Ready to start an office fit out in London? Hold your (ahem) horses. Here are the signs you could be hiring a cowboy…
Letting tradespeople into your home is hair-raising at the best of times. But when you’re about to pull your workplace apart and put it back together again, the stakes get even higher. Reliable, whip-smart office fit out companies are like gold dust, with the power to turn a stressful Cat B fit out into an easy-breezy walk in the park. Dodgy ones might botch your job – and you may not have any comeback if things go wrong.
How can you tell good Cat B and Cat A fit out companies from bad ones? Read on, and we’ll tell you exactly what to look out for.
#1: They Have No Reputation
Reputation, as they say, is everything, and trustworthy office fit out companies should be delighted to boast about theirs! Prep their rep’ by checking out references and case studies, and ask to take a live tour of completed projects. Calling up past clients is well worth the legwork – you’ll get a brutally honest opinion about what it’s really like to work with your fit out partner. Listen out for words like ‘flexible,’ ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘problem-solvers’ since this shows that your designer totally has your back. ‘Fun to work with’ is another must-have if you’re going to be knee deep in plaster dust for several weeks!
#2: They’re Short On Credentials
Office fit out companies who take a cavalier approach to best building practices, health and safety and the environment could lead to a risk of injury to them or you ….. or the planet. So don’t skimp on the verification. Here are some of the credentials to look out for:
- Contractor’s Health and Safety Assessment Scheme Accredited Contractor/li>
- Health & Safety policy
- Safety incident record
- Insurance policies
- Company environmental policy
- Company quality management policy
#3: You Only Meet the Sales Team
Sales teams exist for one reason: to sell you stuff. Some sales teams are so spectacularly good at this, they could sell steak to a vegan. But sales and construction teams are like yin and yang; oil and water. The first exists to make money for the Cat B fit out company; the second exists to create a truly delightful workspace for you.
A company might have a flashy website, or give an amazing presentation, but all of that pales into insignificance if the fit out team can’t deliver the goods. That’s why you’ll never meet a CCWS sales team – only the experienced, knowledgeable, passionate people who’ll actually do the job.
#4: The Numbers Don’t Look Good (Part 1)
Another little secret?
Some office fit out companies in London will not have the financial footing to carry out your project, and bad numbers could put your refurbishment in serious danger. For example, if your project budget is £500,000, and the company has an annual turnover of £2 million, how will they afford to buy materials, furniture etc on your behalf? You really don’t want anything collapsing because someone has skimped on the proper materials.
How do you know if your design partner has financial clout? Simple – just ask. Ask to see their balance sheet. Ask to see insurance policies that cover your project value. A reputable company has nothing to hide …
#5: The Numbers Don’t Look Good (Part 2)
You know the saying that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is? Well…. that. If a quote seems like really good value, dig a little deeper. You might find that your fixed-price quote actually contains provisional sums and other costs that creep into the project later down the line, which means you’ll have to cough up far more cash than you expected to pay.
Budget-savvy companies (like us) will give you an airtight quote with zero room for surprises. Ask your shortlisted office fit out companies how they calculate their full costings. Will they guarantee to deliver on budget, with no hidden extras? Will they take total responsibility for the project?
#6: They Persuade You That Pretty Counts For Everything
Yes, we all want your office to look gorgeous. But trust us when we say that good looks aren’t everything. There’s a bunch of stuff going on under the hood that you have to get right first, otherwise, there’s a risk that your office will look like a Ferrari but perform like a 1971 Morris Marina. (Worst car ever. Seriously. Ask your dad).
Is it bad to be pretty?
Oh my gosh, no! Here at CCWS, we create stunning Cat B fit-outs that make others swoon with envy. But we also create designs that work. We take great care to appraise your building (to see if your site is really suitable), appraise your workspace (to work out how much space you need and why), appraise your M&E / telecoms / IT (to manage the capacity and cost of services) … and so much more. Getting the basics right has a massive impact on engagement and productivity and makes sure that nothing falls through the cracks.
#7: They Don’t Manage Delays
If you’ve found a good partner for your office fit out in London, things won’t go wrong very often. If they do, your partner will fix them in a diddle. But construction is an unpredictable industry. It only takes a pernickety landlord or even traffic jams for time delays to creep in.
Some office Cat B fit out companies will tell you that they can’t control these events – that you’ll just have to suck up any extra costs if things go wrong. That’s not really true. Good fit out teams are expert planners. They’ll strictly manage the timelines and nudge you toward the decisions you need to make in order to keep the project on track. They will chase landlords, poke suppliers, work late, crack nails, and bend over backwards to make sure every element runs to budget and schedule. If the companies you’ve shortlisted can’t accomplish the seemingly impossible, then it’s totally okay not to hire them.
Don’t let dodgy fit out companies rip you of!
We know we’ve raised lots of questions. But hopefully, this advice will help to steer you in direction of a terrific fit out partner. We promise it’s worth the legwork!
And if you’re ready to start a conversation with a design company you can trust, our office fit out London team is always ready to talk, listen, and demonstrate what we can do for you. Why not find out about working with us by watching our #refurbdiaries on Facebook?