Should You Hire a Retail Construction Manager?

Learn why hiring a retail construction manager is critical to your retail construction success

To put it bluntly – yes, you should hire a retail construction manager.

Remember, retail is thriving. People want to go to stores. The competition across your industry is tight – your retail store needs to stand out and give customers something that your competitors can’t or won’t offer.

Hiring a retail construction manager who understands the current retail market and how customer demands are reshaping what a store can be, gives you a competitive advantage.

Equally important is hiring a retail construction manager who is backed by a network of experienced retail professionals with expertise in all aspects of retail store management including retail construction services, design, management, maintenance, warehousing and logistics, and customer retail trends.

Yes, you should hire a retail construction manager. Keep reading to learn:

  • The challenges facing the retail construction market
  • What a retail construction manager does for you
  • How to interview and hire a retail construction manager
  • Your keys to retail construction success

3 Challenges Facing the Retail Construction Market

The last few years have been difficult for everyone involved in retail and retail construction. As these 2022 retail statistics confirm, the 2022 retail outlook is very positive:

  • 5% year-over-year growth – worldwide retail sales are projected to exceed $27.33 trillion in 2022.
  • Consumers are returning to stores more quickly than anticipated.
  • 2019 sales figures were dwarfed by an 8.2% increase in sales in 2021, totaling $21.09 trillion.
  • 35% of shoppers prefer shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, ranking an enjoyable shopping experience as key to their in-store shopping.

However, the retail construction market is still facing these three core challenges:

  1. Labor shortages

There are not enough skilled workers and people are retiring from the construction industry – leaving many positions unfilled. Consider these quotes from Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist Anirban Basu:

An added concern is the decline in the number of construction workers ages 25-54, which fell 8% over the past decade. Meanwhile, the share of older workers exiting the workforce soared. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the industry’s average age of retirement is 61, and more than 1 in 5 construction workers are currently older than 55.

The roughly 650,000 workers needed must quickly acquire specialized skills. With many industries outside of construction also competing for increasingly scarce labor, the industry must take drastic steps to ensure future workforce demands are met.”

According to the Associated Builders and Contractors, in 2023, the industry will need to hire close to 590,000 new workers in addition to normal hiring to meet industry demand, and this estimated is based on a 2023 construction slowdown.

  • Supply chain issues and material costs

The supply chain issues during the pandemic have eased somewhat, however there are still lingering challenges with sourcing materials and having enough inventory available.

Consider these stats from a recent Deloitte analysis of the 2022 engineering and construction outlook:

75% of engineering and construction firms indicated project delays due to longer lead times or shortage of materials.

Further, 57% reported delivery delays, indicating that the industry has difficulty predicting when materials would arrive.

The second impact is sharply increased costs; during the first seven months of 2021, the prices of critical construction materials observed double-digit increases every month.

Overall, supply chain disruptions and volatility are expected to be among the biggest challenges in 2022, and the firms that can navigate through them will likely emerge as winners.”

  • Workplace safety

Safety on the construction job site is always a concern. No one wants to see an employee injured.

Days lost to employee injury can make large dents in the construction project management schedule and ability to stay on budget. Couple this with the lingering challenges of hiring young and skilled workers – and workplace safety is a huge challenge in the construction industry.

While the retail outlook is very positive, these core retail construction market challenges why you need to hire a retail construction manager to deal with these challenges for you.

The stakes are too high to take a chance with the construction of you retail store. Your brand awareness, corporate goals, customer loyalty, and ability to stay relevant in a shifting retail environment depend on hiring and working with a construction manager who knows retail construction inside and out.

What Does a Retail Construction Manager Do?

