A guest post by Liz Walton
The Kitchen and Bath industry is a $170 billion industry, so it’s no surprise that many designers want a piece of the profits. Growth in the housing market is projected to support demand for the robust remodeling industry for the next 5 years, and high employment rates combined with increased home values means more disposable income. With so many consumers looking to spend on their homes, now is the perfect opportunity to expand your services outside of kitchens. But how?
As an NKBA Certified Kitchen designer with a degree in interior design, I’ve learned that there are plenty of opportunities to expand sales outside the kitchen. I’m a firm believer in niche marketing – advertising yourself as a cabinetry expert makes you the master of your craft, which in turn will make you a very valuable asset to other designers, decorators, or contractors who have little interest in learning the fine art of cabinetry and millwork design. Developing relationships with like-minded designers and contractors will make expanding your services a breeze. Designing and installing cabinetry and millwork is an exact science, one that scares the tape measure out of the hands of eager design professionals, and this is where you will thrive.
As a graduate from an accredited design school, growing a business beyond kitchen sales was a natural fit for Liz Walton Home, and it’s easier than one might think.
Once you successfully complete a complex project such as a kitchen, you’ve gained your client’s trust to handle everything else, from furniture and decor, to window treatments, flooring, wall treatments, and so much more. In addition, your client’s beautiful new kitchen is not doing the adjoining rooms any favors, so naturally the work extends into the laundry room, dining room (the perfect spot for a wet bar!), bathrooms, the ever popular mudroom, basement, and bar areas. Each of those spaces requires meticulous planning and execution, putting your skills to good use. And while you’re at it, the living room needs a new fireplace surround, the family room needs some built-ins, and the primary bedroom could use sprucing up too.
Offices and libraries are making a comeback in a big way, and we are often asked to design bookshelves, coffered ceilings, and wainscoting for those areas. Soon the kitchen renovation turns into a whole home renovation and you are set!
If your client admires your designs and trusts your work ethic, they will stick with you and begin referring you to their friends and family.
Not sure how to find furniture vendors? Attending industry shows such as High Point Market is a great way to network with other industry professionals, view new products, and establish relationships with vendors. Publications such as Business of Home and KBDN Magazine are great resources for learning and staying on top of trends. Looking for a high-quality, reputable cabinetry manufacturer? We love working with Adelphi Kitchens, a family-owned and operated company since 1946.
Mydoma Studio also makes this transition from kitchens to whole home projects seamless for us because our clients love having 24 hour access to their drawings, proposed furnishings, lighting, hardware, etc. They can view their entire project while watching TV and eating popcorn, and what could be better than that?
On top of that, with Mydoma’s credit card integration we have more than doubled our sales, and our profitability has increased by more than 25%. And because you are an exceptionally talented and organized designer, clients and contractors alike will be anxious to get on your waiting list.
For some small business owners, deciding how to expand their business is the fork in the road. Like most things in life, what scares you the most is what you most need to do. Taking on more work or larger projects helps small businesses diversify their portfolio and will be critical in maintaining sales in a down economy. In both scenarios, repeat clientele is the golden ticket in sales, one that can keep your pipeline full while growing with new clients. At Liz Walton Home, we welcome new and sometimes outrageous opportunities because we always learn something and it is fun to see where the road will lead.
If you are thinking about expanding your services or offerings, I encourage you to believe in yourself and go for it! As the great Wayne Gretzy so eloquently stated, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” The bottom line is that you can offer a service that fits a specific need, so be sure to charge for your time, designs, and materials. As a capable problem solver, you will soon be able to name your price and pick your projects.
Liz Walton is the founder and proud owner of Liz Walton Home. As a certified kitchen designer, Liz and her team work seamlessly with clients and custom home builders to deliver one-of-a kind kitchens, tailored to suit their needs. Liz’s pragmatic and function based approach paired with humor and humility put clients minds at ease and ensure an exceptional experience.