At Denver Commercial Construction, we’ve helped numerous clients understand how to add up retail tenant improvement costs. This is an important place to start before kicking off the construction needed to transform your retail space. Because we’ve seen simple renovations run into a number of unforeseen issues and expenses, we know that being prepared will help you avoid straining the budget, cutting key elements from the build, and struggling with cash flow problems.

Add It Up, Developing an Estimate

Your first step is outlining the improvements you wish to make and the associated costs to complete the work. Some items you’ll want to roll into the estimate include design costs, construction costs, materials and required permits. If the landlord provided a Tenant Improvement Allowance (TIA), you can then see how much is covered and what overages you’ll have to pay out of pocket.

Don’t forget to add a contingency fund of at least 5-10% of your estimated costs. This will cover you in case any unexpected costs come up. If adding this figure causes your estimate to exceed your budget, we recommend cutting elsewhere and keeping your contingency in place. Even if you don’t run into any issues, it can be used to upgrade your design at some point or simply bring the project in under budget.

Construction Cost Guidelines

For a standard retail build – including the design, construction and permitting costs – there are some general figures out there to give you a ballpark range of what to budget for your project. Final prices will differ based on circumstances, including:

  • Carpet and Paint – Existing unoccupied space versus existing occupied space
  • Remodeling – Minor (50% of the space or less) versus major, as well as unoccupied or existing space
  • New Construction – Warm shell (no need for lobbies, restrooms, etc.) versus cold shell needing these items built

Of course, most costs you’ll find while researching are for standard grade materials and improvements. If you want to use higher end finishes and materials, just prepared for increased costs.

Furniture Fixtures & Equipment

Another consideration when determining how to add up retail tenant improvement costs is what’s known as Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment (FF&E). If your landlord has provided a TIA, items that fall under the FF&E category are typically not covered, so be sure to make room in your budget for items such as desks, chairs, tables, bookcases, product displays and cubicle-style furnishings. Don’t forget computers and electronic equipment, as well as the installation of cabling. If you’re moving from one location to another, moving costs will run you about $1.00 per square foot. Just be sure to get more than one bid from companies experienced in moving businesses.

DCC is Here to Lend You a Hand

At Denver Commercial Construction, we know retail store construction inside and out, as well as how to add up retail tenant improvement costs. If you’re new to the process, it can be a lot to manage, which is why we offer expert guidance from start to finish. We can assist you with estimates, project planning, crew scheduling, site development, budget and design management, as well as permits. Simply contact our team today and let us know how we can help you with a successful retail launch.