Is your business growing? Are you starting a new company and looking for the perfect space? Your property might need a little assistance in the form of a tenant improvement project.

Commercial contractors work with business owners to help them design and build out leased office space and other commercial properties. Below are a few of the best ways to make sure your tenant improvement project is a success.

1. Start planning before you sign a lease

The planning for your tenant improvement project should begin before you even think about signing your lease. During your search for the perfect space (whether it’s a Class A office, a new dental office, restaurant, or retail location) be thinking about:

  • Budget – Don’t invest in a space that needs more work than you can afford
  • Potential Lease Terms and Restrictions – Don’t make the mistake of falling in love with a property where you’ll be handcuffed by a short lease or restrictions on improvements you can make to the space
  • Timeline – Even if you can afford the renovations and buildout, will the space be ready on your timeline?

2. Work with your space not against it

The key to a great tenant improvement project is flexibility and the ability to work with the features your new space offers. For example, if your new dentist office has great natural light, don’t hide it! Think of creative ways to use the unique features of your new space (think exposed beams and woodwork) instead of hiding them.

A great tenant improvement contractor will help you by anticipating cost overruns and having flexible options in mind to keep your project under budget. Conversely, a really great tenant improvement contractor will have potential upgrade options available to improve your space when they find ways to keep costs under budget.

3. Balance wants and needs

When it comes to keeping your project on-schedule and on-budget, you might not be able to have every item on your wish list. When planning your tenant improvement project, separate the features you want from those you absolutely need. Don’t become too attached to something on your “want” list. One of the biggest mistakes new tenants make is thinking too narrowly and considering everything a “need”.

4. Don’t emphasize form over function

Remember that your tenant improvement project should have one goal: to create a space that meets the needs of your patients, clients, and customers. A big mistake in many tenant improvement projects is spending the entire budget on making the space look nice while overlooking the needs of your business. Don’t forget:

  • ADA Compliance – Will your space be accessible and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act?
  • HVAC – Will your space be prohibitively expensive to heat and cool efficiently? Or worse will your space suffer from poor heating and cooling?
  • Fire Alarms & Sprinkler Systems – Is your space up to local code when it comes to fire alarms and suppression systems?

5. Think like your customer/client/patient/employee

Remember: While you might be the business owner, you will not be the only one using your new space. When planning your tenant improvement project, make sure to consider the other people who will be in your space:

Do your research and ask your team what they’d like to see in your space. Check out other local businesses and see how they’ve built out their spaces. Survey customers and clients to see how your new space can best meet their needs.

6. Hire a great local design & construction firm you trust

Above all else, the key to a successful tenant improvement project is working with a construction firm you trust that has the experience, expertise, and a solid reputation.