A Guide to Remodeling Your Business

With the recent boom in Downtown San Diego and the neighboring areas, many business owners may be thinking of ways to fit in with the new surroundings. Now may be the time to consider an update or facelift to keep up with the demand for newness while also paying service to the locals who have their favorite establishments. At Murfey Construction, we do more than just home builds and remodels. We have a long history of ground-up construction as well as remodels for commercial properties. As with any major project, it is important to have a solid plan before you make any big steps, especially with something as important as your business. So here are a few key points to keep in mind.

Remodeling is an Investment

Most remodels will be costly. But an update can boost the perceived value of your store and your overall brand.

Determine the needs of the community

This will also help determine how much of an investment you make into your remodel. Many businesses have suffered by spending too much on a cosmetic remodel, only to see the business fold within a year of completion. Some of this comes from hoping that an underperforming store or restaurant will be miraculously changed with a cosmetic update. But also don’t confuse outdated for “homey”—with the changing clientele, you want to make sure your business can attract the new residents who will be flooding into the community. Curb appeal will go a long way.

Set a clear plan for your project

What needs to be done? Is your property in need of demolition? Can you preserve infrastructure such as plumbing, load-bearing beams, and the gas lines and electrical panels? Do you need to add new restrooms or update an old kitchen? Is the layout underperforming? Can you get away with minor refacing, such as new flooring, wall paint, and fixtures? Do you really just need to replace appliances or repaint? Think of the best way to maximize your investment at every price level. It might end up being only a new sign or storefront.

Choose an experienced contractor and team

If you are making an investment into your company, you want someone who knows the ins and outs and can help you plan for contingencies. Also, inexperienced workers can delay the time of construction, losing you valuable business. You also need a team that can ensure what permits are needed and how they should be processed and who are up to date on the most recent safety codes. Bad work can end up shutting down your business just as you’re ready to take off.

Make sure you set a viable timeline

You and your contracting team should work not only the finance numbers but the time numbers (time is money, after all). Working with a set timeline helps to minimize costs and losses.

If your business remains open during construction, utilize the space well

Have a set plan for what work will be done in what area at what time. You will still need to present your merchandise in a way that doesn’t detract from both its appeal and its accessibility. Make sure you have an uncluttered space that makes the flow of traffic easy for customers (without interfering with the construction team). Consider how cash registers will fit and how all your customer’s needs must be accommodated. Even loyal customers won’t be enticed if they feel a visit to your business is a chore.

Consider how your new layout will best suit the image and brand you want to sell

Find a good model. Who are your competitors? What works for them? How can you improve on that? And again, what is the need of the community who will be your patrons? Go on neighborhood investigations to find examples. While you don’t want to rip off someone else’s concept, it is okay to be influenced by what is currently popular, especially if your brick-and-mortar shop has not been updated in a long time (or ever).

Then consult with your construction team. The best ones will have some insight on layout and best use of space, but this is also your vision. Take advice to mull over, but don’t let your project be hijacked. However, if your contractor tells you your vision isn’t viable, and this is an experienced contractor, it might do you well to heed the advice even if you don’t completely take that person’s vision. Remember that when you consult experts, they want the best for your business as well, as their reputation is also on the line.

When planning your remodel, think too about where your customers will be spending most of their time, how you want the foot traffic to flow, how seating will figure in, and if you have restrooms, make sure you have enough to accommodate the amount of customers you expect.

Planning is a process

Coming up with your remodel vision isn’t a one-and-done procedure; you and your team should revise until you’re satisfied with the finished blueprint. And during the build, if you have hesitations on materials or any part of the build, let your contractor know up front, especially before it’s late in the game, when changes become much more costly.

Try to not to be wishy-washy

Once you know what you want, you can still make edits throughout the process; however, constantly changing your mind will only add to the cost and the delay of your business returning to normal—or better than ever.

Follow through after project completion

You want to measure the success of your investment. Create a sales target, based on similar stores in your area, that will help offset the cost of the renovations. The overall goal is to increase your long-term profits, and part of the investment will also be in promoting your newly renovated business. Don’t forget to factor that into your costs.

For any questions on commercial builds or remodels, or if you’re ready to make the next step in your renovation and want experienced and talented builders, contact us at 858.459.6865 or visit our website to see samples of our urban construction.