In China when you decorate an appartement, a commercial local... you can either:
- Supervize all the work
- Ask a decoration team
What a decoration team can do is get important discount on decoration/ construction material needed /have different team members come together.
You should take care of the quality of the materials used for the decoration. Most of the time, decoration companies will select poor quality material for you. Thus they can offer a relatively low price, low initial quote and keep good margins.
Decoration companies can also add further cost once the work starts. You should anticipate in advance as much as you can: all the work that is needed. But of course you will always forget something.
We asked three different companies for quote and construction plan. We selected one: a famous Chinese company. I have heard one of the top decoration company in China... from "Beijing". Beijing is a guarantee for many Chinese: so many time I hear: this company has its headquater in Beijing. Even better they will tell you: this company operates abroad or has its headquater in the USA!
The company told us they would provide a 3D construction plan. But we didn't have anything in the end...
Talking to the work supervisor
The place we found is small but it allows to build on two floors even though it is low from ceiling.
For the front door, the store window is narrow. But in China this is often the case. It is hard to be on the first floor. We wanted to be on the first floor in order to be seen for our concept.
Building the second floor
Building the second floor proved harder than expected… at the beginning there was no problem « mei wenti mei wenti..., then it appeared that the wall could not hold the second floor. The construction company asked us to pay a lot more. And even though the decoration company signed with us a construction quote !
In China you can not trust anything and even a written agreement is no guarantee ! You can always threaten or go to court. But this would take years and uncertain decision. The best is then to renegociate and use your network in the balance.
Luckily for us, after negociation, there is another technical solution to build the second floor and respect the initial quote.
We also had the autorisation of the owner and he looked honest. It can happen that a owner comes back on his word once you rent from him. For instance it is not anymore possible to build a second floor, to open a window, to open a restaurant in the local. It is not always the owner responsability maybe he just didn’t inquire when he rent you the local.
The ideal is to obten a written agreement. But this is of course difficult: many people want to rent good local with fair rent price and good location, small superficie.
You must decide quickly!