Although businesses in the KBB industry specialise in kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms, their clients are often looking to renovate much more than that, so it is tempting to broaden the offering to cover every room of the home, including lounges, dining rooms, hallways – even outdoor living spaces. In the last of a series of articles by business consultant and trainer Toby Griffin of KBBSupport.com, he looks at the opportunities and potential pitfalls of adding a Whole-Home Renovation offering to an existing KBB business.
Last year, I posted a LinkedIn poll asking whether our industry should be renamed KBBI, with the new suffix 'I' standing for 'Interiors'. This was borne of my own experience of being a kitchen and bathroom retailer who was finding increasing opportunities in performing 'Whole Home Renovation', that was producing very happy clients, and being profitable too. Although perhaps not venturing too far into soft-furnishings, being able to offer a one-stop-shop for a complete home make-over was great for business and elevated our offering above that of our competition.
So how does one go about offering such a broad solution to clients? First things first, it pays to be a good generalist. It will really help to already be both kitchen and bathroom retailer with multi-talented designers and installers, as the skill sets for both of these areas are not easy to pick up quickly. If you need to add fitted bedrooms to your portfolio, then this can be reasonably easily done, so that’s the KBB side covered.
What else then would a client look for in a 'whole house renovation'? Look down. Yes, you can see it: the floor. Throughout every room in a home there is flooring. Now hopefully you’ll already have a good choice and experience in this regard, particularly water-proof options such as large format porcelain tiles, and LVTs, but you will also need to have a decent click flooring choice, and carpets. The best route to access flooring products that are outside your comfort zone is to approach a reputable, local retailer and agree a mutually beneficial arrangement going forward. They can supply you with basic training, pricing, samples, installation; and you can provide them with an easy income going forward.
Before we go any further, it is worth broaching your product price-point range. If you presently offer mid-to-high-end kitchens and bathrooms, you may baulk at less expensive products as being beneath you. Although there is undoubtedly a market for home renovation that only includes the best of products, most clients are willing to take a pragmatic approach for rooms of the home that are less well used, or out of sight from visiting guests. Therefore it is useful to have a broad range of price-points available as required (even if you don’t actually display them), to bring a whole house renovation in on budget.
Next, it’s internal doors. Similar to flooring, a home is full of doors, and these – as companies like Howdens will attest – can be a good source of easy income. Although door experts might protest, once measurements and materials are learned, it is really just a matter of choosing a door that suits the style and taste of the home and client. With your design team having the confidence of your client, then they can guide them through the prices and types with ease.
Wall-coverings are another omnipresent, with paint being the most common. As with doors, once basic paint finishes are understood e.g. matt, gloss, and the excellent egg-shell; and a good decorator engaged to apply them, then colour choices are just a matter of taste and confidence. Go bold for the homeowner market, but play it safer for the buy-to-sell or landlord clients.
Decking is always popular for outdoors entertaining such as parties and barbeques, so understanding the options, pricing and styles is once again part of a whole home renovation. Samples and choices are pretty easy to come by, and the handier of your kitchen/bedroom joiners should be able to turn their hand to installing decking without problems.
Finally, windows and external doors is a big topic. Similar to specialist flooring though, I would take the approach of buddying-up with a reputable local windows, doors and bi-folds company; who will provide all of the expertise and support your team need to design and sell in their offering.
So there we go – a few things to look out for when considering moving into whole home renovations from a kitchens and bathrooms business. I wish you luck, and I’m always willing to offer my time and advice, so get in contact for a chat.
To contact Toby and find out more about kbbsupport.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org.