Fit Out Finance in Australia: Recommended Options

Covered in this guide:

✔️Cafe Fit Out Finance  

✔️Office Fit Out Finance

✔️Restaurant Fit Out Finance

✔️ Shop Fit Out Finance

Understanding your fit out costs is a difficult enough task in its own right. First, it’s important to get a clear picture of your fit out plans so you can budget as best you can for the exact fit out costs that are to be incurred as part of the project. Perhaps you even plan on using restaurant fit out companies to help with the budgeting and planning process.

One thing that’s for sure though is that once you’ve designed your vision you don’t want to be jumping through hoops to attain the finance to bring it to life. In this guide to fit out finance Australia we look into how much a fit out costs and how to achieve the fit out finance to fund one quickly.

Our Top Choice for Fit Out Finance – Shift

Shift is one of the fastest growing online lenders in Australia and boasts a lending solution specifically for Fit Out Finance.  Up to $1,000,000 can be borrowed for a period of up to 5 years and if you’re searching for fit out finance below $250k you won’t even have to provide financials, only bank statements.

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With Shift (previously GetCapital) Funding is available in 24 hours and there are no soft cost caps, so you can split your fit out finance exactly as you deem fit for your business and without the worries that come with providing your equipment as collateral.

Guide: What Fit Out Costs Need To Be Considered?

The costs you will have to consider will vary hugely depending on the space you’re looking to fit out. Basic expenses to consider include; painting walls, installing flooring, lighting, shelving and storage. Fit out costs will be roughtly $500 to $2,000 per square metre, depending on the detail and complexity of the work. These are the same rough averages for offices, coffee shops, and retail stores.

On average, Australian SMEs employ 1-20 emlpoyees and offices are 8-12sq per employee, hence the cost of an office fit-out would be $10,000 to $40,000 for a very small business with a tiny 20m office, but as much as $50,000-$200,000 for a 100sqm office (most smaller law firms would have an office around this size).

Shops would run starting from 10sq ($5,000 to $20,000) but a large store with a complex fit out job can cost hundreds of thousands. Retail stores could have thousands of square metre and a retail fit-out can cost in the millions.

When we drill down into the actual requirements to help us assess the fit-out pricing, there are more factors to consider as per the below.

Office Fit Out Finance

Office fit out costs can be some of the most difficult to budget for. Size of the reception area, the number of normal desks, the number of hot desks, kitchen facilities, meeting rooms and breakout areas will all impact the amount of office fit out finance you require. There are some simple fit out cost calculators you can find online for generating estimated costs for an Australian office fit out.

Shop Fit Out Finance

Air conditioning, display cabinets, clothes racks, changing rooms, sales counters and point of sale technology are just a few of the fit out costs to consider. 

Restaurant Fit Out Finance

Restaurants are possibly the most difficult and expensive to fit out. Kitchen layout will need to be carefully considered so it ensures a smooth operation with the front of house team. The various kitchen appliances, sales counters and dining tables will all need to be considered as well as the appropriate health and safety standards being met by your restaurant.

Cafe Fit Out Finance

Whilst it may not be as complex, the chances are a cafe fit out will have some kitchen planning requirements. A point of sale system will be essential, as will the right coffee machine. Dining tables and co-working areas may be other considerations.

Calculating The Fit Out Cost – What Influences How Much Fit Out Finance You Need

Whether you’re seeking shop fit out finance, office fit out finance, cafe fit out finance or restaurant fit out finance, there are always core decisions that will impact your end budget regardless of the project:

  • Who completes the work. Obviously doing it yourself would prove the financially cheapest option but you will want to ensure the work is complete to a high standard and may even use a professional fit out firm for your shop, cafe or restaurant.
  • The size of land. A 100-square-metre space will cost more to outfit than a shop or office half the size.
  • The scope of the job. If you have complex architectural plans or intend to convert buildings this will increase your fit out costs.
  • The quality of finish. If you’re decorating your cafe or restaurant with fine artwork and only the best raw materials then naturally this will have an impact on your budget.

Research from The Urban Developer found the average shop fit out can cost up to $2,000 per square metre. One potential option to reduce fit-out costs is by using recycled materials – not only helping to reduce the 150,000 tonnes of store equipment which is sent to landfill annually in Australia but providing a unique business proposition for your cafe or shop.

Other Top Rated Providers for Fit Out Finance

Prospa

Whilst Prospa doesn’t specifically name a product after fit out finance, the no.1 rated online lender in Australia does offer Small Business Loans which provide SMEs with a cash lump sum that can certainly be used on a renovation or fit out (or for capital finance, or equipment, it’s up to you). Between $5,000 and $500,000 is available with funding possible in 24 hours.

OnDeck

OnDeck, who also operate in the US and Canada, provide business loans that are suitable for a refit, renovation or expansion of your premises. Funding again in one business day, up to $250k.

How To Save Costs In the Fit Out Process

There are always ways to save on cost, the key will be not to cut any corners in the process. A few ideas can be:

  • DIY – if possible! If you’re taking over an existing shop or cafe, a lot of the foundations may already be in place, requiring only soft touch updates to bring it in line with your brand.
  • Minimise major structural changes and don’t go overboard if possible. Moving bathrooms and kitchens might help the overall layout but is it absolutely necessary? Whilst you’ll want it to look stylish are there simple updates you can make now and the more grand projects can follow after the initial fit out and the business is making good money?
  • Get multiple quotes. Ensure your first quote hasn’t tried to rip you off and just start to get a feel for your local market. A restaurant fit out in Melbourne may cost a different to a cafe fit out in Sydney for example. Some companies should prove better value than others.
  • Plan ahead and build a project roadmap to avoid unforeseen costs. If one item arrives late could it have a knock on delay and cost impact on the rest of the project?
  • Stick to the plan as changing it will only lead to further costs, likely higher than if you had done it in the first place.
  • Don’t go overboard. One quick search for point of sale systems and you’ll soon be retargeted for weeks with more complex and expensive POS systems! Get what is appropriate for your business and don’t rush into a spending spree.

Increase Your Likelihood of Achieving Fit Out Loans

As well as Shift there are a growing number of online lenders in Australia happy to provide fit out financing. The following list is certainly not a set of must have requirements, but will rather aid in your chances to receive fit out finance:

  • Business (and possibly personal) bank statements. Most online lenders provide integration capabilities so you can automatically transfer your bank statements, keeping application time to a minimum.
  • A deposit or security to be used as an asset. In most cases (below $100k) nothing is required. Some lenders however prefer a 50% deposit for a fit out loan. But if you’re happy to provide security for the loan, you may be able to borrow up to 100% of your expenses.
  • Business Plan. If you’re launching a new venture then certainly more traditional lenders would like to see sales forecasts and a business plan.

Applying for Fit Out Finance in 2022 – Conclusions

Embarking on your first fit out or completing a renovation can be one of the biggest decisions your business has to make, and so is fitout finance.

As the face of any retail business or one that accepts and meets clients on a regular basis, the speed, quality and longevity of the fit-out work can have a huge impact on the bottom line. When you take into consideration that fit out costs starting at $5,000 to $20,000 for the tiniest of offices and upwards to millions of dollars for very large stores, you realise this decision can ultimately make or break your business. 

Thankfully, after a rough period during the pandemic, the range of fit out finance options in Australia as well as consumer appetite to shop locally is on the incline. Australia is experiencing an avalanche of small business loan specialists who recognise the needs of Australian small businesses and are able to act to an application in a fast and efficient manner. As ever, just keep in mind, never borrow more than your business can afford to repay and gain a full understanding of repayment costs before agreeing to the loan.