Bring up the subject of remodeling to friends or coworkers and prepare yourself for a string of woeful tales of budget overruns, incompetent contractors, and endless business disruptions. According to the National Retail Federation, retailers update or remodel their stores every five to seven years. Granted, remodeling involves time, energy, and money, but it also represents your business’s desire to grow, compete, and provide your customers and staff with a fresh environment that reflects and fosters success.
While you can’t escape the costs and disruptions remodeling entails, you can minimize the pain by following these simple guidelines.
STEP 1: MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE
This carpenter’s mantra will serve you well. Start your remodel by not changing a thing. Take a slow, thoughtful walk around your property. Ignore the obvious offenders like peeling paint and outdated doorknobs — those are easy fixes later. Map out first in your mind, and then on paper, how you want your space to flow and function. Chances are you may not need a total gut remodel to accomplish your goals.
Smart tip: Using existing electrical panels, plumbing infrastructure, and structural elements like load-bearing beams can help you save money from the get-go.
STEP 2: BUILD IT TOGETHER
If you’re aiming for a highly productive environment, ask your team members for ideas on traffic flow, lighting, storage, and display needs — even computer and electrical outlet placement. Do some role-playing, using cardboard boxes and painter’s tape to represent where major furnishings would go, and how staff and visitors would move in and around your space. You might be surprised how smart and practical your employees’ suggestions may be.
Smart tip: Involving employees early on in the decision process can help quell complaints later on.
STEP 3: IT COSTS, BUT IT PAYS
It goes without saying that hiring a licensed, bonded, and insured architect and contractor will help you navigate the permits and pitfalls inherent to any remodel. Build accountability into your project by setting and adhering to agreed-upon deadlines, estimates, and payment protocols. Establishing a clear schedule at the outset of each engagement with measurable milestones is essential.
Smart tip: Make sure your construction schedule is accompanied by requirements for regular progress reports and remedies if a milestone is not achieved.
STEP 4: GIVE BUILDING GREEN THE GREEN LIGHT
Build sustainability into your plans from the ground up. Well-designed green buildings have less impact on the environment and can yield significant utility savings in the long run. Energy-efficient HVAC systems, windows, window tinting, and lighting options have become more widely available and are considerably less expensive than they used to be. Combine that with low-VOC (volatile organic compound) materials like paint and flooring, and you can create a planet-friendly, people-forward workplace that has lasting appeal.
Smart tip: Keep your construction debris from landing in a landfill. Ask your contractor to call Waste Management about getting a dumpster specifically for construction materials.
STEP 5: WASTE LESS BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER CONSTRUCTION
Nobody likes wasting money, but few people consider their actual waste service as a way to save. Before you build, request a waste audit. Reputable companies like Waste Management specialize in right-sizing containers and service schedules for businesses of all sizes. For major renovations, you’ll want a temporary roll-off container to handle construction debris and more. Renting your container direct from Waste Management could save you the service markup from your contractor.
Smart Tip: If your remodel (and your budget) is relatively small, Waste Management’s Bagster® Dumpster in a Bag® holds 3,300 pounds of materials and is a viable, flexible alternative to renting a roll-off container.