Design Then Build Remodeling Niche

This class of remodeling is probably the most profitable and also the most challenging. I will go over some of the advantages of Design-Then-Build (DTB) to help you evaluate if this is the right niche for you.

A Design-Then-Build firm is a company that offers one-stop shopping, in that it can lead the client from initial concept to the final product. You will help the client evaluate and plan the project before building, and provide them with a road map, that will lead them from the initial concept all the way to the end of the project. In general, this type of contractor will do larger jobs that require some form of design. Kitchens, baths, master suites, home theaters, basements, attics, additions and whole house renovations make up the lion’s share of this niche. DTB can be a highly profitable niche, in that you can reap the profits from the design, product selection and consultation, material purchases, and building the actual project. When a client hires you to design the project, you are virtually assured of getting the job because they have already invested time and money in you. (I keep the contracts for design and building separate.) You will also maintain control over the whole job, which I believe to be of utmost importance. In addition to what I spoke about in the General Remodelers article, here are some of the services that you may offer your clients if you are a design-then-build company.

Development of the project concept – During this phase you will gather all of the client’s ideas, pictures and sketches and begin to formulate the conceptual drawings. You first need to listen to the customer’s dreams and ideas, see if the basic project is feasible, and then, without going any further, throw out a rough estimate for the project. Learn to do this, and it will save you weeks and even months of wasted time. A large portion of the general population still think you can build a kitchen with fine cabinetry, built-in appliances and granite countertops for $15,000. Well, you can’t. And if that is their budget then it’s time to say that it was nice to meet them and go back to the office. Develop general costs for each type of project and use those figures as a benchmark to get started (or not). Over time you will refine your figures as you have more and more historical data. Once you have obtained at least a vague idea that they can afford the project, then the next step is to let them know how much your design work will cost. With these two items on the table, they can now make the decision to move ahead with the design.

Product selection – In most cases you can’t complete a design without most of the products being selected. Emphasize this to the client. With the majority of the products selected you will be way ahead when the project starts. I use product selection as another profit center, which is either charged by the hour after the design fee is satisfied or it is built into the design retainer.

Building the project – You might think that there is no difference between a DTB building a project and a general remodeler. The main difference is that you have had the time to study and prepare for this project from its conception. You know the clients well by now and already have their trust. You know what products they have selected and have drawn up a purchase schedule so that the job moves along on schedule without a hitch. This creates a big advantage for you. You will be able to schedule and build the project in the most efficient manner, which can only mean – more profit.

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We specialize in decks, bathrooms and basements and kitchens
We will refinish, resurface replace build composite decks. Trex decks.
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