Whether you’ve just started your business or you’ve been running a successful venture for a number of years, you may be looking to get a fit-out loan.
With the right refurbishment, you can attract more customers and create an aesthetically pleasing environment for your employees as well.
There are a few lenders that offer refurbishment loans but getting a great deal comes down to choosing the right lender.
How much can I borrow?
- Borrow up to 100% of the fit-out costs with a residential property as security or a guarantor.
- Borrow up to 50% of the fit-out costs with no residential property as security.
- Eligible medical professionals can borrow up to 100% of the fit-out costs for a medical practice.
- Loan term with residential property: Up to 30 years.
- Loan term without property: 5-7 years.
- Negotiated interest rates available.
- Loans over $1 million assessed on a case by case basis.
Do you need a fit-out loan?
Please call us on 1300 889 743 or complete our free assessment form to find out if you qualify.
How does a refurbishment loan work?
The first step in funding your refurbishment costs is an initial progress payment.
This will be based on a percentage of the projected costs.
You need to show evidence of these projected costs with quotes and invoices from the designer, builder and/or fit-out specialist you’ve hired to complete the project.
Typically, you’ll need to cover most of the refurbishment costs upfront with the final figure paid once the work is completed.
A proper inspection will also need to be undertaken by a bank valuer.
Some lenders will lend based on the projected costs alone depending on the cost of the fit-out.
We have lenders on our panel that have funded the refurbishment of a number of different business premises including:
- Shop fronts and retail stores.
- Office spaces.
- Medical centres.
- Function centres.
How do I qualify?
Like any other type of business or commercial loan, you’ll typically need to provide your last 2-3 years personal and business financials showing a strong income position and recurring profit.
This is usually in the form of ATO tax portals and business bank statements.
If you’re starting a new business, you’ll to provide a business plan and cashflow forecasts that you’ve discussed with a qualified accountant.
Along with that, you’ll need to provide evidence of your deposit.
For most businesses, a 50% deposit is required or, alternatively, equity in an existing residential property.
This will be your security for the loan.
Special fit-out finance for medical professionals!
If you’re an eligible medical professional, a couple of our lenders can lend against the goodwill in your practice so you can potentially borrow up to 100% without a deposit.
That means you don’t need to provide a residential property, your own funds or dip into your business cash flow to fund your refurbishment.
Keep more cash flow in your business or use the savings to invest in residential property or commercial real estate.
For loans under $500,000, you can self-declare your income which means you just need to provide an accountant’s letter to prove your income.
For loans over $500,000, medical professionals just need to provide 1 year financials as a minimum.
Which professionals are eligible?
You generally need to meet one of the following professional requirements and be a member of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) or equivalent industry body:
- Doctors, including general practitioners (GPs) and specialists: No requirement for experience.
- Dentists: Must have been practicing for more than 3 years.
- Physiotherapists: Must have been practicing for more than 3 years.
- Veterinarians: Must have been practicing for more than 3 years.
This is only available with a handful of lenders as an exception to normal policy so call us on 1300 889 743 to discover if we can get you approved for your medical practice fit-out loan.
What type of fit-out work can I fund?
Refurbishment loans are typical with shopfitting projects and will usually cover the following:
- Lighting, electrical work and fittings.
- Benches and finishes.
- Tiling and floor coverings.
- Security systems.
- Bolted-down or heavy appliances like dishwashers.
- Kitchen and cabinet installations.
- Bathroom installations.
- IT infrastructure including cabling.
- Internal walls and screens (excluding load-bearing walls).
What isn’t covered?
There’s a fine line between fit-out work and buying equipment, machinery and appliances.
If you work in a cafe, for example, the fit-loan will cover the costs of cabinet and kitchen installations, workbenches and counters.
However, it won’t cover the costs of coffee machines, cash registers and industrial fridges.
This type of equipment will fall under asset and equipment finance.
This means that it requires a separate loan facility so you should speak to your mortgage broker about “spreading your risk” so you’re not overly exposed with one lender.
Having multiple business and even residential loan facilities with the one lender puts you in a high-risk category in the lender’s eyes.
As a result, you may not be able to get approved for finance in the future.
We can compare fit-out loans from a number of different banks and lenders so you can avoid exceeding bank mortgage exposure limits and borrow the amount you need at a competitive interest rate and strong terms.
Give us a call on 1300 889 743 or complete our free assessment form to discuss your business needs with one of our mortgage brokers.
Why get a fit-out loan?
Installing the right fit-out is very important in customer-facing business like retail shops, cafes and restaurants.
Your business premises is the first impression that potential customers will get.
They start forming opinions about your business even before they speak to someone in person.
You’ll want to create the right atmosphere and the aesthetic should reflect your business brand. All of this indirectly affects ongoing sales.
Businesses that operate from offices, warehouses and factories, and offer services rather than products, are also starting to see the power of having a fit-out that reflects their company brand.
Even minor fit-out changes like new fittings, installing more lighting, applying a fresh coat of paint and replacing old furniture with bespoke desks, chairs and lounges can make a world of difference to the look and feel of your business.
It helps to create a place where clients feel good about talking business and employees feel motivated.
I just want to make some improvements to the premises
If you’re just wanting to spruce up your premises with a modern look and new signage, discuss your plans with a qualified shopfitter or office refurbishment specialist.
You should be wary about spending a lot on refurbishment costs particularly if you’re considering selling the business in the near future.
Refurbishment loans for franchises
It’s common to refurbish a franchise business when the lease or franchise term (they usually go hand-in-hand) expires.
This is usually every 5-10 years depending on the franchise system.
It may simply be a matter of replacing old signage or it could be an extensive fit-out project that sees the installation of new kitchens or amenities.
It’s unusual for the franchisor to fund these fit-out costs themselves although some companies may contribute limited capital.
Do your due diligence
Before applying for a fit-out loan or hiring a fitter:
- Check the quality of their work by visiting business premises that they’ve recently completed.
- Ask them about their experience and ask if you can speak to their recent clients. Be wary of fit-out specialists that refuse to provide this information.
- Members of the Australian Shop & Office Fitting Industry Association (ASOFA) are bound by strict codes of conduct.
- Look at the original floor plan of your premises and see where power outlets are located and which spaces in the building need better lighting.
- It’s always better to plan ahead when it comes to electrical and plumbing work in order to accommodate for a larger number of employees. Of course, you should consider your own business and how large you’re intending to grow.
- Take some preliminary measurements so you can work out where your storage, furniture, cabinets, machinery and other equipment will go. This gives the interior designer something to work with if you give them an idea of what you want.
- Get quotes in writing and shop around: you may get a better deal elsewhere.
After the fit-out is complete, walk through the premises and make a list of any poorly-built components and areas where corners have been cut, figuratively and literally.
Once you’re satisfied, it may be worth hiring a commercial cleaning company to do a “once over” of the interior.
Fit-out specialists aren’t exactly tidy so it’s common to be left with sawdust, metal trimming, leftover electrical wires, dirty tiles and carpets after the refurbishment is done.
Discover if you qualify for a fit-out loan
Call us on 1300 889 743 or complete our free assessment form to speak with one of our experienced business mortgage brokers.