The Sims 4 Get to Work: Retail Guide

Guide to Opening your Store & Basic Concepts

The Sims 4 Get to Work: Open for Business
This Guide will teach you to open your own small business in The Sims 4. The outside decorations help attract customers through 'curb appeal'.

The Sims 4's Get to Work Expansion Pack marks the return of the Open for Business style management of retail stores, which Simmers have missed since The Sims 2. Nearly anything in the game can be sold for a profit, and you've got a number of options to help you optimize how your business is run and rake in the Simoleans.

The Retail features work similarly no matter what type of items you want to sell, so this guide is relevant to anything from a variety store or bakery, to an art gallery or book store. Maxis and The Sims Studio decided to bring in the ability to dress mannequins and sell outfits, so even clothing shops are possible with the business system. Retail Perks and the ability to promote employees and designate their uniforms gives a lot of customization options for the player to make their dream business. Because this one runs the risk of being too long, I'm breaking it into three sections: first you'll find the basics for operating a business here, then we'll go into managing the store's employees, dealing with customers, and finally the Retail Perks you can purchase. With introductions out of the way, here's a guide to everything you need to know to run a successful business in The Sims 4 Get to Work!

Opening a Business

The Sims 4 Get to Work: Magnolia Promenade
Magnolia Promenade offers 3 pre-built businesses you can take over. You may also build on any empty lot or convert any lot to Retail.

You have multiple options for where to start your business. First is the new area of Magnolia Promenade where there are four lots to choose from. You can elect to take over one of the three pre-built lots for sale there, which are expensive but established businesses that you can manage. Most players will prefer to make their own from scratch on an empty lot. To do this, use your Sim's phone and go to the Career/Household tab, then select Buy a Retail Store. You will be taken to a world selection screen, from which you can browse lots to buy in any Neighborhood that you own. Any lot that doesn't have something else on it will automatically be flagged as Retail when purchased. If the lot you want isn't available, see below to make it possible. A small empty lot will cost you around $3,000, which is not much but hard on a newly-created Sim's budget given the need to construct the store. It's best to have some items and cash on hand from some other means of making money because you must invest at least a little money into the business, which we'll look at next.

Mark a Lot as Retail
If the lot you want to run your business on already has a house or store built on it, you can set it to retail to allow you to purchase it when selecting where to open your business. Do this by going to ESC > Manage Worlds > Click Lot > Change Lot Type > Retail. This will evict any households living there and let you then go through the above process to purchase the lot for your business.

The Sims 4 Get to Work: You may transfer funds to and from your business at any time.
Funds may be transferred to the business from Household funds and back again at any time.

Investing in the Business
When you first create your retail shop, you'll need to transfer some money from household funds. This acts as the business's bank account, allowing you to build, stock items, and cover employee salaries. Don't worry about putting too much into it, because as the business owner you are able to take money out of its account at any time. While your Sim is on the business lot, the cash value you see at the bottom will be the business funds - not your household's. If you're running out of cash for the store, there's a little button just to the left of the funds at the bottom that enables you to transfer money to and from the business. You can also click the cash register to do this, but why bother when the developers provided this handy little way of doing so.

The Sims 4 Get to Work: Retail Store Window
The Retail Store Window lets you Manage your Business

The Retail Store Window
Look to the bottom right next to the needs button while on your Retail Lot, where you'll find the Retail Store menu. From there, you can do many of the things discussed below. You may manage employees and their uniforms, set the store's overall price markup, open/close the business, view financial reports, and purchase Retail Perks.

Designing the Business Lot
The only requirement for your business is a counter and cash register, which mainly seems to hold money as customers won't line up to check out but rather stand near the item they want to buy. You cannot place a cash register without a counter, found under Objects by Function > Retail Items. Once that is done, you can design your lot as you see fit. There are ample shelving options to suit your needs, from refrigerated cabinets for foods and display cases, pedestals for beautification to basic metal shelves that can hold several objects at once. Consider placing items that provide a flat environment score to the room where the majority of shopping will be done, as that may help you to make more sales. Your salesmen will have a better success rate with customers and the retail-oriented interactions if they're in the right mood. Go for flat environment for happy, and anything that raises confidence to help put them in that helpful mood. Buy signs for the outside of your shop to raise curb appeal and get more customers.

