always the case. Sourcing a deep bench in a range of building trades is a job in itself. Not every partner has a subcontractor network they can rely on for top-of-the-line expertise all of the time一regardless of what they promise.
Just because they say they have the expertise to construct the intricate Versailles tile layout doesn’t mean they can. Again, check those references.
5. Warrantied Work Product
Be sure your construction & project management partner backs up its work with a warranty. It should include the specific challenges and remedies the company covers and duration of the warranty period. Other types encompass materials and equipment, warranties issued from product manufacturers, and call-back warranties covering project work not executed correctly.
If your partner provides a quality remodel, they should be willing to offer a comprehensive warranty to cover it. Be sure you understand the limits of the warranty, especially relating to coverage periods and levels.
6. Pricing Transparency
When selecting a construction & project management partner, transparency in bid pricing is essential to consider. A project bid should be comprehensive, and each component’s or phase’s pricing understandable. If the company can’t explain its pricing, that’s a red flag.
A bid price that’s out of range一either too low or too high一might also be cause for concern. A low bid could indicate the company is cutting corners or not including a reasonable schedule for completion. A significantly higher bid could hint at an overly inflated contingency budget, a limited pool of subcontractors, or a lack of interest in the project.
Regardless of the bid price, it’s essential to understand what you’re paying for and, if prices change, why they change.
7. First-Rate Customer Service
A successful retail remodel requires a positive partnership between the client and construction & project management partner, and superior customer service helps nurture that relationship. You want your partner to meet your expectationsーat a minimumーand be responsive to your requests and concerns.
8. Properly Licensed Contractors
Most states require some form of contractor licensing. This is common for general contractors, water and gas plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, and remediation service technicians, among others. Most general contracting projects are regulated locally and may have additional licensing and permitting requirements.
Licensing involves passing exams and meeting various requirements to prove competency and understanding of trade safety protocols. This is distinct from certification, which is often voluntary and less rigorous.
At a minimum, your construction & project management partner should be compliant and licensed in your state, and possibly for other local jurisdictions. Furthermore, legal recourse related to contractor work products is also impossible in some states if you hire unlicensed contractors.
To better understand specific licensing requirements in your state, start with The National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA), which provides information by state on agencies enacting laws to regulate contractor businesses.
NEST Construction & Project Management
NEST’s Construction & Project Management team offers industry-leading retail remodeling services that save time and eliminate unnecessary expenses. From big box remodels to conversions, rebrands, or refreshes, NEST provides exceptional customer service and execution of your projectーon time and on budget.
NEST professionals bring deep retail experience to their remodeling work and are well versed in evolving retail trendsーbe it in design, function, or technology.
Partnering with NEST also ensures your project will be handled by members of its extensive Independent Service Provider (ISP) network. NEST oversees its ISPs, ensuring members are fully compliant and experienced and deliver a quality work product to meet or exceed your brand standards一every time.