The Ultimate Guide: Which Fitout Services Are Right for You

Whether you’re starting a new business or considering a commercial fitout refurbishment, one of the crucial decisions you’ll face is selecting the right shop fitout services for your commercial space. A commercial fitout can transform an ordinary space into a functional and aesthetically pleasing environment that aligns with your business needs and brand identity. In this ultimate guide we will explore the different types of fitouts available, including basic finish shell fitouts and complete fitouts, to help you make an informed decision about which option is right for you.

What is a Commercial Fitout?

A commercial fitout refers to the process of customising any commercial space to suit the specific requirements and preferences of the business owner, aka you. It involves design, defit, planning, and execution of interior construction and finishing elements to create a functional and visually appealing workspace. A well-executed fitout enhances productivity, improves customer experience, reflects your brand personality and leaves a lasting impression on clients and employees.

Custom timber panelling, neutral colour palette and welcoming reception area for this wellness & beauty fit out for Vita Nuova

What Does a Commercial Fitout Include?

A commercial fitout can include a wide range of elements and services, depending on the scope of the project and your specific needs. 

Matts Banks Director Total Fitouts Brisbane Inner South says, “Total Fitouts offer the full range of fitout services to clients, concept to completion, depending on the needs of the client. As shop fitout experts we add value and knowledge at every stage, from design to handover, and all the commercial fitout steps in between. The services clients utilize really depends on their needs at the time. Sometimes clients come to us with a signed contract, and a blank tenancy, which is defited, ready to go, and they have full plans and council approvals in place. In this instance, we are engaged to project manage the fitout project, suppliers, trades etc… The ultimate aim in this instance is to minimize disruptions to the client’s business, mitigate risks and deliver the transformed workspace on time and to budget. We want to make the fitout process as easy and stress-free as possible.

In other instances we are engaged early on in the fitout process to deliver the complete project from design to handover. In these cases we can deliver exceptional fitout value to our client as we take on all tasks from  managing council approvals, to finding the perfect tenancy and design too. Being involved in the complete process we not only saves the client’s time, stress and costs, but quote variations are reduced (as we nut these out on paper from day one). Using us for design actually saves money and the end fit out is delivered exactly as the client wants, in the timeframe they need, after all we are local business  professionals too, and we understand the importance of getting the client’s workspace transformed on time to mitigate impact to the business from delays, variations and costly changes of mind.”

Here are some common components you can expect to find with a commercial fitout

Space Planning and Design

Space planning and design are crucial aspects of a commercial fitout. Expert shop fitters will carefully assess your space and work closely with you to develop a layout that optimises functionality, flow, and space utilisation. They will take into account your specific requirements, workflow, brand, look and feel, and the nature of your business. The goal is to create an efficient and productive workspace that maximises the available area while ensuring a practical and visually appealing environment.

Blue and neutral colour palette, hardwood floors and welcoming reception area for this office fit out for Community Lifestyle Agency

Partitioning and Layout

Partitioning and layout play a vital role in creating functional zones within a commercial workspace. This involves the installation of walls, partitions, and other spatial dividers to create separate areas that serve different purposes. These divisions can include meeting rooms, workstations, private offices, break areas, and more.

Fitout experts will consider your specific requirements and develop a layout that optimises the available space. They will determine the appropriate placement and size of partitions to ensure privacy, noise reduction, and effective space utilisation. The layout will be designed to facilitate smooth traffic flow and promote collaboration while maintaining the necessary division between different areas.

Electrical and Lighting

Electrical and lighting elements are essential components of a commercial fitout. Fitout professionals manage the installation of electrical systems to ensure your workspace is well-lit and equipped with the necessary electrical infrastructure.

This includes wiring, power outlets, lighting fixtures, and data cabling. A professional fitout service provider will work with electricians to ensure that the electrical systems are installed safely and meet all code requirements. They strategically plan the placement of electrical outlets and lighting fixtures to provide adequate lighting and accommodate the needs of different areas within the workspace. Efficient lighting design is crucial for creating a comfortable and productive environment.

Modern neutral colour palette, white bespoke counter panelling and welcoming reception area for this office fit out for Ray White Papamoa

Flooring and Ceiling

Flooring and ceiling finishes contribute significantly to the aesthetics and functionality of a commercial space. Shopfitters assist with the selection and installation of appropriate flooring materials and ceiling finishes.

Fitout professionals help you choose the right flooring option based on factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, acoustics, and design preferences. The choice of flooring can impact the overall look and feel of the space and should align with your brand identity.

Similarly, experts will assist in selecting the appropriate ceiling finish, such as suspended ceilings or exposed beams. Ceilings can enhance the visual appeal of the space while accommodating lighting fixtures, air conditioning vents, and other necessary elements.

Custom colourful wall mural, bespoke wood counter panelling and welcoming dining area for this hospitality fit out for Oakberry Coolum

Furniture and Fixtures

Furniture and fixtures are vital components of a commercial fitout, as they contribute to the functionality and aesthetics of the workspace. Fitout experts work together with industry professionals like  FDB Commercial to source, supply, and install furniture, workstations, seating, storage units, shelving, and other fixtures needed for your workspace. Fitout professionals understand the rules, regulations, ergonomics and more surrounding commercial fitouts. Their expertise adds value and helps you get the best outcome for both you and your people.

