Problems with contractors and shopfitters can cause delays and turn your dream salon project into a nightmare. Therefore sourcing the right contractors, investigating their work and agreeing terms is crucial.
Firstly, there are rules and regulations governing working on a High Street retail unit, so itís a good idea to use someone who has shopfitting experience rather than a general builder. Also, if possible, a company that has salon fitting experience. Recommendations are a good way to find a reputable local shopfitter. Seek out well-fitted local shops and bars and enquire who carried out the work. If they were happy, they will usually be more than happy to tell you. Donít just take one personís word however, any shopfitter you do contact, ask for a list of projects (at least 2 or 3) that they have recently completed and go and check them out. If they wonít tell you or have excuses, there must be a reason. Also do they have their own team to carry out the work or will they use sub-contractors? Finally itís worth checking out their business credentials; how long theyíve been trading, are they members of any building trade bodies etc.
Once you have found someone make sure you go over every detail of the project and get them to provide you with a detailed quotation and timescale. Itís also important to know what you are responsible for Ė planning permissions, sourcing salon furniture etc. Agree written payment terms that require completion of key elements or areas before you pay, and ensure theyíre responsible for paying all suppliers or sub-contractors directly. Plus always make sure there is a snagging clause so you can hold back payment until you are satisfied.
Following these rules should help you avoid problems, but there are no guarantees. If things do go wrong, you may well need to go to the small claims court and involve a solicitor, and this is where having things in writing will be crucial.
The Trust-Mark scheme http://www.trustmark.org.uk/
The Federation of Master Builders http://www.fmb.org.uk/
Find a builder http://www.findabuilder.co.uk/
Small Claims assistance http://www.compactlaw.co.uk/