KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Jan 13 2011

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Why you’re in the right business as a kitchen & bath designer

I just received an email from one of my coaching clients who told me he lost a job to another designer, and not just any designer, a kitchen and bath specialist.

If you’ve questioned your choice of professions in the last few years with the change in the economy, you’re not alone. However, you have a better opportunity than 80% of the other design industry professionals because you are a specialist.

Think about your doctor, do you pay more to go to a specialist or a general practitioner? I went to the www.StudentDoc.com website and the average family practitioner earns an average of $204,000 (high of $299,000) compared to a neurosurgeon who earns $541,000 (high of $936,000). That’s a 265% premium for the extra education and specialization.

I know you’re not a doctor, but compared to interior design generalists, your income is higher according to salary figures for your profession. Be sure to download our Interior Design Fee & Salary Survey eBook just published January 4, 2011. Based on those figures, your opportunity to make a healthy income is much greater than interior designers.

Also, the trends for 2011 show an increase in remodeling interest and activity especially with tax credits in your specialty area as shown in this graphic from NAHB:

gail doby
The news is significantly better for you than last year, so how do you capitalize on that trend?

I’ll share five favorite tips:

1. Joint ventures with an interior design generalist. Interior designers who aren’t CKDs or CBDs, but want projects that include kitchens and baths may welcome a joint venture so they can still get a job and do the parts they love.

2. Specialize even more. Think about the outdoor kitchen opportunities. People love to enjoy their outside space, so think about a marketing campaign around that specialty because it’s not nearly as stressful or expensive as a full kitchen remodel. Or, how about a campaign for Father’s Day to upgrade the garage with cabinets and organization. You can offer a gift certificate for wives to give this as a gift…and the husband just might be grateful enough to give his wife a master bath or kitchen renovation.

3. Direct mail campaign. You can create a great campaign around the growing trends. Affluent clients are starting to spend again, so develop a program with postcards, a special report about kitchen and bath trends that they can download when they opt-in on your blog or website. Then subscribe them to an email newsletter full of tips and stories. You do have one, don’t you?

4. Public relations. Approach your local radio or TV stations about an idea for a story. A press pitch should have a “hook,” so talk about the trends and perhaps you can land an interview. Be sure to add to your marketing materials and website, “As seen/heard on…”

5. Referral program. This is the perfect time of year to create a complete referral program. One for your referral partners like vendors, community leaders, business people and interior designers. Develop a second one for your current clients, and another one for your past clients.

January is the perfect time to re-energize your marketing efforts. Please post comments about your favorite marketing strategy during the last few years. Let’s help our industry shine in 2011.

—Gail Doby, ASID is the cofounder and chief vision officer for Design Success University, Your Shortcut for a More Profitable and Passion-Filled Design Business. Download your complimentary copy of the Interior Design Fee & Salary Survey eBook for more great ideas to increase your profits in 2011.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 13th, 2011 at 6:00 AM and is filed under Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.