A retail construction manager has a broad spectrum of responsibilities – all focused on ensuring the success of your retail construction project:

  • Acts as your representative when working with suppliers, employees, and contractors – ensuring your retail project is a priority.
  • With expertise in planning, scheduling, and budgeting, a retail construction manager is key to keeping your construction costs balanced and your project moving forward.
  • Is your primary construction project point-of-contact – all communication, project updates, and issues are handled by your retail construction manager.
  • Hires and manages all sub-contractors, service providers, and other third parties.
  • Oversees quality control for all aspects of your project from adhering to the design through to ensuring all fit-outs, millwork, and final touches meet your standards and expectations.
  • Communicates with you on regular basis, updating you on the status of your retail store – ideally using a cloud-based reporting system so you can access your project details whenever you want and however you want.
  • Provides construction project management expertise – ensuring the right materials are ordered and available, troubleshoots any job site issues, manages all permits and inspections, handles change order requests, and more.

An experienced retail construction manager does more than keep your project on schedule and budget – they ensure your retail brand and store vision are maintained – giving you a retail store that aligns with your corporate goals, customer demands, and brand.

How to Hire and Interview a Retail Construction Manager

Based on our 25+ years of experience in retail construction services, we recommend you ask these questions when interviewing retail construction manager candidates:

  1. How long have you been working as a retail construction manager? Be sure to consider when the candidate started working in retail construction management and how the industry has changed during this time.

Does this person have experience dealing with supply chain issues, labor shortages, and workplace safety concerns and standard?

  • What types of retail projects have you worked on? Your retail construction project is unique – so you need to hire a person who can think beyond the standard retail store design. Make sure you hire a person who has vision and can appreciate the changing nature of the retail market.

Does this person have experience with store-in-store design, pop-ups, managing a global rebrand and store design, or in the construction of new retail stores for DTC brands moving into the brick-and-mortar space?

  • How do you schedule and manage a retail construction project? You need to make sure you’re working with a person who is solely focused on your construction project. Ensure this person is not juggling multiple projects at once. Additionally, this is a good opportunity to ask about their industry contacts and network including architects, designers, project managers, engineers, and local contractors.

Does this person have recent retail construction management experience and understand how to manage the competing demands of schedule, budget, quality, and brand vision?

  • What do you know about retail store design? While your retail construction manager does not need to be a design expert, they should understand retail store design and the new post-pandemic expectations from customers. This speaks to their ability to prioritize things such as using environmentally friendly building materials, planning for in-store technology installations, modular design, and more.

Does this person understand your brand vision and the new era of retail store design?

  • How will you communicate with me and the larger team of designers, suppliers, and contractors? Clear and consistent communication is integral to the success of your retail construction project. You don’t need to know every single detail (this is why you’re hiring a retail construction manager), but you do need to be kept up to date at all times about project progress and any challenges or potential interruptions.

Does this person have experience using project management software and apps, such as cloud-based reporting systems and tools?

  • What will you do if there is a significant interruption or delay in the construction schedule? It’s always important to have disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place. As you know, supply chain issues, rising material costs, and labor shortages combined with the demand for skilled construction workers has the potential to delay or even stop construction projects.

Does this person have a plan in place to deal with the real-world challenges facing the construction industry and is there a plan should there be a natural disaster, global pandemic, or other event that causes an unexpected stoppage or delay?

  • Why should I hire you? Remember, your retail store, brand, and presence are unique – you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors. This requires a retail construction manager who stands out from the rest. Always ask potential retail construction managers for an online portfolio or links to retail construction projects they have managed.

Does this person have what you need? What extra qualities and benefits does this person bring to your construction project?

Above all else, do not rush this process – there is too much at stake. A good retail construction manager has deep experience in retail store construction, management, execution, planning, design, and installation.

A Retail Construction Manager is Key to Your Retail Construction Success

Whether you’re updating existing retail stores, building a brand-new retail store, preparing for a global roll-out of new stores, or adding brick-and-mortar retail to your DTC portfolio – you need to hire a retail construction manager.

You are an expert in your brand, products, and services. You are not an expert in retail construction, design, management, logistics, or planning. The success of your retail construction project is directly linked to your retail construction manager and their network of industry contacts.

You need to focus on what you do best and trust experts in retail construction services, like Dynamic Resources Global to do what we do best.

At Dynamic Resources Global, we have the IN-HOUSE offerings that make us your single source provider for all your retail construction needs. Contact us to learn how we handle any aspect of your business – from an individual installation to a global roll-out.