When travelling regularly for work, especially for shop fitters, searching for accommodation can be a pain. With projects that can vary from a cosmetic change, to changing the foundations, or converting a retail space into a high-end retailer, companies need to be able to adapt quickly to the project’s requirements. Local shop fitters often commute to projects, but for larger companies that handle projects across the country, they have no choice but to stay overnight. For shop fitters, the accommodation needs to be flexible enough to allow for those changes in requirements, whilst also remaining cost-effective.
In this article we’ll discuss the best type of accommodation for shop fitters, how to save money, and the importance of a good relationship with an accommodation provider.
What’s the best type of accommodation for shop fitters?
How long the project takes will depend on the size of the store, the size of the team, and the nature of the fit-out. CE Shopfitting listed examples of case studies that ranged from five days for a Costa Coffee shop in Tewkesbury, to four weeks to refresh the mezzanine of Homebase in Sutton Coldfield Birmingham, to 12 weeks to fully refurbish Next in Cambridge. The best type of accommodation for shop fitters is something that offers flexibility. When undertaking a project, depending on the deadline, the size of the team is calculated, and how much it will cost to complete the job.
However, just like any industry, unexpected surprises come up, which can make it difficult to accommodate. Whether that’s needing to send extra contractors to complete the job in time, or finishing earlier than expected but having already paid for the accommodation in advance, flexibility in accommodation is crucial to ensure healthy profits. For most types of accommodation, you either pay the entirety up front, or the cost for a set duration that can then be extended on a rolling basis day by day, week by week, or month by month.
Below are the five most common types of accommodation:
Hotels are the first thing that springs to mind when we think of an overnight stay, and for short projects, they can be suitable for shop fitters. As hotels are usually located near or in most town and city centers, there are usually plenty of options. The main advantage of hotels is that unlike some of the other types, there is almost always availability even at short notice. Unlike the other options, hotels usually don’t offer kitchen services, and the costs of eating out and take-away can make this a very expensive solution.
These are one of the most cost-effective solutions for shop fitters, as they are usually cheaper than hotels and serviced accommodation for one or two individuals, but they aren’t as cost effective in larger groups, and they don’t provide the same privacy that serviced accommodation and rental property offer.
Unlike traditional B&Bs, Airbnb offers a far greater range of locations, however you aren’t likely to get the same experience and services you will at a bed and breakfast or a hotel. Airbnb is an incredibly easy platform to use, and they offer both private rooms as well as whole properties, however flexibility is at the discretion of the host.
In general, serviced accommodation is not only the most cost effective for shop fitters, but it also offers the greatest amount of flexibility as serviced accommodation providers like Comfy Workers can arrange for contracts that suit your project, and can do all the leg work for you. Serviced accommodation offers the greatest benefits for larger groups, because rooms often feature different layout options that can reduce price per person per night. Monday to Friday stays can also be made part of the booking (unlike other accommodation types) and services such as housekeeping are often optional and can lower costs.
Although rental properties present the lowest cost per person per night, most rental properties have minimum terms of 6 or 12 months, which wouldn’t be suitable for shop fitters.
How to save money on accommodation
Profitability is important in any business, which is why any tips to save money are useful. There are a few ways that shop fitters can save money when travelling for projects:
- Rolling / pro-forma stays - Serviced accommodation hosts often allow guests to continue stays on a rolling basis, which means you can stay long enough to ensure a discounted rate, but not so long that you’ll book longer than you need.
- Larger properties - With an exception of rental properties - that aren’t the suitable for most shop fitters anyway - serviced accommodation is the only type to offer the option to lower price per person per night because hosts can change the layout of the property per your requirements, and can accommodate more guests than the amount of bedrooms.
- Self-catered - Unless it’s an emergency, shop fitters should avoid hotels, as the lack of meal preparation facilities means your costs will quickly escalate. It’s most cost-effective to prepare all meals yourself.
- Carpool - When your entire team is staying under the same roof, they can travel together to and from the project. This might seem like a trivial factor, but when projects extend into months, this overlooked detail can save hundreds.
The importance of a good relationship with an accommodation provider
Unlike Airbnb which connects guests with individual hosts, serviced accommodation providers like Comfy Workers have networks of thousands of hosts that can be reached quickly. This means you can save hours of time searching through properties, and can hand the task off to experts who specialise in the field, so you’ll never have to worry about finding a place on short notice. Shop fitters often have very little time to sort out logistics after taking on a project, and it is highly advantageous to know that you’ll have one less problem to worry about if you have a good relationship with a serviced accommodation provider.