So you want to run a retail business in The Sims 4? Get To Work has you covered! We recently wrote a walkthrough and glowing review of an amazing base game mod that lets you have retail businesses in your game but for console players and the not-so-mod-savvy, this walkthrough is for you! You can run your own retail business and shop at retail businesses as a customer if you own the Get To Work expansion pack.
There’s a lot that goes into managing your own retail business so let’s jump straight into it!
Starting a Business
To start your own business, you’ll first have to have an unowned retail business placed in any of your worlds. You can use one of the premade ones in Magnolia Promenade, build your own, or download a retail lot from the Gallery. Once there is an unowned retail lot available to purchase, use the cash register symbol in the bottom right of your screen in Live Mode to purchase a retail business. Make sure your Sims have the funds to purchase the business!
Once you are the owner of a new business, you can set items for sale in your retail store, control the price markup, hire and manage employees, restock items, make sales to customers, and more!
A retail lot needs a cash register and at least one item set for sale in the store to be functional. To set items for sale, just click on anything you’d like to sell and select Set For Sale. Most objects in the game can be sold on retail lots, including food and many craftables but there are some exceptions. Small décor that is non-clickable can’t be set for sale. Neither can tables or rugs that have items placed on top of them. Some craftables, like the Herbalism concoctions can’t be sold, either.
If your Sims run a clothing store, there is no need to set something for sale to make the lot functional. Retail mannequins automatically have their outfits set for sale so if you’ve dressed up your store mannequins, you’re good to go! You can still set other related items for sale, though, such as clothing and shoe clutter.
Business Funds vs. Household Funds
When you first purchase your business, you’ll be prompted to transfer funds to your business. Your business’ funds are separate from your household funds. Whatever profits you make from your business are automatically deposited into your business funds. Business funds can only be used to purchase things for your business. If you want to use your business funds to make purchases for your home, you’ll have to transfer money from your business to your household funds. Likewise, if your business needs some extra funds, you’ll have to transfer money from your household to your business. You can transfer money between your household and your business anytime through the business panel in the bottom right of your screen in Live Mode. This is the same panel you used to purchase your business.
Looking to run a business from home to eliminate the hassle of constantly transferring funds? Sorry, you’re out of luck. Sort of. It’s not possible to have a residential lot that is also a retail lot so you can’t live at your business. However, there is a workaround. Have your Sims purchase a small empty lot as their “home” and then purchase a retail business that has a place for Sims to live, too. Then you can just stay there forever and use the retail lot as your residence. If you do this, we recommend transferring most of your funds to your business; any purchases made on the retail lot will count as a business expense and use business funds, even if you’re purchasing items for your “home” on the lot.
Maintaining Your Store
There’s a lot that goes into running a successful business. Your Sims will need to be chatting up customers all the time, delegating tasks to their employees, restocking and cleaning shelves, and managing prices in their store. When you first start out, it will feel overwhelming but as you gain experience as a business owner, you’ll be able to purchase business perks to make things easier on yourself.
When a customer purchases something, that item will now be out of stock and be replaced with an empty shopping cart sign. Click the sign to restock the item. Restocking costs simoleons! You’ll be paying the base value of the item every time you restock. If your business sells things that your Sims have crafted themselves, you can still restock the item using the sign without having to craft another item but you’ll be paying the item’s value, not the crafting cost, so it’s more costly to restock crafted items this way. If you would like to always craft items in order to restock them, you can do this as well. Hovering over the out of stock sign will tell you what item is out of stock. Craft that item again, remove the sign and replace it with the new crafted item in your inventory. Then set it for sale. You can restock your crafted goods more cheaply this way and save money.
Restocking isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. Throughout the day, shelves and other surfaces in your business will become dirty and need to be cleaned. Having dirty shelves and surfaces in your business will deter customers from browsing the wares on that surface. You can simply click on the surface to clean it. You can also instruct your employees to clean by clicking on them and assigning them a task.
Of course, you can’t hope to run a business if you don’t open your store. You can do that via the cash register. There is no time limit on how long your business can stay open or when you can open or close your business but your employees will only work for about 8-9 hours before they go home for the day.
Interacting with Customers
While customers appreciate a clean and well-stocked business so you should try to stay on top of those things, attending to their needs is your #1 priority as a business owner. Restocking and cleaning can wait if you have customers waiting to be rung up. Customers are extremely impatient and will not wait around for long before they get fed up and storm out of the business without completing their purchase.