The Sims 4 Get to Work: Curb Appeal
Outside signs create Curb Appeal, which attracts foot traffic to your Business

Business Management Concepts and Tips

Selling Goods
The design of your business lot doesn't matter much, but having a wide selection of objects seems to help. Having plenty of different things in the store gives customers more options, though no central theme is necessary. You can run a variety store with any random objects you want to sell. Books, clothes, and rotten fish? No problem! Certain things, like paintings, need to be placed inside your Sim's Household Inventory in order to be sold at the business. You can't otherwise access those crafted items that have been placed in the home. Anything you can sell will be replaced with restocking, even rare items and specific paintings. This isn't a way for you to duplicate those rares, just a realistic mechanic that lets you buy a new one to sell to the next customer.

In order to mark an item as For Sale, simply click it to instantly toggle the option. You can pause the game once everything is placed, then go through and mark everything intended for sale. It's easier if you click the cash register and select, 'Toggle For Sale Tag', as you will see each item for sale have the red tag and better know if you've missed something. Simply click this again to turn it off.

Selling Clothes
Buy Mannequins to sell clothing in your store. You can design the clothes yourself in Create-a-Sim, or have the game generate random outfits when you click a mannequin. You may change the mannequin's pose. Clothing comes in at about the same prices no matter what type it is, so in general having the maximum 10 mannequins on your lot with a variety of clothing types and genders is a good idea. You should probably flesh out your store with some extra objects to give customers more choices on things to buy. Only Sims of the appropriate age/gender can buy particular outfits, so this is important.

The Sims 4 Get to Work: Operating a Bakery
Managing a Bakery is similar to all other shops. Either put food in your Sim's inventory from home or have an oven, counter, and fridge on site to help you stock the store. Restocking a Bakery or other food store is done without the need to cook to replace sold items, but it's easier to fill it out with the necessary equipment in the actual bakery.

Selling Food or Operating a Bakery
Making a bakery or selling any other type of food works similarly to other types of retail, except the need for refrigerated display cases to keep food fresh much longer. Once you create something, you may simply restock it at 80% of its sell cost (meaning higher quality means higher restocking fees). This means you don't have to keep cooking food, but you should! It's cheaper to cook a new high-quality dish than to wreck your profits by restocking a $650 serving of trout!

Because you can keep baking and selling in this way while avoiding restocking fees, operating a food store of any kind features one of the higher profit margins in the game. It just takes a bit more of your time. You can get some of this time back by skipping the usual refrigerated displays and utilizing the vending displays. With a vending display, a customer doesn't need to be rung up to make a purchase! They can buy it straight away, so you can have your employees cleaning and working customers while your main Sim cooks.

The Sims 4 Get to Work: Cash Register
All that is required is a cash register. The rest is up to you!

Price Markup
Pricing relies on a simple system that makes sense - you control the store's overall markup rate by clicking the cash register or interface at bottom right. The default is 25%, meaning an object worth $100 would sell for $125, resulting in $25 profit. Restocking would cost you $100, and let you sell it again. Your array of markup options include:

  • Clearance - 5% Markup
  • Sale - 15% Markup
  • Normal - 25% Markup
  • Pricey - 50% Markup
  • Exorbitant - 100% Markup

The cheaper your products, the more likely customers are to buy them without any interaction. With exorbitant prices, you can expect to have to drive a hard sell on the customer and use many interactions to earn the money. Start with the default and tweak prices based on what you're able to handle. If you're only getting a few customers, you may raise prices a bit so that you can work them individually. Once you have employees, consider lowering them back to base so that more can happen autonomously. At that point, the only reason to raise them is if you've got a lot of Retail Perks or are missing a lot of sales.

Restocking items is a necessity to running the shop. You will want to prioritize the higher value items, because another customer may be interested in purchasing it. Overall, one of each thing is plenty because of the ability to put that item back. It takes about 30 minutes to restock something. When multiple items need restocking, direct an employee to take care of that so your Sim can manage customers.

The Sims 4 Get to Work: Losing a Sale
Losing a sale is not good, but sometimes it just can't be avoided.

The Customer - Pitching a Sale
Know that while some customers will buy something without you doing anything, others will only buy if you happen to successfully deploy the Retail social options on them. The blue bar above a customer's head indicates how likely they are to buy something when done shopping (more on this in the Customers section of the Guide). You can raise this bar faster by interacting with them. For running a store (as well as generally playing Sims 4) I recommend you go to your gameplay options and select, "Traditional Social Menu" so that Retail is always there when you first click a customer. The same is true for the Manage social options for employees and Assign Work Task. You want these options accessible with a click so that it's easy to use them multiple times rather than click three times for each interaction. When you are interacting with a customer, the order of socials doesn't seem to matter, but save the newer ones that appear as you woo the customer for when the blue bar is higher. Your Sim's Mood and Charisma may come into play for success rates here, and as you use the socials and get positive results you will eventually see the customer head toward an item and be ready to be rung up. You can then let an Employee handle them (or go for it yourself if it's a big item to ensure it's sold) and move on to the next customer. You will rack up Retail Perk points for performing these interactions, and it's a steady stream in between sales.

