Business owners measure the success of their business in different ways — for some, hitting revenue goals is the marker of success.
For others, it’s the impact of their business in the community. Some define their success by the happiness and productivity of their staff.
Most business owners have multiple measures of success, like those above. But one measure of success we frequently get to celebrate with business owners is physical growth. Whether it’s the decision to open a second location, increase the size of the existing space or move the business to a bigger location, growth is exciting.
We take pride in celebrating these business milestones with our clients. It’s our job to work with our clients to help them set a clear plan for the physical expansion of their business. Read on to learn how to assess your needs and what your options are.
WHAT YOU REALLY NEED
The excitement of planning a physical business expansion often leads to business owners being a little over-zealous in the assessment of their needs. If your company has taken on five more employees since starting in your original space, and the number of customers coming through your door has doubled, it’s reasonable to think about a space 1.5 to 2 time larger. There’s simply no need for a space four times the size.
As yourself the following questions — and be honest.
- Can you afford this? You need to establish a realistic budget for this project.
- Do you need more space? Or do you need a different location — perhaps with more foot traffic, more parking, ADA accessible, etc.
- Could remodeling the current space solve your problem? For example, if you need more private office areas, you could use demountable partitions.
- If you need more square footage, what are the limitations on expanding your space? If you own the building and land, you shouldn’t have any trouble. However, if you rent your space, you’ll need to discuss options and limitations with your landlord.
- If you absolutely need to move to a new facility, do you need to build from the ground up or can you do a complete interior buildout/renovation in an existing space?
- Consider your timeline. How urgent is this project? Do you have time to look for a new space that could be renovated? Or is the lack of space severely impacting your bottom line, meaning you need to move ASAP?
When you hire an experienced professional contractor, they can help you weigh your options and assess the investment of each. At Elite Custom Builders, we’ve worked with several different businesses to design their perfect space, including a salon, restaurant and bakery (just to name a few).
As if there aren’t already enough things to think about, you also need to consider how your business will be able to operate through the renovation or construction. At ECB, we’re willing to work with your schedule to complete noisy construction jobs outside of your operating hours.
We also think it’s important to consider the future of your business. Completing a project that caters to your current needs, without foresight into your future needs, could mean you’re expanding again in a few years.
Think about a realistic growth strategy for your business — are you exactly where you want to be? Or would you like to continue to grow? While we’d never encourage a business owner to build out of their means, we do think this is a worthwhile consideration.
THE PROS AND CONS
There are benefits and drawbacks to every option you’ll consider — which is why it’s important to take time to carefully think through what’s best for your business long-term.
Let’s use the example of a family-owned restaurant that started decades ago and still has the same interior. They need a major facelift to keep customers coming in the door and to attract younger new customers. The restaurant decides to remodel — it’s the fastest and least costly option. The restaurant can stay in it’s existing location, reducing the work that needs to be done to promote a new location.
While remodeling may allow for a slightly different floor plan and seating chart, there isn’t actually more space. The space may be more efficient, but ultimately, the restaurant aren’t going to be able to seat many more guests. In some cases, this is completely okay — it simply depends on what you need and want.
Remodeling can also be disruptive. Even if the construction crew works at non-peak hours, the business owner will likely have to adapt business functions until the project is complete.
And remember we mentioned this business was decades old — as the remodeling project starts, the contractor finds that electrical wiring isn’t up to code, there’s asbestos in the ceiling and that the building doesn’t have a sprinkler system, so it doesn’t meet fire safety standards. Just like that, the project is more expensive and lengthy.
Final verdict: remodeling is best for businesses that need a facelift and a more efficient space. It’s best to be confident your building meets code standards, or make sure the contractor builds the cost of redoing electrical and plumbing work into the quote. ECB always considers building codes and safety when quoting a project.
Expanding a current business is a great option, providing the current space is functional, modern and safe. Expanding an older space will not address issues of function in the existing space. Sometimes, an expansion/renovation combination is needed.
An expansion gives a business more space, while minimizing distractions and disruptions to the business. Contractors can work on the new space and keep it relatively separate from the existing area. The expansion is less expensive than completely new construction, but generally costs more than a renovation.
Expansions are a worthwhile consideration for businesses that love their location, but need more space — whether it’s a bigger seating area at a restaurant, more warehouse space or more retail space.
Final verdict: Expansion is great option for businesses who have specific needs for their additional space, for example, warehouse space or a waiting area. If the business has multiple space needs, discuss this with your contractor. You’ll also need to consider building codes and the terms of your lease (unless you own the space) — your landlord may have limitations on what you’re able to do.
The possibilities of new construction are endless — if you have the budget. The most expensive of all your options, new construction is best for businesses that have drastically evolved, whether that’s a much larger staff, more product or higher customer volume.
New construction means complete customization. You can control the size, the style, layout — everything. It gives your business a fresh new look — which is exciting. And everything will be current with building codes, meaning you can enjoy the building stress-free for years to come.
The main drawback of new construction is the cost — it’s expensive compared to other options. It can also take longer and may mean you have to relocate (unless you’re able to demolish your existing location).
Final verdict: New construction is a fresh start. If you’re looking for a new location, a stress-free modern space and a completely new look for your business, it may be your best option. Just remember this option is costly and may be disruptive to your business during the transition.
Elite Custom Builders | Commercial Contractor | Bridgeport, WV | Surrounding Areas
At Elite Custom Builders, we can help you discuss your options for growing your business. We’ve helped many business owners through similar transitions and understand that the process is exciting and overwhelming.
Hiring an expert contractor with years of experience will help ease your mind. You’ll be able to focus on running your business, knowing the construction work will be completed by trained professionals.
If you’re ready to talk about your project, simply give us a call.