Remote and hybrid work arrangements may be here to stay, but not all jobs enjoy those luxuries. For some companies, in-person interaction is still the preferred — perhaps even necessary — way of doing business.
If your business is one of them, you may be facing the prospect of building a new office. Maybe you’re expanding into multiple locations. Or perhaps your existing space is outdated, inconvenient, or the wrong size for your current operations.
If you’re investing in new construction, you’re no doubt concerned about costs. Keeping a lid on them doesn’t mean you have to compromise quality if you find smart ways to reduce expenses. Here are four costs you can cut and still build a space designed for success.
1. The Cost of the Proverbial Middleman
Bypassing the middleman can save you thousands and even tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on your project. To be fair to those middlemen, they often earn their keep fair and square. They can help you avoid the time it takes to do the research and purchasing on your own.
That said, buying direct is a cost-saving opportunity that is easier than ever these days thanks to the internet. You can easily access a plethora of reports by independent reviewers and customer reviews published online and on social media. Those make it easy to winnow through your options and buy with confidence.
Don’t just use the direct-buy approach on items such as furniture and appliances to outfit the employee break room. Take advantage of wholesale pricing on major infrastructure like a central air conditioner and heating system. That’s where you can pocket the biggest savings.
Of course, you will want to discuss your wholesale purchases with your architect or contractor before making them. And you should work with direct wholesalers who can answer your questions and guarantee their products. Use what you would have paid to the middleman to buy something else on your wish list instead.
2. The Cost of Redundancies
You know that, in business, you need to avoid redundancies in areas such as human resources and IT systems. But did you know there may be redundancies involved in the construction of a new office? Not only are there, but they can be extremely pricey if you fail to avoid them.
In the design, take into consideration any new realities of your workforce and how your customers do business with you. Square footage may become redundant with a hybrid workforce. More customers buying online rather than in the flesh may make that showroom floor superfluous compared to warehouse space.
You can also save redundancy costs by letting your architectural firm also serve as your construction manager. You’re already paying the former to do most of the work the latter would do. So why pay two parties and set up the project for potential conflicts between them as well?
You will be investing a lot of money in the design of your space as well as the construction. Design for flexibility, which may not look at all like the office you would have designed three years ago. Then let those who put your plan on paper help you bring it to fruition.
3. The Cost of Change Orders
Changes are inherent in any construction project. No matter how well planned a project is, the execution will call for some revisions. Unfortunately, virtually every single one of them will come at a price, so keep change orders to a bare minimum.
Changes in materials, timeline deviations, and additions to the scope of work all require change orders. And on every change order you agree to, your costs will rise. You can’t control the weather affecting the timeline, but there are ways to keep change orders from getting out of hand.
First, make sure the cost of any change is truly worth it before you demand that it be done. Second, maintain a steady communication stream between you, your architect, and your contractors to head off potential revisions. Third, brainstorm creative money-saving solutions to problems rather than just pony up for the easiest change.
That said, you’re the client, and you’re entitled to change your mind during the course of your construction project. And if you detect an aspect of the plan that will hinder optimal operation of your future space, you should make alterations. However, try to do everything you can to keep those changes and their accompanying costs low. It’s just one more smart business decision for you to make.
4. Replacement Costs
You may be wondering why you need to think about replacement costs before your new office project is even underway. Just remember that forewarned is forearmed, so use this principle to your advantage. You aren’t going to want to purchase everything all over again too soon.
Since you’re building a commercial space, you need to invest in commercial-grade products, including flooring, furniture, and equipment. Sure, the price on that couch designed for homes is markedly lower than the one manufactured for commercial use. But this is the you-get-what-you-pay-for theory in action.
Finishings and equipment designed for commercial use will last far longer than those not intended to stand the strain. Start by buying with quality and durability in mind. Then have a plan for maintaining furnishings properly so they last even longer.
You can find online wholesalers of commercial finishes, furnishings, and equipment to save some money on the front end. With appropriate maintenance, you won’t need to find money to begin replacing items that wear out right away. That will allow you to put replacement costs off for much longer.
Don’t Cut Corners on Cost-Cutting
Building a new office is an exciting undertaking for you, your employees, and your clients and customers. But it’s also a major investment that will impact the company’s bottom line for a while. Take your time, conduct your research, and do the job right.
If you know how to run a successful business, you know how to manage a successful project. This one may be outside the margins of your corporate mission, but the same principles apply. Build the dream and buy quality. Just don’t pay more than necessary to do either.