Shopfit experts will consider your specific requirements, such as the number of employees, work processes, and desired aesthetics, to assist in selecting suitable furniture and fixtures. They ensure that the furniture and fixtures are ergonomic, comfortable, and aligned with your brand image.

Plumbing and HVAC

Fitouts often involve plumbing works for restrooms and kitchen areas, as well as the installation or modification of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. These elements are crucial for ensuring optimal comfort and functionality within the workspace.

Shopfitting professionals collaborate with plumbing and HVAC professionals to design and implement appropriate systems. This may include installing plumbing fixtures, water supply, drainage systems, and HVAC equipment such as air conditioning units and ventilation systems. Fitout experts ensure compliance with building codes and regulations to create a comfortable and efficient working environment.

Elevated curved ceiling, bespoke stone flooring and counters and welcoming dining area for this hospitality fit out for Soi 38

Decorative Elements

Decorative elements play a significant role in enhancing the aesthetic appeal of a commercial shop fit space, reflect your company’s identity and can deliver memorable customer experience. Fit out expert design and deliver various decorative elements, including painting, wallpapering, signage, branding, and other commercial interior design features.

Engaging in-house designers that work closely with you and understand your branding guidelines, vision, and style can incorporate these important elements into the design. Commercial interior designers will help choose suitable colours, textures, and finishes that align with your brand image. Additionally, they can assist in creating custom signage, wall graphics, and other decorative elements to create a visually appealing and cohesive workspace.

See our blog about why our commercial fitout expertise can save you money by utilising our in-house design services for your next commercial fitout here.

Custom curved doorways, a neutral bright colour palette and welcoming reception area for this wellness & beauty fit out for The Heart of Beauty

So, what are the different fitout services?

There are two main fitout services that our professionals assist with when it comes to commercial fitouts. There are basic finish shell fitouts and complete fitouts, both which can help you differentiate which one you would be after for your commercial shop fitout.

Basic Finish Shell Fitout

A basic finish shell fitout focuses on the essential elements necessary to create a functional workspace. It typically involves providing a clean and well-prepared shell or empty space, which includes basic infrastructure such as electrical wiring, lighting, flooring, and basic partitioning.

Pilates reformers, hardwood floors and welcoming reception area for this fitness fit out for Premium Pilates

The advantages of opting for a basic finish shell fitout are primarily cost-effectiveness and shorter completion times. Since it involves fewer customisation and detailed finishes, the overall expenses are typically lower compared to a complete fitout. Additionally, the reduced complexity of the project allows for a quicker turnaround, enabling you to start using the space sooner.

Marko Jelinic Director at Total Fitouts Canberra North says, “One of the potential drawbacks of a basic finish shell fitout is the lack of personalisation. With minimal customisation, the space may not fully align with your specific brand identity or meet your exact functional requirements.”

He continues, “It may also lack the visual appeal that comes with more detailed finishes and design elements. In such cases, you may need to invest additional resources in furnishing, decorating, and adding personalised touches to create the desired ambience and brand representation.”

Complete Fitout

Comparatively, a complete fitout offers an end-to-end solution, covering all the necessary elements to create a fully functional and visually appealing workspace. It includes not only the essential infrastructure but also detailed customisation and finishes to align the space with your brand image and specific requirements.

Stuart Organ Director at Total Fitouts Perth South comments, “The advantages of a complete fitout lie in the level of customisation and attention to detail. With a complete fitout, you have the opportunity to work closely with professionals to design a workspace that reflects your brand identity, enhances employee productivity, and leaves a positive impression on clients and visitors. The space is fully furnished, equipped with fixtures, lighting, and other amenities, ready for immediate use.”

However, it’s important to note that a complete fitout typically requires a higher budget and a longer time frame for design development, procurement, and execution. 

Stuart continues, “The additional customisation, higher-quality finishes, and specialised installations contribute to the increased costs and extended project duration. It’s essential to carefully consider your budget and time constraints before opting for a complete fitout.”

So, which fitout service is right for you?

Choosing the right fitout service depends on your specific needs, budget, and goals. 

You might want to consider the following factors:


-Brand Image


-Space Requirements

-Existing Infrastructure

Ultimately, the choice between a basic finish shell fitout and a complete fitout depends on your specific needs, budget, and timeline. If you prioritise cost-effectiveness and a quick turnaround, a basic finish shell fitout may be suitable. On the other hand, if brand alignment, customisation, and a polished look are crucial to your business, investing in a complete fitout may be the ideal choice. 

Consulting with expert shopfitters, Total Fitouts, can help you determine the best fitout option that aligns with your goals and requirements.

Selecting the right fitout service for your commercial space is a critical decision that can significantly impact your business operations and brand image. By understanding the differences between commercial fitout services, can help you make an informed choice that aligns with your goals, budget, and space requirements. Consult with Total Fitouts today to discuss your specific needs and explore the best fitout options for you to make your design to fitout dream become a reality. Email [email protected], call 0800 348 888 or enquire here.