How To Plan a Shop Fit Out for Success

There’s rather a lot more to a successful shop fit out than many newcomers might expect. There’s much more to it than finding premises, giving it a lick of paint and a nice new carpet before adding a few counters, display cabinets and racks. Don’t expect the landlord to help you out either – of course if you buy a property you can’t expect any help but commercial landlords will be extremely happy if you improve their property at your expense.

Shop Fit Out Experts

There are lots of businesses around who specialize in providing complete shop fit outs and be with you every step of the way. Some may provide a consultancy service. If you decide to utilize an expert service do ask for quotes from a number of businesses and keep things in perspective – you don’t need to pay for a specialist in department store fit outs for a small clothes boutique of hobby shop.


If you are lucky you might be able to purchase existing products which fit your needs, perhaps even pre-owned which can help to cut costs quite considerably. Just think about how many similar types of shop there are to the one you will be opening. They all need shop fittings like shop counters, clothes racks, lit up display cabinets, wire racks, book cases etc. All sorts of shop fittings are available which you can simply buy off the shelf to install in your property.

Do a Little Research

Don’t be afraid to visit other similar shops in the area to get some ideas. You could also check the internet for sites which provide the equipment for shop fit outs. Remember that you only get one chance to make a first impression and first impressions mean a lot – the way that your business, goods and / or services look is extremely important.

Compliance and Regulations

As well as making your shop look attractive and displaying your products as clearly and beautifully as possible you also have to take into account government regulations and make sure that your property complies with them. You may need to produce certified construction plans before you start fitting out your new shop premises with scale drawings and a detailed diagram of the whole project. You will need to provide a floor plan showing the layout of the doors, walls, displays, fixed furniture, plumbing and lighting. You will also need to provide a ceiling plan showing the proposed locations of emergency exit signs, smoke alarms and sprinkler systems if required. You’ll also need to show the internal elevations with things like ceiling height or heights, the heights of counters, benches, fixtures etc and any wall tiles in the premises. Some councils even need to have details of color schemes, materials and finishes. You need to check all of the requirements before you spend any money or start re-fitting your shop.

Council Visits

Pay a visit to the local council offices before you do anything at all – it is much easier to comply with rules and regulations from the beginning than to try to adapt after making expensive mistakes. You may not be permitted to do the re-fit work yourself; some councils make it mandatory to use a licensed builder for all refurbishment work. It is often a good idea to consult with an interior designer or architect before you start the project.

After completing the initial planning of the shop fit out you will need to think about the ways it can be efficiently executed. Think about the logistics of fitting out the shop; remember that everything will not necessarily be available at the same time.

Other Things to Consider

As you can see there are lots of things which need to be taken into consideration when you are fitting out a shop. Here are a few other things which you may need to think about:

  • Will the building fulfill your needs without the expense of a major upgrade?
  • Will you have to provide any disabled access?
  • Where will the location of the fire exit be?
  • Think about the signage for your business – this is another area which may need to have permission from the appropriate authorities.
  • Does the property have air conditioning – will you need it?
  • What about security for your business. What alarms or security systems are in place or will you have put into place?
  • Will the refurbishment make lots of noise, traffic or dust for your neighbors? It’s never a good idea to upset the locals when you are trying to build a successful business.
  • How are the responsibilities of the property split if you are renting the shop premises? The general building maintenance is usually the responsibility of the landlord, just as it would be in a rented house or apartment.
  • Make sure that the shop front is slick and attractive – this will help to draw potential customers into your shop in the first place. Potential customers passing by will judge your business on the appearance from the outside so make sure that it is attractive and can draw people in.
  • Visit other similar shops for design inspiration. Ideas don’t cost anything. Pay a visit to similar shops and take notice of how you feel when you walk inside, how the goods are displayed, whether the shop feels comfortable and welcoming. All of these things can help a customer to not only spend their cash but to keep on coming back again and again to spend some more.
  • Remember that shopping experiences change over the years. Modern retail outlets usually have a minimal style which gives plenty of room to clear display the goods they have for sale.

There really are many things to think about when you are refurbishing your existing shop or just setting up a new business in new premises. The more thought and effort you put into this part of your business the more successful it can be. There’s so much more to it than a lick of paint and a shop counter.