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Bathroom Remodeler
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622 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I'm new to the site, and wish I could have found this type of blog when I started 8 years ago.....It could have saved me a lot of learning the hard way.
Anyways my question is to those builders/remodelers that get regular 25k-30k bathroom jobs. I've only done 1 luxury bath in that price range and it was for family so it wasn't really a 25k-30 job. Do you have a showroom/separate office to meet clients? Is that what it takes to get luxury bathrooms on a regular basis? One of the hardest selling points for me is the tile design, I feel like I'm just sending the customers to the suppliers to choose tile and in the process am taking away a service from them. I of course have a portfolio and website with past projects (and even videos) but I feel like the next step would be a showroom. Would you recommend this expenditure? :blink:
Thanks
 

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bathroom guru
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1,348 Posts
My jobs average about $15-20K and I'm doing a 40K one starting in January.

Do you work alone (with help) or do you have several crews??

IMO, having a showroom is a benefit, however, I do not have one right now - but I utilize my suppliers showrooms to the max.

Normally I will schedule a day with clients and will go pick tile, stone, cabinets, faucets, and fixtures.

I would love to open up another showroom, however, I'm pretty happy saving the 4-5K a month it takes to operate it properly, not to mention the $$ its going to cost you to open it in the first place.

What I have been toying with is buying another enclosed trailer (probably 8'x18' with high roof) and turn it into a mobile showroom.

It would cost me about $15K, but no extra monthly fees - plus, when not in use I would utilize the trailer as a billboard - several spots here in town to park it.

There's a couple of guys on here who have done it and are doing well with it.
 

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Carpe Diem
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20,742 Posts
I don't know of any regular members on this site that have a showroom. So surely, it's not a necessity. However, you may need to look a little further into that. If a company was around for the boom during the earlier part of the decade, they may have a much better portfolio, referrals and customer base.

Our company was not and is investigating the showroom avenue. To me, I don't want to continue for the next 3-4 years just building relationships to help the business grow. I feel my research into having a retail location has convinced me that it would be the next big jump in business I'd like to achieve. But that's for me.

Your question cannot be answered by any of us. You need to pound the pavement in your area and see if a retail site would benefit your business or not.
 

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Bathroom Remodeler
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622 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That's a pretty awsome idea with the trailer! That would beat the rental space or morgage! I do work alone for the most part (subs electrician/plumber when needed) so I'm not looking to do 100 bathrooms a year, just want the higher end market (haha doesn't everyone!)
I'm sure it will be easier once I get a few of them, it just seems hard to get to when you continuelly get referred in the middle class basic remodels
Thanks for the advice!:thumbsup:
 

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Builder/Remodeler
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3,811 Posts
Hi! I'm new to the site, and wish I could have found this type of blog when I started 8 years ago.....It could have saved me a lot of learning the hard way.
Anyways my question is to those builders/remodelers that get regular 25k-30k bathroom jobs. I've only done 1 luxury bath in that price range and it was for family so it wasn't really a 25k-30 job. Do you have a showroom/separate office to meet clients? Is that what it takes to get luxury bathrooms on a regular basis? One of the hardest selling points for me is the tile design, I feel like I'm just sending the customers to the suppliers to choose tile and in the process am taking away a service from them. I of course have a portfolio and website with past projects (and even videos) but I feel like the next step would be a showroom. Would you recommend this expenditure? :blink:
Thanks
A showroom brings with it a great many issues--not the least of which is a HUGE increase in overhead. There are showrooms failing left and right, and I know several guys who have closed their's in the last few years.

The minute you build a showroom the clock is ticking on the stuff that's in it. Sooner than later there will be all new products and trends to replace everything you've put in there.

I've done a great deal of high-end projects and have never had a showroom. The key for me has been the relationships I've built over the years. From designers to subs to the showrooms and supply houses I use--if someone works with me once, chances are good they'll bring me another project at some point down the road.

In the high end, building networks is the key to long-term success. I've maintained my company's growth, despite the economy, solely on that basis.
 

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Carpe Diem
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20,742 Posts
I agree the trailer idea is awesome. People are generally lazy so if you could bring the showroom to them, that's a big bonus.

However, in my situation, I'd have no where to store the trailer when not in use. That means remote storage, which is an added cost. Also, security is a bigger issue now that it's not at my house.

That's my situation. I still think it's a great idea. :thumbsup:
 

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Registered
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I agree with Chris you have to be able to leverage your contacts.
There is no way one show room is going to have everything for everybody.
The trick is having a designer who can tap into what the clients wants are and know how and where to get it.
Clients and designer will have to shop many showrooms, plumbing, tile, slab, lighting, cabinets etc.
 

