Fit-Out Finance


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Natalie

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What is Fit-Out Finance?


Fit-out finance covers loans used for refurbishment, relocation, and redevelopment of businesses in Australia. Fit-out loans are used by a variety of businesses to finance everything from electrical work to signage, furniture, and HVAC systems. Depending on the type of business, borrowers can access up to 100 per cent of the fit-out cost for their new or existing business or franchise.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • How to qualify
  • Where you can apply for a fit-out loan 
  • The documentation you’ll need and the application process 
  • What you can and cannot finance with a fit-out loan 
  • Options for franchises 
  • Options for medical professionals 

Who can get a Business Fit-Out Loan?


Qualifying for a fit-out loan is relatively simple. Most lenders will be able to offer you fit-out finance options if you have:

  • Been trading for at least 9 months; and 
  • Have an ABN (Australian Business Number); and 
  • Are registered for GST

While most lenders will prefer you have been actively trading for a minimum of 9 - 12 months, you can still apply and get approved for fit-out finance if you have been trading for less than 9 months.


Where to apply for Fit-Out Finance


Your best bet for finding specific, fit-out finance offers will be through specialist lenders. Many banks will offer certain types of finance options for business equipment, though this may not cover your full list of required refurbishments - you may also be offered other types of business loan instead of a specialised fit-out loan. 

If you would prefer to compare lenders, you may consider engaging a finance broker to assist in the process. For a small fee, brokers will help you find the best lenders for your application, and guide you through the application process to improve your chances of approval. 

Applying with specialist lenders will often involve a simple, online process. Some of these lenders offer conditional approval on the spot up to a certain amount, while others may require a slightly more detailed application process, and ask you contact them for a quote before assessing your application.

You can apply for Fit-out Finance with GetCapital. Read our review of the lender or compare finance options from Australia’s leading business lenders by visiting our Lender Reviews section.


What is the application process?


Fit-out finance falls under the same application process as other types of equipment finance. You’ll qualify for fast approval using a streamlined application process if you are applying for finance up to a total value of $100,000 and you:

  • Have been in business 24 months; and 
  • Have an ABN; and 
  • Are registered for GST; and 
  • Own a home 

If you fall outside the above criteria, or are wishing to apply for a fit-out loan greater than $100,000, the application process will be much the same albeit longer and requiring a greater amount of supporting documentation to gain approval.


Documentation you’ll need to provide


Before applying for fit-out finance, you’ll want to research lenders and get a firm understanding of the required documentation. Although some types of documentation will remain consistent between lenders - such as proof of identity - the depth of others may vary. 

For example, some lenders may require financial records of a specific historical length, while others may request a business plan to support your application. 

In general, you will need to supply a range of supporting documents, such as:

  • Proof of identity 
  • Financial records for the previous 2 - 3 years (provided by your accountant) 
  • Profit and Loss Statements Balance Sheet 
  • Details of your fit-out purchases 
  • Business bank statements 
  • Rates notice (if you own a home) 
  • Rental agreement (if you are renting) 

You may also be asked to provide a business plan: 

  • Business plan - Lenders will often request a business plan when assessing fit-out finance loans. This is to illustrate how you expect your business to perform over the next few years (the term of the loan) and how the fit-out loan will assist in adding value to your business to increase profits and cash flow.

What can Fit-Out Finance be used for?


Fit-Out Finance can be used for almost any business refurbishment, and is utilised by a wide range of businesses and franchises in Australia - those offering products to customers (such as retail) and services (such as medical facilities) to provide a welcoming and inviting space for staff and customers alike. 

It can be used for both major and minor refurbishments - it is commonly used to completely revitalise existing spaces, rebrand following a change of ownership, or to upgrade existing fit-outs following periods of significant business growth. 


Popular Types of Fit-Out Finance

  • Shop Fit-Out Finance
  • Restaurant Fit-Out Finance
  • New Office Fit-Out Finance
  • Warehouse and Factory Fit-Outs
  • Medical Practice Fit-Outs
Money Logo Money Tip

When applying for fit-out finance, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of labour and illustrate this in your business plan to the lender.

Shop Fit-Out Finance


Apply for shop fit-out finance and get the funds you need to completely refurbish and set up your new shop or retail store, including display cabinets and clothing racks, front-of-house and sales counters, changing rooms, and much more.

You can use shop fit-out finance to purchase:

  • Clothing racks and displays 
  • Display cabinets 
  • Internal walls and doors for changing rooms 
  • EFTPOS machines and facilities 
  • HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning) units 
  • Sales and front-of-house counters 
  • Tiling, carpet, or other flooring 
  • Lighting, electrical work and fittings 
  • Furniture such as couches, chairs and tables 
  • Kitchen equipment for staff areas 
  • Branded signage and front-of-store signage 
  • Security systems 

Restaurant Fit-Out Finance


Use restaurant fit-out finance to fund everything you need for your new cafe or restaurant. You can use a restaurant fit-out loan to purchase kitchen and front-of-house equipment, and even use it to decorate your space with artwork and dining tables. 

