Starting up any kind of business is a daunting task. When it comes to restaurants, the big boys have a full startup team on their side- from general contractors, project coordinators, accounting personnel, electric consultants, subcontractors to consultants and representatives, vice presidents of this and vice vice presidents of that. So, it’s not surprising when you’re trying to do a DIY startup project that there are going to be hiccups. After all when you have a super star team like the big boys you are paying for their experience, they’re “been there done that” school of hard knocks experience with code, placement and tech needs and their professional relationships with inspectors.
At the Frog, we understand folks do a lot of things to save money. Saving money on the right stuff is good in our book. The imperative point here is “right” stuff. If you save money but it costs you more in the long run it’s not a savings.
A few years back we saw a number of general contractors move from residential to commercial building. The transition wasn’t so smooth for their clients that they learned on. One story I heard just the other day cost the client several thousand dollars and at least a few weeks in build out.
Here is a tidbit of wisdom one of our clients who builds at minimum one concept a year told me, “well you expect about 50% of the stuff to go wrong.”
(brief writing interlude as aforementioned client stops into the Frog for another fryer and shares more advice)
In our conversation he said, “I don’t recommend you manage your own construction unless you have a construction background. You can bleed yourself dry.”
Their last well-thought out concept (they’ve completed over 20 projects) was budgeted under $360k with approximately 10% budgeted for incidentals, oops, mistakes and problems. All in the project ballooned to right around $900k! He attributes delays with construction and city cost the majority of the overage. One word of advice looking back, he wished he had gotten the building inspected prior to signing the lease. Once construction began they opened up drywall and found mold and other extensive issues on what they thought to be rather turnkey.
One of their strong points was lease negotiation. You can imagine this seasoned team has put together many a lease to include free rent, build out credit and graduated payments. Problem in this case was the delays of construction and city that pushed the project beyond free rent period. This cost hard cash where weeks of free rent came and went.
When we built our new facility at the Frog we encountered build out delays… let’s just say it was ugly when we gutted our main showroom. Having someone come in at the right time and project manage and smooth things with inspectors sure helped us. Again, sometimes you don’t save money at the wrong places.
DIY… sure… but there’s a cost for everything. If you’re going to do your own build out know that the cost may be in time and ease.