Signing a Commercial Lease

Sample Leasehold Improvement Plan

Written by Amber Miller for Gaebler Ventures

When applying for an SBA loan and signing a retail lease there are a lot of forms and paper work. In this article, we share a sample leasehold improvement plan. This is frequently requested by landlords prior to offering a retail lease.

When most businesses open they have no idea of what to expect.

This can be especially true if the business is going to be purchasing or leasing a new space in order to sell to the public.

When my husband and I opened our tanning salon we were asked by the financer for several documents. These were pretty standard for most loans; we were applying for a SBA loan through a local bank to purchase some additional equipment.

We were then asked by the prospective landlord for a few things. He asked not only for background or credit information but for something he called a leasehold improvement plan. We had no idea what this was however it is standard practice for most retail centers, especially new ones.

I thought I could share an example of a simple leasehold improvement plan that we submitted in case any prospective renters reading had a question about how to go about this.

Sample Leasehold Improvement Plan

"Our plan for leasehold improvements starts with upgrading the power service supplied from a standard 200 amp service to a 300 amp service. In doing this we will be able to place up to ten beds instead of having only 6 beds. This will help to optimize profits in the space we will be provided. We have received a bid from the Wadman Corp. to do this for $4,500 and are currently shopping for lower bids.

Next we plan on building walls to create rooms in the space. We will be building them 9ft tall to ensure the customers privacy. This is also the first step in helping distinguish our salon from others. We will be painting these walls a rich luxurious color to create a warm feeling. This will also be done by using nice molding and trim to make it different than other salons that are plain and boring.

On the floor we will be staining it a dark rich color to keep with the warmth of the salon walls. By not adding carpet it will also add an element of cleanliness and help to set us apart from the others in the area.

Adding to the luxury theme in the salon will be the décor. By adding sleek and modern decorations we will make it feel like a spa instead of a normal tanning facility. We will and seating to the waiting area and tables for magazines. Another luxury will be a refrigerator fro a free beverage service we plan on providing to the customers. In addition to a small chair and an accent table in each room, we will have mirrors in each room. This will help customers get dressed and organized. While tanning they will be able to listen to music on the small sound systems in each room.

For the front reception area we plan on having a bar height counter with a display wall behind the counter with all the lotions and items for sale. It will also have a computer and the automated tanning control system. This area will help provide the customers with a polite greeting from the front counter.

The bathroom will be plain and simple, keeping the warm décor and theme of the rest of the salon. With a sink, mirror, toilet and a table containing toiletries for the customers to use the bathroom will maintain the elegant and luxurious look we wish to obtain.

The last area is the storage room and laundry facility that will be near the bathroom. It will consist of a small closet for cleaning supplies and towels, and a stackable washer/dryer combo.

Include in our plan is to keep "mood lighting" and an overall state of cleanliness. We want to maintain a professional salon and keep ahead of the curve and we know that these improvements will help us do just that."

As you can see this is a simple narrative style document and basically just shows what has been done or will be done to improve the retail space in which you would like to do business. This helps the landlord to understand your vision and provides documentation of the approved improvements that were mutually agreed upon.

Amber is a small business owner with real-world experience. In addition to writing articles for, Amber Miller is busy running her businesses and raising a family.

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