By Matt Mangold, Mangold@RetailStoreSolutionsInc.com
Over the course of managing the construction of some 600 or 700 retail stores, I’ve learned a lot about fixture installations. Through trial and error, and by observing the successes and failures of various partners, I eventually developed an awareness of the problem spots that lead to cost overruns and expensive delays. Dealing with a problem before it becomes a problem requires you to ponder the process a little, but you’ll find the answers make the front-end questioning worth it.
Obviously, cost is a big factor when deciding who is going to install your fixtures, but it’s not the only factor. Choosing the correct partner to use during the installation process can depend on several factors, including the level of expertise required for the installation and how complicated the fixtures are to install. Probably several partners will be able to handle the work and even more will be willing to bid for it. Sorting out the good from the bad can make all the difference.
The most obvious partner is your fixture manufacturer. That organization knows the most about how the fixtures are assembled and they’re already familiar with your expectations. In many cases, you probably have a better line of communication with them than you do with any other component of your store build team.
If you choose to bid out the work to another party, however, you can’t simply put the manufacturer on the back burner. Even if they’re not involved in the installation, you’re still going to need to come to several legal understandings with them, particularly when it comes to establishing the boundary lines for the liability of several key components.
First, you must have a way to evaluate the quality of the fixtures that arrive on site, as well as a way to verify the accuracy of the delivery. Additionally, you have to make sure your contract with the manufacturer spells out a clear chain of custody for the title of the fixtures. If the delivery truck drives off a cliff, you, the insurance company and the lawyers are going to want to know who is responsible for the load.
On a much more practical front, you’re going to want to ensure a good bill of lading is issu