Building stores requires a particular type of expertise on the part of the contractor. Chain Store Age spoke with Gregg Zysman of All-Rite Construction Company about what retailers should look for when hiring a contractor.
What are the most important factors retailers should consider when selecting a contractor?
The most important factor is to select a contractor that specializes in retail construction. Look for membership in associations like the Retail Contractors Association and a list of recognized retail clients.
Next, is the contractor's reputation for delivering projects on time, in budget and with requisite quality. An indicator is a company that has a long-standing client base and is growing in the retail segment.
Finally, the contractor must have a strong business and ethical commitment. This is reflected in responsiveness and resolution to problems and ongoing support after the project is complete. Look for ready access to senior management, a trained staff of professionals and ongoing maintenance indicating the work will be done right and a desire to support the client for the long run.
What is it about retail build-out that necessitates the contractor have specific retail expertise?
Retailers are under extreme pressure to complete projects on compressed schedules with firm completion dates, often linked to advertising and merchandising programs. Also, retailers often require renovations be conducted after hours with no interference to store operations. Working under these conditions requires years of experience and carefully honed procedures to ensure success.
Retailers are also under significant budget pressures, with little tolerance for cost overruns. The selected contractor must properly bid the project and bring it in for the bid price without cutting corners or generating unexpected change orders. Again, a retail contractor with a reputation of delivering quality projects for the bid price is essential.
The retail environment requires the contractor to be sensitive to many factors other construction professionals never deal with. Store management and employees, mall management, nearby store customers/merchandise and other factors can be pitfalls to a non-retail contractor. Having ye