Once a customer has made a decision to buy, a shopping cart will appear over their head and you'll get a notification. This means they're ready to be rung up. The amount of time it takes them to give up seems to be about 45-60 Sim minutes, max. It will start blinking around 30 minutes, so if you have two that are ready at once and you're behind on this, take the one that is near the most expensive item to maximize your profits. If it's blinking really fast, choose the other as it will take your Sim a moment to initiate the interaction. You can't get them all. If you find yourself constantly overwhelmed, again I will say that you should consider raising prices by one notch or hiring more employees via Perk Points.

The Sims 4 Get to Work: Displays
Plenty of display types are available. This is less than half the types of offerings in the Expansion Pack.

Things that Can't Be Sold
The Retail feature of Get to Work is so inclusive of player ideas that a list of things you can sell would be tiresome. It's better for people who are wondering about this that I focus on those things that cannot be sold, in order to rule them out. In short, you can't sell things that are purely decorative and can't be clicked. While you can sell things like lighting, because it can be clicked to bring up a menu, things like rugs, building elements like walls and doors, outdoor shrubbery, and trees can't be clicked. Surfaces can't be sold, because what would happen to those objects on them? If it's a decorative item that can't be admired or interacted with, you won't be able to sell it. If you can click it and get an interaction, your Sim can probably sell it. Things that exist solely in your Sim's inventory and cannot be placed in the game world, like garden shoots for grafting, also cannot be sold. The other 98% of things in the game? You can sell it, and make a tidy profit doing so.

The Sims 4 Get to Work: Toggle for Sale Tag
'Toggle for Sale Tag' is useful to make sure you haven't missed flagging any of your wares for sale.

Employee Basics
From the Retail Store window or cash register, you can select Manage Employees. This lets you choose who to hire, promote to give a raise, and even fire if they just don't meet your expectations or are just plain slacking too much. If you're just starting a store, you should probably manage it yourself at first then bring in an employee once you know where you need help and have started to turn a profit. Employees start at $19/hour and may go up to $51/hour and more when promoted. They have three Skills related to Retail: Maintenance (how well they are at cleaning and restocking the store), Sales (pitching to customers), and Work Ethic (reduced odds of them slacking). They gain levels in these from performing related tasks, or as in the case of Work Ethic, being berated and praised, so don't worry if you hire someone with a weak point - work on it or keep that person working in other areas.

The Sims 4 Get to Work: Snazzy Shirt
The Snazzy Shirt can be unlocked for your employees' uniforms through Retail Perks

Employees hired during the workday will not show up. They appear on the next opening of the store. While they're at work, you can click them to Assign Work Task. This lets you choose between restocking, cleaning, interacting with customers to make sales, and ringing up customers. Employees will only work up to 9 hours, after which they will leave due to labor laws. They seem to grow dissatisfied if you keep them long too often, so plan to set an 8 hour work shift and, if you're going to run over, let that employee clock out early.

Knowing how satisfied they are is important. You can see this from the manage employees window. Satisfaction levels range from: Very Satisfied, Satisfied, Neutral, Unsatisfied, to Very Unsatisfied. If an Employee is Very Unsatisfied, the most likely culprit is they feel they are not being paid enough for their skills. Natural dissatisfaction will crop up as their Skills rise if they stay at the same pay grade. Give them a raise if you want to keep them. A highly skilled employee will not stand for $19/hour, and as they gain Skill you are going to get better results out of them anyway. You can, in theory, help make a super employee by building up their Skills and switching them from different roles, applying praise and occasionally berating them for slacking if necessary. Overall keep an eye on them while they work and assign tasks that need done - set one to restock for a time, others to talk to customers and take care of ringing them up yourself for the Perk Points. Employee Uniforms are not necessary, but may be helpful to you for managing to keep an eye on them. You'll probably want them to give your business some personality.

Selling the Business
You can sell your business at any time, should you tire of managing it or want to buy a new one on another lot. Know that Retail Perks go with it, but you will get the business' full face value - all money in its account and the value of all combined objects on the lot transferred to your household funds.

Open for Business!
With these basics down, you should be ready to Open your Business for the first time using the Retail Store menu or cash register. If you'd like to learn more detailed information on running your store day to day, managing employees, or Retail Perks, continue reading!

