3 Questions to Ask Your Construction Partner Before Your Online Store Goes Brick and Mortar - Sachse Construction
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3 Questions to Ask Your Construction Partner Before Your Online Store Goes Brick and Mortar

Transitioning an online marketplace to a brick and mortar retail space can be overwhelming, but finding the right construction partner doesn’t need to be.

When considering your options, use these three questions as a guide to evaluating the best construction partner for your store buildout.

1. Where have you been successful and why?

Ideally, your partner will be experienced and licensed across multiple states as rules and regulations vary state-to-state. Choosing an experienced partner well-versed in the nuances of each marketplace can minimize unexpected delays in project schedule and offer a multitude of other benefits to your project.

Like many brands, online retailers often envisage future rollout strategies upon transitioning from clicks to bricks. When brands decide to expand across the country, it’s crucial to find a nimble and experienced construction partner they can rely on to build out their spaces quickly, efficiently, and with a high level of quality that accurately reflects the brand. Fostering an early relationship with a national contractor provides the advantages of a national footprint, including brand compliance consistency, strategies for multi-location rollout logistics, consistent project teams, and ability to ensure on-time deliveries. With this established relationship in place, your national contractor can ensure an accurate representation of your brand across locations due to their heightened familiarity.

Even though a construction partner may be licensed nationally, it’s important to know where they have been geographically successful. Asking the right questions could help determine whether your construction partner has the resources and experience necessary to effectively deliver your project in a particular market.

Amidst your search, don’t overlook the structure of the firm as certain internal departments can indicate previous market success and add value by sourcing qualified trades for your project.

In a heavily saturated market where skilled trades can be scarce, a firm with an in-house call center can assemble trusted trade partners to bid a project. Conversely, the call center may draw upon previous experiences to ask the right questions and get them pre-qualified. With expansive knowledge for leveraging labor, a national contractor provides a well-established national trade database and resource network to ensure the most qualified trade partners are on your project.

2. What are the project team’s qualifications?

The keys to success on any retail project are both thoughtful planning and fluid schedules. When evaluating a construction partner, it’s important to note the qualifications of the project team, including the project manager, superintendent, and estimator. Listen carefully to the questions they ask to ensure they are digging deep to anticipate potential problems and deliver solutions accordingly. Verifying transparency in communication in the early stages of your project can save both time and money (and headaches) in the long run.

Look to see that your partner is minding the details, such as long-lead time materials. For example, you may be aiming for a 12-week schedule while your light fixtures have a 14-week lead time. A trusted partner will bring these concerns to your attention at the forefront and suggest cost-saving solutions, such as pushing the construction start date back by two weeks to avoid paying for the superintendent during that time. From a broader lens, ask yourself if they’re valuing the partnership or simply winning a job.

While evaluating the qualifications of your project team, you should also make note of the superintendent’s relationship with the construction company itself. Full-time superintendents bring peace of mind as it shows their loyalty to their company and ensures security for the entire duration of your project, verses a superintendent that is hired on a project or consultant basis.

3. Are you able to provide a preliminary budget?

Overlooking budget details in the early stages of your project is a surefire way to derail your project. Ask your construction partner to prepare a preliminary budget that outlines the unique details of your store buildout. A national contractor will be able to pull a bevy of market comparables from around the nation and offer value management solutions from both a materials and labor standpoint. Depending on the client and market, a non-signatory firm can use either union or non-union trades allowing for a more competitive bid.

When completing the preliminary budget, a construction partner will review drawings and identify potential design pain points prior to construction commencement, thus potentially saving you time and money.

Open communication and transparency in each aspect of the project are signs of a trustworthy long-term construction partner.

Choose Wisely

In addition to these three questions, your architect can be a valuable resource when selecting your construction partner. Most construction firms are well-qualified to build your project, so selecting a general contractor or construction manager comes down to identifying the partner in which you feel most comfortable.

The bottom line comes down to trust and risk: maximizing the former and minimizing the latter. When transitioning to brick and mortar, working with a trusted and respected national construction partner is the best way to achieve your goals. With a strong relationship and undeniable trust in your partner, the project buildout will be a success and you’ll be able to solely focus on your brand expansion.

Contact Ron Henry, senior vice president, at rhenry@sachse.net to learn how Sachse Construction can help you take your brand from clicks to bricks.

About Sachse Construction

Sachse Construction was founded in 1991 as a general contracting and construction management firm. Over the past 28 years, Sachse Construction has built millions of square feet of retail, commercial, multifamily, and institutional space throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Licensed in all 50 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico, the team has completed over 2,000 retail projects and served over 200 brands.

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