If you are to be considered as superb at fitting shops you are going to need to put together a few crucial things. Without doing these things, you will probably not be an excellent shop fitter and therefore have an undesirable career as a result. If you are going to be in this trade you might as well do it right. There is plenty of work out there for the driven, skilled, motivated and who can combine the elements that this article will put forward.
If you can combine these things, we know that you will have an illustrious career fitting shops, serve & help plenty of people as well as make a lot of money yourself for your good service. Shops that want to make a good amount of money need a good reliable fitter that can deliver. If you are trying to sell Ferraris from a shed it is simply not going to work – so setting in a sales environment is always really important.
It does not matter if you are looking to be handy shop fitters in Glasgow or any other part of the U.K. – these ideas and rules will guide you to being excellent within this craft no matter where you are located. Well, let’s get into it!
Be an impeccable project manager
Make no mistake about it, creating a shop from scratch is a project and someone needs to manage it. If you want to make it as someone who can deliver the best shop fittings either you need to be impeccable at project management or you need to hire someone that is impeccable at project managing.
There is no way around this first rule.
Poor project management = poor project.
Consistently poor projects? You go out of business.
There are three key concepts related to project managing a shop fitting. Get these right? You will be a fantastic project manager. As ever, it will look easy right now as you are just looking at words on a page. In reality, combine all these things together and you have an extremely complicated task in front of you.
The first thing to think about is what you are actually delivering. Also know as ‘deliverables’. The deliverables comprises of what you are actually going to be presenting the client. The shop, if you like. What are you actually going to create for the client and how?
Do you need a joiner to create bespoke pieces of equipment for you?
Do you need a joiner (or carpenter) on hand to fit things within the shop?
What is going to be in the shop? Do you know what the materials will be?
What is the feel of the room(s)? What are you trying to achieve with the shop you are making? (e.g. there could be an emphasis on spaciousness or even trying to maximise every little space.)
Get clear on what you are delivering to the client and why! Then manage this process from start to finish. Already be at the finishing point in your mind so you know how each stage should play out. This is what a good project manager will do.
The second of three things that is key to handle when project managing is the budget.
You need to manage the budget for your own profits as well as for the sake of the client. You have given them a price and no one likes to suddenly have to pay more down the line. If you think there is scope for extra expenses, make it clear upfront to the client. People hate surprise payments but can accept payments that could arise should X scenario occur. Be upfront with your customer and control costs.
This means properly budgeting for the labour, materials, fittings and so on. Look at every cost involved from travel to opportunity cost. Everything has a cost and it is your responsibility to price your work up in a way that works for everyone.
The third thing to manage is time.
This is the part that most fitters fail with. In the shop fitters world – timing is everything. Time is money and these shops need to get their sales. The longer you take with your shop fitting the worse it probably is for the client.
You need to lay out to the client that specific phases that you will be working through and when they can expect thing to be completed by. You obviously need to include when the project will be fully completed.
Remember the industry you are in at this juncture. You cannot be late with shops. Companies have deadlines and their way of making money might only be through the shop you are creating for them. Give yourself leeway on the timescale. For example, if you think the project will take 30 days. Tell the client you need 50 days but the project could be completed within 35 days. This gives you a couple of extra weeks just incase something goes wrong and you need a time extension. We have seen it time and time again where people get their timescales all wrong and ruin their reputation. Don’t let this be you!
To round it up
To finish off – just make sure you remember the vital concepts from this article. You are a project manager, not someone that fits a shop. Or you hire an excellent project manager. Everyone should be able to do their profession within the project but you need to overlook it to make sure that everyone is doing what they need to do and the project will go swimmingly. Without excellent project management skills we cannot imagine any company will make shop fitting profitable for themselves.
The fact that budgets are normally tight, time is of the essence and there is a lot of things to deliver means that organisation is king. If you are not managing the project correctly, everything will go wrong from not making enough money from the project because you have incorrectly budgeted, to running out of time and annoying your client, to getting the actual deliverables AKA the final product all wrong…
We wish the best of luck to everyone fitting shops or wanting to become a shop fitter and are always open to speaking to anyone about help we can provide. Just call us and we can have a chat. Or alternatively, email in with any questions. We’d love to chat to anyone.
Thanks for reading!
Also published on Medium.