Restaurant fit-out finance can allow you to purchase:

  • Furniture such as couches, chairs and tables 
  • Staff benches and counters 
  • Sales and front-of-house counters 
  • Lighting, electrical work and fittings 
  • Kitchen appliances such as dishwashers or fridges 
  • Kitchen installations such as cabinets and drawers 
  • Glassware and storage areas 
  • Toilets and sinks 
  • Tiling, carpet, or other flooring 
  • Cold storage rooms 
  • Branded signage 
  • Security monitoring systems 
  • Artwork 
  • HVAC units 
  • EFTPOS machines and facilities 

New Office Fit-Out Finance


New office fit-out finance is ideal for gaining the necessary funding to completely set up your new office space. If you are planning to time your relocation with an update to your business branding, you can use funds to create branded signage, break-out rooms or meeting areas with internal walls. 

New office fit-out finance can allow you to purchase:

  • Employee workstations and desks 
  • Drawers and cabinets 
  • Printers and Photocopiers 
  • Rugs 
  • Standing desks and whiteboards 
  • IT infrastructure - including cabling and Wi-Fi extender systems 
  • Internal walls within an office - including meeting rooms or break-out rooms 
  • Tiling, carpet, or other flooring 
  • Lighting, electrical work and fittings 
  • HVAC units 
  • Security systems 
  • Branded signage 
  • Artwork 
  • Furniture such as couches, chairs and tables 
  • Bathrooms - including showers, toilets and washbasins 

Fit-Out Finance limitations


There may be limitations to what each lender will approve when applying for fit-out finance. Some specialist lenders may offer certain products that cover all aspects of a fit-out, while others may only provide finance for certain items

For example, you may find that one lender will approve a fit-out loan for everything, while others may require certain assets - large fridges, coffee machines - to be financed through a lease or rental agreement

This is an important part of the research phase, as applying for multiple loans will require multiple credit checks, and this can lower your credit score

As with all types of finance application, lenders will assess your loan based on the risk you present as a borrower; a high credit score and a minimum number of active finance agreements will ensure you get a good deal when applying.


Fit-Out Finance for Franchises


Fit-Out Finance is commonly used by individuals buying a franchise. Franchises are commonly refurbished every 5 - 10 years, and it is equally uncommon that the franchisor will assist in funding this process. 

New owners of an existing franchise will often wish to rebrand or purchase new equipment - this can incur costs for signage, upgraded staff facilities and more. You can read more about this in our guide on purchasing an existing, established business or franchise.

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You can apply for franchise fit-out finance with banks and online specialist lenders


Fit-Out Finance for Medical Practices


In Australia, medical professionals are often able to access fit-out finance by using their medical practice as equity - this prevents needing to provide residential property as security. 

In general, most medical professionals for fit this criteria will need to be certified by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), and can borrow up to 100 per cent of the fit-out costs required. 

Medical professionals who may be able to apply using medical practice equity include:

  • Doctors 
  • Dentists 
  • Physiotherapists 
  • Veterinarians 

While doctors - including GPs and specialists - can meet the approval criteria without a minimum time in practice, all other medical professionals will need to have been in their profession for a minimum of three years. 

Lenders will also request that you provide a minimum financial history of one year to approve applications greater than $500,000.


Fit-Out Finance Summary


Fit-Out Finance in Australia is used to refurbish businesses and franchises. The amount you can borrow will vary from lender to lender with the average around $300,000. Fit-out loans can be applied for online with specialist finance lenders, and terms will vary as well, sometimes up to five years. 

In summary:

  • Can be used to finance a wide range of minor fittings 
  • Is used for stores, offices, factories, warehouses, and medical practices 
  • Can be obtained from banks, non-bank lenders, specialists, and through finance brokers 
  • Will often require a business plan to present to the lender 

Fit-Out Finance FAQ

What is the minimum I need to qualify for Fit-out Finance?


Most lenders will be able to consider your application for fit-out finance if you have been trading for a minimum of 9 months, have an Australian Business Number, and are registered for GST.

How much can I borrow with Fit-Out Finance?


Fit-Out Finance amounts will vary between lenders, and will generally be assessed in relation to your level of risk as a borrower. Specialist lenders will offer loans from $5,000 up to $500,000.

What documents do I need to supply for Fit-out Finance?


Fit-Out Finance applications will require you to supply proof of identity, financial records provided by your accountant, and details of the assets or fittings you wish to purchase - they may additionally require a business plan to support your application.

What can I use Fit-Out Finance for?


Fit-Out Finance can be used for all types of office, warehouse, and store refurbishments. This includes electrical work, office furniture, security systems, EFTPOS facilities, and much more.