When a customer walks in, they’ll start browsing for something to buy on their own but you can also Greet Customer under Friendly socials. Once a customer has been greeted, they’ll have a Retail option in their social menu. This is where you’ll butter up your customers to make sales. When a customer is considering making a purchase, a blue bar will appear above their heads. The fuller the bar is, the closer they are to making a purchase. Sometimes customers will be impressed with your store and make purchases on their own but most of the time, you’ll have to work for a sale. Use the various retail options on customers to fill up the bar and secure a sale. New sales options will open up to you as the bar fills. Be careful about getting too pushy! If your retail interactions fail, the bar will decrease! If some of the newly unlocked options are failing on you, try going back to simpler tactics like Answer Questions or Ask About Price Range.
When a customer is ready to make a purchase, you’ll receive a notification in the top-right corner. The customer will then stand near the object they want to buy and a blue shopping cart symbol will appear above their head. Make sure you attend to these customers immediately. If you keep them waiting to be rung up for too long, the shopping cart symbol above their head will turn red. This means they’re becoming impatient and are in danger of storming out without buying anything. Click the customer and select Ring Up Customer to process their purchase. If you’re having trouble ringing up customers in a timely manner, you can ask your employees to help you ring up customers or have other household members pitch in.
Not everyone who enters your business is a customer! You may also get loiterers and socialisers hanging out at your business, too. These Sims aren’t interested in buying anything from your store. They’re only there for their social hour and take up space in the store. It’s best to ask loiterers and socialisers to leave whenever you see them. You can tell who is a customer and who is not by the red label above their heads when you hover the cursor over them.
It can be tough to run a business all by yourself! Hiring employees can help take some of the burden off your shoulders but you will need to manage them and keep them in line when they occasionally slack off. You can hire employees for your business from the cash register.
You can only hire one employee to start with but purchasing business perks will unlock two more employees (for a total of 3) you can hire for your business. When you hire an employee, you’ll get to choose from a list of applicants where you will see their retail stats below them. Employees with higher stats perform better at their jobs but they also need to be paid more for their experience. Employees with low stats will gain more experience at their job over time so if you’re just starting out and have limited funds, it’s best to hire an employee with the lowest stats possible. You can always train them up later when you’re making more money to pay them with.
Employees have 3 stats:
- Sales: Employees with a high Sales stat will have more successful interactions with customers and ring up customers faster. You can improve an employee’s Sales stat by assigning them to Answer Customer Questions and Ring Up Customers.
- Work Ethic: Employees with a high Work Ethic stat slack off less often. Employees with low Work Ethic will play with their phones, chit-chat, and stand around idly a lot. You can improve your employee’s Work Ethic by being attentive to them. Checking up on them, offering them praise or criticism, and berating them for slacking will all help to improve this stat.
- Maintenance: Employees with a high Maintenance stat are faster at restocking and cleaning. Improve this stat by assigning your employees to Restock or Clean.
After hiring your employee, they’ll show up to work the next time you open the store. You can manage them through the cash register or the retail tab in the bottom right of the screen. You can assign them uniforms and create your own uniforms for them in CAS if you’re feeling creative. You can also demote or promote them.
When your employees show up for work, make sure to assign them a task. The more your employees do certain tasks, the more their stats will improve. Be sure to keep an eye on them and tell them to get back to work if you see them slacking off. This will improve their work ethic over time. Make sure to check in on your employees frequently. They’ll tell you how satisfied they are with their employment and let you know if they’re ready for a promotion. Employees will expect promotions as their stats improve. Experienced employees who don’t receive promotions will become dissatisfied with their job and may quit on you.
Even though you can keep your business open 24/7 if you want to, you cannot keep your employees working around the clock. Employees will only work for 8-9 hours before informing you that you’ve kept them working into overtime so they’re going home to comply with labour laws. Employees may grow tired and uncomfortable before this if they aren’t able to look after their motives while at work. Consider having a staff room with some snacks and a staff bathroom for your employees to stay comfortable while at work.
Of course, if you play with a large household, you can always use your family members as free labour and save money on paying employees.
Get To Work Retail Objects
Get To Work comes with a wide variety of shelving and displays for general objects but there are some displays that are designed for specific items. Here they all are below:
- Heated Food Display: Display your baking and other hot foods in this display case and they’ll stay preserved for a longer period of time. Great for bakeries.
