5 Items For Your Commercial Tentant Improvement Checklist

by Grace Motley

Commercial tenant improvement renovation projects often involve many small subtasks. It's important to build a checklist of these tasks so you can plan to get everything done. Here are 5 items that you need to think about before the job gets rolling.

Define Your Budget

Make sure your financing is completely lined up before you make the budget. Figure out what the ceiling for the project is going to be, and try to build in 10 to 20 percent as a buffer against cost overruns. Develop a list of "must" and "nice" items. Use the nice list as your starting point for what to subtract when the projected costs start to sound a bit high.

Fixing the Bones of the Location

No project should move forward until it's clear that there's a good base to build on. This means verifying that the floors, ceilings, and walls are all in good shape. You should also confirm that the wiring for electricity, cabling for internet, and piping for plumbing are all modern.

It's not a bad idea to contact your local code enforcement officer to learn what the requirements are for buildings in your area, too. Take care of things like ADA compliance early in the process to avoid bigger costs later.

Customer Flow

Whether you'll have a few clients or thousands of customers coming through the location every day, the time to plan for how they'll move through the space is now. Identify objects that can create problems, such as an island leftover from a previous tenant's business. If you're a retailer, think about where your prime earning areas will be and try to maximize customer flow to those spots. Give some consideration to where fixtures, desks, counters, and other large objects will go, too.


Franchisees, in particular, will need to think hard about maintaining brand standards. Even if you own your brand, it's still a good idea to establish and apply standards with diligence. Right down to the color of each room, everything should be consistent with the branding your company uses in social media, on its websites, on products, and in videos.

Punch List

Yes, this is one more list, but it's the last one. Transfer your checklist to the punch list. When the contractor says work is finished, go through the punch list item by item on site. Confirm what is done to your satisfaction, and inform the contractor to fix what isn't.

Use these tips when you're planning a commercial tenant improvement renovation