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Banned
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14,078 Posts
Hi! I'm new to the site, and wish I could have found this type of blog when I started 8 years ago.....It could have saved me a lot of learning the hard way.
Anyways my question is to those builders/remodelers that get regular 25k-30k bathroom jobs. I've only done 1 luxury bath in that price range and it was for family so it wasn't really a 25k-30 job. Do you have a showroom/separate office to meet clients? Is that what it takes to get luxury bathrooms on a regular basis? One of the hardest selling points for me is the tile design, I feel like I'm just sending the customers to the suppliers to choose tile and in the process am taking away a service from them. I of course have a portfolio and website with past projects (and even videos) but I feel like the next step would be a showroom. Would you recommend this expenditure? :blink:
Thanks
I sell a lot of projects in that range and higher, without a showroom (now), but I can tell you for certain that a showroom would not only help sell more projects in that range, but increase the profits of those jobs as well. You business image changes quite a bit with a showroom, your closing ratios go up and you set yourself apart from all the rest of the market.

It's mostly about volume and nothing else. You are going to have to do a certain volume in any business type, be it kitchens, baths, roofing, siding, windows etc... for a showroom to justify itself.

No showroom is also a glass ceiling. Your market share and profits are certainly capped at a certain level without one.

A showroom can also be kind of considered a deal with the devil. It will allow you to take your business to the next level, but there will be no turning back without a lot of pain and suffering, and you are committed to feeding the showroom beast from then on.

(By the way - you can do tile design prior to sending a customer to your tile supplier)
 

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Luxury bathroom showrooms

I have many showrooms here in vancouver to choose from. My favourite is Cantu Bathrooms in Vancouver at 196 Kingsway (604.688.1252 Hours: Mon - Fri 9am – 5pm Sat 10am – 4 pm).

If you are building your own cabinets - Yes I think you need a showroom. If you are building luxury bathrooms you need to find luxury finishings. All the top retail outlets here in North Vancouver and Vancouver have great show rooms and displays. Cantu has working fixtures and the choices are over the top.

I think if you go all in you need to build a show room with maybe 3 or 4 styles and then finish them. You could be out of pocket 60 thousand and up just in bathroom hardware, then what about tile, cabinets, glass, etc. etc.

Look at the designers that are getting published month after month. I work with 4 designers here in Vancouver and they all have little offices with books and books and magazines and internet files but no full scale rooms.

Show me a picture of what you want and I can build you anything - if you don't have a picture lets look at 600 photos and try and find your style. Shopping for finishings is the high light of the job - the most fun. These items are upscale and beautiful - once on site I can't wait to install them.

Your best showroom will be your current job. Every client loves to show off there work in progress master piece. Right your phone number on your drop sheets and carpet runners. Leave your cards on the vanity. Ace the bathroom and the calls will trickle in. These high end bathrooms take time to finish you only need to build a few every year to keep you busy.
 

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Bathroom Remodeler
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622 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
THanks for all the advice... I think no matter what it can be a costly expenditure. I can see that a showroom could close a job much easier but in building one would be difficult to attract everyones taste (and the clock would be ticking on items used) with a trailer showroom, I think volume of sales is what I might get instead of the high-end jobs where I would only need 2 or 3 a year to do well.
I guess expanding my network and trying to incorporate high-end fixtures and styles in my current jobs to build my portfolio might be the better way to go.
This site and owners in part of this network has inspired me to learn more and has focused me on aspiring to the contractor I want to be....(and the portfolio I would like to have!)
Thanks:notworthy
 

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Registered
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I have a showroom; have had two over the last 14 years. I come at things from a design & remodel perspective, so the chance to have creative displays really bolsters the design part of the business.

One thing to consider about having a showroom is that you can establish accounts to buy at a dealer level for many items, which can either increase your profitability or give you leeway to be more competitive depending on what you choose for each situation.

I don't know how other areas do it, but in the PNW, material distributors have different models. Some only sell through dealer networks, but that is rarer now days with everyone blending roles so much. More common is the tiered discount levels. Those often are something like "designer",then "builder" then "dealer" (wholesale), then "volume dealer", with a little more discount for each level. A showroom and an installer on payroll often qualifies you for a better level. If you're buying at 40 or 50% off of retail instead of 20%, that can help pay for a showroom.

But you do need enough man power to have someone staff it. I think it sends the wrong message to have an appointment only place.

Kathie
 

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Average Joe
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1,209 Posts
This is a great debate as it is also a festering idea for most of us...to showroom or not to showroom.

Inevitably however I think the market/competition/budget will decide for you.

Example, I am in Toronto and as a large city we have a plethora of kitchen/bath showrooms. That's the competition side of the argument, some very high end and therefore the bar of entry in the budget sense is very steep if you want to use your showroom to get your foot into the higher market. Coupled with the fact that these competitors have been around for a long time and built vast networks that take years and costly marketing campaigns.

You then have to investigate your target market/competition ratio.

Then be realistic with costs/budget. Yes, it's very costly and the rent/mortgage doesn't care how many units you sold this month.

