Everything you need to know about finding a Shopfitter

Shopfitters design, build, install and refurbish fittings and storage units. They can also build doorways, entrances, cabinets and shop fronts, as well as renovating commercial buildings such as shops, restaurants and offices. Read on for more information about shopfitters:

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What Shopfitters Do

Shopfitters work closely with other tradespeople including electricians, machinists, plumbers, tilers, cleaners and window installers to perform the following tasks:

  • Installing fittings: This involves installing mobile and permanent fittings in retail outlets. The shopfitter will consult other professionals such as interior designers to help plan, design and install the fittings. The shopfitter will typically see the installation project through from inception to completion. See shopfitters - installation for more information.

  • Office fit outs: As well as working in the retail sector, shopfitters service the commercial sector. This work includes office fit outs when a new office is built or a new leaseholder takes over occupation (see shopfitters - office fit outs). Depending on the project, shopfitters will also supply furniture such as desks and workstations.

  • Project management: Shopfitting requires consultation with many different tradespeople to ensure the project runs smoothly (see shopfitters - project management). Although shopfitters are often skilled in carpentry and joinery, they will need to project manage retailers, architects, electricians and others professionals throughout the project.

  • Custom design: In today's competitive commercial markets, businesses need a space that stands out from the crowd. Shopfitters will create a whole new commercial interior to suit your business and space. Specialist shopfitting companies can provide a custom design service including drawing up plans, choosing colours and materials and installing the new fit out. For more information about this service see shopfitters - custom design.  

  • Raised floors: Shopfitters install raised floors to ensure there is enough room in the building for computer cables, wires and air conditioning ducting. The raised floor is usually constructed using a metal or timber framework, on top of which tiling or flooring is laid. For more information see shopfitters - raised floor installation.

  • Shop fronts: Another crucial element of shopfitting is planning and installing shop fronts. Since the shop front is central to a business' branding and appearance, shopfitters will usually liaise with a design consultant to ensure all visual aspects are considered in the shop front design (see shopfitters - shop fronts).

  • Shop doors: Central to the role of a shopfitter is the design and installation of shop doors. The shopfitter will take into account the security needs of the building, as well as visibility issues, to design an appropriate door. Glass is the most common material used in shop doors, though aluminium and timber are also popular options. For more information about shop door design and installation see shopfitters - shop doors.

  • Shelving and displays: In most shop fit outs, shopfitters design and install shelving and display racking. This is a very important task, as it involves matching the units to the business' branding and ensuring promotional materials are displayed in a prominent position. Wall systems, counters, showcases, cable and pole systems are all examples of shelving and displays that can be installed (see shopfitters - shelving & display racks).  

Role of Shopfitters

Shopfitters perform the following tasks in the course of their work:  

  • Estimate the amount and cost of materials required
  • Prepare quotes and tenders
  • Create design plans 
  • Assemble and install counters, shop fronts, workstations and other internal fittings
  • Prepare and follow plans and specifications
  • Select, order, and prepare materials for construction
  • Use hand tools and power tools to cut, make, and shape pieces
  • Assemble and secure components together to form segments of furniture and fixtures
  • Make templates or prototypes of projects
  • Assemble fittings and fixtures both on site and off site  

Areas Where Shopfitters May Be Employed

A shopfitter may be self-employed or employed in the following areas:

  • Construction companies
  • Specialist shop fitting firms
  • Manufacturing companies 

How Much Does Shopfitting Cost?

Expect shopfitters to base their labour rate from $50 per hour and to be quoted a flat fee for your project. More complex jobs will obviously involve more of a contractors time - and therefore cost more. The type of materials and fittings you use will also dramatically affect the overall cost - with off the shelf items for the more budget conscious, and custom items likely to cost a lot more.

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