In the first of a series of articles for KBBFocus, business consultant and trainer Toby Griffin of KBBSupport.com looks at the opportunities and pitfalls facing you if you're considering branching out to another side of our industry.
So you’re thinking about expanding your kitchens business, and go into bathrooms, eh? You’re excited by the potential, but have heard a few horror stories, so you really don’t know who or what to believe. To help you make the right decision for you and your business – and having made the transition myself – let’s discuss the topic together.
First things first – let’s talk about the similarities:
For a start, there are a huge number of transferable skills amongst your Sales-Design team: everything from measuring up, interior-design ethic, room visualisation, interpersonal skills, getting a brief, presentation skills, and understanding of electrics and joinery.
There are also a huge number of transferable skills amongst your support, admin, logistics and management team too; as it’s still a case of ordering the right stuff, getting it to site on time, engaging good tradespeople, project management and on-site problem solving.
The type of customers who are buying new kitchens are also the type of customers buying new bathrooms too! They will have a property to renovate, some spare money to do so, an interest in home improvement, and will want to deal with you as they trust the company.
In fact, the whole process of a customer’s kitchen journey with your company, will be very similar to that of their bathroom journey too. The speed and approach is very familiar ground.
So next, let’s talk about the differences:
From a design and specification perspective, there is one big mental leap that must be overcome. In the huge majority of cases, kitchens are fitted, and bathrooms are modular; and therefore the pressure for uniformity and the perfect-fit in kitchen design, is not present in bathroom design. Bathrooms are full of white ceramic/acrylic and glass, and the products rarely touch, so different brands products can be specified into the same room and they sit together well.
Get ready to learn a hell of a lot more about plumbing, tiling, joists and wall/floor construction. In most cases, a kitchen can be designed for a room with only a basic survey, and certain installation issues can be got around without too much sweat. For bathrooms, the initial site survey is paramount, and sets the parameters of the design from the get-go.
Bathrooms are much more labour intensive, and having reliable installers – preferably multi-skilled with bags of initiative – is vital. The successful delivery of the project is highly reliant on them; and their mistakes are far more costly to rectify.
You might need a new CAD system. Most KBB-specialist CAD companies offer both kitchen and bathroom design in their portfolio, but almost none do them equally as well. Speak to your CAD representative and ask them to present how their system handles bathrooms; and also make sure you look into the range of catalogues, and how up-to-date they are.
So there you have it – a few things to look out for when considering a move into bathrooms from a kitchens business. I wish you luck, and am always here to offer help and advice if you need it.
To contact Toby and find out more about kbbsupport.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org.