Other Get to Work Guides

Expansion Guide
Retail Guide
Retail: Customers and Sales
Retail: Employees and Managing
Retail Perks in Get to Work
Baking Skill Guide
Photography Skill Guide
Detective Career
Doctor Career, Diseases and Diagnosing Patients
Scientist Career
Planet Sixam (Alien World)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 > Last
This was so helpful!
10th July 2015 3:58pm
This one took quite a lot of time as retail has a lot going on, so I'm really glad you like it :)
10th July 2015 4:17pm
Brandy M.
This was super helpful; I just bought Sims 4 Get to Work over Christmas, and when I played it for the first time yesterday, I was a little overwhelmed. I decided to do the display cases for food over the vending displays and that took a lot of my time managing that. I also hired an employee right away, which meant that my money went negative $700 pretty quickly without having a return. Your tips are so helpful to me! I knew it was worth it to sell as many things as possible in your shop, but I forgot that anything can be sold...even paintings you choose for your home. Thanks again!
2nd January 2016 4:53pm
Mad okay but how do you close? I've been trying to close the store to manage prices and such for over 12 simple hours. Customers keep coming and it won't let me close.
If it seems glitched have your sim travel away from the lot, this should force the game to close the store.
21st November 2016 1:09am
Carl, Thank you for your guides. They help me with choosing what expansions to buy and how to play the Sims, especially your Sims 3 guide. I love your guide and I would like to thank you for taking so much time into making these.
13th July 2015 9:20pm
That's been one of my goals since Sims 3, to provide info on how things work so that people know whether the Expansion is right for them. None of them is right for everyone. I try not to use my own opinion but just write on the mechanics then let the individual decide. At that, I'm glad I'm able to help however I can! I'll be covering Spa Day today :)
14th July 2015 12:20pm
Thanks for the guide because I didn't know how to get employees and this helped so thank you very much
17th July 2015 4:46pm
this is very useful. thxs Smile:Grin
24th July 2015 7:27pm
I can't buy a retail lot. Is this because I have a child in my household? :(
26th July 2015 12:36pm
No but not sure what the issue might be. Does your household have enough funds?
8th January 2016 2:30pm
Hey thanks! One other question though, can I move into my retail store, I built an apartment on top of it for my sims but how do I move in ???
You can't move in, but you can effectively stay there most of the time. Sims in school or with a career have to go back to the original home lot in order to go to their daily responsibilities. But, you can just stay as long as you want and pretty much live there. Its just not where your mail etc. will go as far as I know.

26th July 2015 8:53pm
Hey thanks! One other question though, can I move into my retail store, I built an apartment on top of it for my sims but how do I move in ???
27th July 2015 6:28pm
You can't live full time on a retail lot but you can stay there overnight and for as long as you want if you build a 'home' on the lot as well.
Your sims will still have to have a residential lot as their home.
8th January 2016 2:33pm
Hi, is it possible to work on work ethic?
I always see my staff on their phones when theres a few people waiting to be rung up. I've assigned them with the task to ring up customers but they dont seem to bother. It gets frustrating as I'm losing out on business. Any tips?
28th July 2015 7:21am
If you see a staff member on their phone or dancing and click on them you should see "berate for slacking" I did that a few times and now my slacker girl Jill is workimg like a pro! Only thing is it effects your friendship so be sure to praise once they do the right thing again! Hope this helps.
25th November 2015 2:21pm
Can another employee open the store or does an active sim always have to be there?
1st August 2015 4:46pm
To have any lot active a played sim needs to be there.
8th January 2016 2:31pm
Are there any traits or a good aspiration for having a retail store?
3rd August 2015 12:55pm
Fabulously Wealthy might be a good aspiration if your retail business makes decent money. As for traits, maybe cheerful for the happy moodlet that occurs randomly or good for the positive moodlet for being near other happy sims.
8th January 2016 2:36pm
The best trait is self assured, because they are confident, and with confident moodlet that have ability to "close the deal" which is raising the customer's bar substantially. If you pause the game, you can do it twice in a row.
9th December 2017 9:27am
Thanks, Carl! :-)
8th August 2015 1:52pm
if you have an item (lets say a plate of muffins) and it is market down to 15%, sims should automatically want to buy it, and you wont have to convince them? I wasn't really sure if that is what you meant
12th August 2015 3:13pm
Pretty much, the lower the mark up the less persuading your customers will need to purchase.
8th January 2016 2:33pm
Does your store close whenever you're not there, or does it remain open? Is there a way to get it to stay open?
12th August 2015 6:50pm
If a played sim is not actively on a lot then that lot is not loaded. So there is no way for a retail shop to stay active when not loaded or in other words, when a played sim is not present.
8th January 2016 2:57pm
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