On the other hand, you will NEVER be top dog in that sector until you have a showroom.

Don't make such a decision at whim. It takes years of analyzing your market/business plan before you take such a leap or otherwise risk losing everything.

IMO, entering the showroom market is like playing High stakes Poker where your min. buy in is 200k and all the other people sitting at your table are seasoned sharks with a much larger bank roll. You better come prepared and you better have something unique to offer. This is not an open field area of business where there is enough demand to feed supply. Conversely, it's a market with an overabundance of supply all fighting for the demand.

Right now, I get the majority of my high end bath renos through a small network of reliable Designers. Rarely does a high end bath reno get done without a designer's involvement, so to me, they are the golden ticket. Keep them happy, the work will be consistent. I'm doing one bath reno right now that came to me via a designer where the finishes alone cost around 40k for a 60 sq/ft bathroom.

Designers shop around and may deal with as many as 4/5 suppliers for finishes alone for a simple bathroom. When you have a showroom the selection you can offer is very limited for the meticulously discerning high end consumer. Most high end clients from my experience would rather pay more but get EXACTLY what they want in finishes vs settling for one supplier/showroom's selection.
 

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Banned
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That's a really good insight.

I'd just add to it in that I would hope if you go with the showroom you also go with adding a designer to staff it and then control the customer within your showroom with the designer. To me that's the ultimate way to go, because a showroom doesn't have to be like a retail store where you only sell what is within the walls. To me it would be more of like a bright light that attracts the customers and then you (your company) becomes the designer to that customer and you can sell them any products they want, be it what you carry in hand or anything.
 

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I have many showrooms here in vancouver to choose from. My favourite is Cantu Bathrooms in Vancouver at 196 Kingsway (604.688.1252 Hours: Mon - Fri 9am – 5pm Sat 10am – 4 pm).

If you are building your own cabinets - Yes I think you need a showroom. If you are building luxury bathrooms you need to find luxury finishings. All the top retail outlets here in North Vancouver and Vancouver have great show rooms and displays. Cantu has working fixtures and the choices are over the top.

I think if you go all in you need to build a show room with maybe 3 or 4 styles and then finish them. You could be out of pocket 60 thousand and up just in bathroom hardware, then what about tile, cabinets, glass, etc. etc.

Look at the designers that are getting published month after month. I work with 4 designers here in Vancouver and they all have little offices with books and books and magazines and internet files but no full scale rooms.

Show me a picture of what you want and I can build you anything - if you don't have a picture lets look at 600 photos and try and find your style. Shopping for finishings is the high light of the job - the most fun. These items are upscale and beautiful - once on site I can't wait to install them.

Your best showroom will be your current job. Every client loves to show off there work in progress master piece. Right your phone number on your drop sheets and carpet runners. Leave your cards on the vanity. Ace the bathroom and the calls will trickle in. These high end bathrooms take time to finish you only need to build a few every year to keep you busy.
Very good post, I think it should go alittle beyond just picking from a showroom and pictures, once the style is established, I feel the tile setter should have some freedom to work there own flare, that is if they have an imagination to do so. The reason I am posting this , I finished a really nice home, went back for repairs due to electrical boxes being moved. The tile on the kitchen backsplash was 2 in x 24in, and layed down instead of standing up. and the layout was correct to a degree, except no thought was placed with where the tile would land upon the outlets. If the tiles were layed out correctly and stoodup along the backsplash ,It would have turned out great. Just something I notice all the time when I am working inside homes after there done. just plain jane finish work without much flare or thought. And these are not your average cheapie homes. mid-range to high end.
 

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Wood Craftsman
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7,324 Posts
your own personal showroom~ what is your occupation???

Would it be nice - yes, would it help- maybe? As someone mentioned on this thread " products are consistently changing and being updated" and that may be an overhead you don't want to deal with and could cause some financial problems down the road when business gets slow "and it does" then you may regret it later.Anyone that says that they don't have a down time is lying through their teeth and has delusions of grandeur as far as I am concerned.
I have a great distributer with an incredible display so I utilize what is "already" out there ~ I take my clients out for lunch, go over the CAD design I have prepared, then meet with my service rep, introduce them to her and we go from there~ it's all professional and works out very well- that is the selection stage , it is the craftsmanship that they are concerned with. I am a craftsman~ not a distributer.
I have a DVD that I give to my clients after discussing the Design and layout with all of my projects broken down in detail and that has a great impact when it comes to these high priced jobs. They are concerned about the product , craftsmanship, credibility and the price , the later being the first usually but the quotation comes after everything else has been addressed. If I had a showroom the overhead has got to passed on and It just does not make financial sense to me.
As i said before - I am a craftsman~ not a distributer. It's being able to put a professional package together time after time in the same manor and create a system that is going to work and show the professionalism in how you are able to coordinate an expensive proposal. :clap:
my 2 cents.
Brian
 
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