Retail General Contractor Duties and Responsibilities

Despite all of the online ordering, there are still many brick-and-mortar retail stores around.  From repair shops or just somewhere that the customer can come in and look and feel the products, retail is still a viable enterprise.

Periodically this space needs to be renovated or updated to remain competitive or to expand.  That is where a retail general contractor comes in.  This person or company will not only refresh the interior or exterior but will help you organize walls, shelving, or display areas to maximize the product or service the retailer is offering to the public.  These are very different skills from a contractor who builds residences.

A retail general contractor will work with the owner, project managers, or other personnel who combine the correct electrical, plumbing and dividers to make your operation functional and attractive.  In addition to the engineering and structural skills necessary, this company must have knowledge specific to retail enterprises.  That includes understanding and complying with local and national standards for the mechanical issues, capacity of patrons, regulations dealing with the disabled, safety, and more.

Access to the right colors and grades of paint that are most appropriate to your industry or service, signage, and materials are only the beginning.  Working from a set of blueprints, they turn your business into a functional and attractive space.

As you begin to narrow your list of available contractors, consider some of these issues:

  • Experience in your sector of retail.  A hardware store is very different from a gym or a restaurant.  If you are a franchise or working with a national company, their ability to incorporate those requirements as well.
  • Ask about the remodel or building process.  Find out what can go wrong and how the contractor can deal with change.  Find out how they track the progress and what reports you should expect and the timing of those reports.
  • How well do they meet deadlines?  A good contractor is able to deal with the proper permits, inspections, material deliveries, and subcontractors.  Without careful management, the string of dominos could collapse leaving you without a store ready on the opening day you advertised.
  • Integration with other disciplines can be critical.  You need to consider if they will be working with your interior designer or if they will provide all of the accessories to make your place customer ready.  This can mean stocking shelves, phone service, check-out stations, or other issues.

Be sure to check on all compliance issues like insurance, bonding, etc.  Covid has taught us that safety is a primary concern and practices and regulations can change.  Your contractor should be able to adapt and you should inquire about these factors.

Your retail store construction company should be a partner with you in the successful completion of your retail space on time and on budget.  This will include good communication skills and a compatible personality.