- Refrigerated Food Display: Display cooked goods in this cold display case and they’ll stay preserved for a longer period of time. Great for grocery stores.
- Warming Racks: Functions like a fridge but for hot goods. Store as many hot foods as you want in these displays. Everything inside will automatically be set for sale. Great for bakeries.
- Retail Fridge: Display fridges for retail businesses. Store as much food or raw ingredients as you want in these displays. Everything inside will automatically be set for sale. Great for grocery stores.
- Bakery Display: A display specifically designed for displaying bread and other baked goods. Items stored on these shelves do not get preserved for a longer period of time so replace them regularly.
- Retail Bookshelf: These special bookshelves will allow your Sims to run a book store. Drag any book to these shelves to display them on a cute little stand and set them for sale.
- Mannequins: Male and female adult and child mannequins in both traditional and abstract styles to suit any clothing store. You can change their colour in Build/Buy and adjust their body shape in CAS. Click them to go into CAS and design outfits for them to wear. Any outfits displayed on mannequins will automatically be set for sale.
When you first start your business, it may feel overwhelming trying to keep up with everything but things will get easier if you stick with it. You’ll earn perk points as you do activities related to your business, like restocking, ringing up customers, and doing retail interactions with customers. You can exchange these points for retail perks that will make running your business easier.
Some perks are just neat objects you can decorate your store with. Other perks come with gameplay benefits.
|Retail Perk||Description||Cost (Perk Points)|
|Placard: My First Simoleon||A wall plaque that celebrates your business' first simoleon earned. Look for it in the household inventory.||50|
|Provocative Pedestal||A new display pedestal for your store. Look for it in the household inventory.||100|
|Stunning Sign||A new store sign that will attract more customers. Look for it in the household inventory.||150|
|Snazzy Shirt||Unlocks a unisex employee uniform shirt.||200|
|Register of Tomorrow||Unlocks a modern-looking cash register. Look for it in the household inventory.||250|
|Superfluous Surplus||Reduces the cost of restocking for 12 hours. Can be repurchased.||300|
|Additional Employee #1||Allows you to hire a second employee||350|
|Faster Restocking (small)||Slightly reduces the time it takes for household members to restock items||400|
|Faster Checkouts (small)||Household members will ring up customers slightly faster||450|
|Placard: Fobs 500||A decorative wall plaque that celebrates your business' success. Look for it in the household inventory.||500|
|Curious Shopper||Customers will spend more time browsing before deciding to leave||1,000|
|Mega Manager||Greater chances of successful management interactions with store employees||1,100|
|Additional Employee #2||Allows you to hire a third employee||1,200|
|Serious Shopper||Customers will have a greater desire to purchase something when they first enter the store||1,300|
|Faster Checkouts (large)||Household members will ring up customers much faster||1,400|
|Faster Restocking (large)||Household members will restock items much faster||1,400|
|Sure Sale||Unlocks the "Sure Sale" retail interaction on customers which guarantees a sale when used||2,000|
|Slick Salesman||Retail interactions on customers have a greater chance of success||2,100|
|Instant Restocking||Household members will be able to instantly restock items||2,200|
|Cheaper Restocking||Reduces the price of restocking||2,500|
When you close your store, you’ll get a breakdown of your profits and expenses. The money you make each day will be your total sales profits minus restocking costs and employee wages. If you’re not making a profit at the end of the day after expenses, you have a few options to help get your business back on track.
- Consider raising prices in your store but keep in mind that if you raise prices too high, customers may be more reluctant to make purchases. It’s a balancing act. Likewise, if you already have high prices and aren’t making a profit, consider lowering prices to encourage more Sims to buy from your store.
- Demote or fire employees. No one likes to be the bad guy in the workplace but sometimes it’s necessary. If your employee wages are eating up a large portion of your profits, it may be time to let some people go or demote some employees who haven’t been pulling their weight.
- Invest in retail perks. There are plenty of perks that will help you run your business more efficiently and reduce your costs. Don’t give up on your entrepreneurial dreams right away if you aren’t making a profit when you first launch your business. You can turn things around with retail perks if you stick with it.
We hope this guide has given you all the knowledge and tools you need to become a successful entrepreneur in The Sims 4 Get To Work!