More people are working from home, vacationing at home, and spending time in their backyards than ever before. As a result, homeowners are looking to invest in their homes to improve their outdoor living experience. This mindset is making the outdoor kitchen business, which was already a rising trend, ripe for an explosion. Now is the time to refine your outdoor kitchen offerings and your selling process to take advantage of these market conditions.
TIP 1: EXPAND YOUR NETWORK TO CREATE FULL KITCHEN “PACKAGES”
Many homeowners have no clue where to start the planning process and can get overwhelmed by the possibilities. If you can narrow that down into more digestible choices, that will increase the homeowner’s ability to make design decisions and pull the trigger.
- Research different types of countertop and bar ledge options (porcelain tile, granite, poured concrete, etc.) and align with local fabricators and suppliers.
- Align with grill, outdoor appliance, and lighting suppliers so that you can offer a variety of options. Also consider incorporating upgrade options like brick pizza ovens, fire features, water features, and shade products.
- Negotiate mutually beneficial arrangements with suppliers and tradesmen that can keep your prices competitive to avoid the desire for homeowners to attempt to save money by subbing everything out themselves. Controlling the process means faster turnarounds and more money in your pocket in the long run. Think big picture.
- Don’t go overboard with too many package options, or the homeowner can get overwhelmed. Try to keep each element of the design limited to A, B or C. For more sophisticated buyers, however, you may want to keep some custom selections in your back pocket.
TIP 2: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TIME-SAVING TECHNOLOGIES
Time-saving innovations will not only help you turn jobs faster, they can make it easier to create kitchen packages. These Belgard innovations make it easier construct outdoor kitchens that coordinate effortlessly with hardscaped outdoor living spaces.
- The Belgard Elements™ line of prefabricated kitchen modules come shipped in sections and install in hours compared to the days or weeks required to construct similar designs on site.
- Weston Stone® Outdoor Living Kits are not preassembled but are designed and packaged in a way to minimize masonry cuts and dramatically speed installation.
- Tandem® Modular Grid allows custom stone kitchen builds in a fraction of the time. Simply construct a wooden frame, attached the grid, and affix stones to the grid. Stones are available in 3 different face options: chiseled (with or without false ashlar-pattern joints), stacked stone, and smooth.
TIP 3: CHECK INTO LOCAL ORDINANCES AND CONSTRUCTION CODES
Codes can vary by municipality that affect how an outdoor kitchen can be constructed, often limiting design choices or affecting cost. Homeowner association covenants can also be a factor. Whenever possible, be sure to do your research BEFORE meeting with the client. Nothing can take the wind out of a homeowner’s sails like falling in love with a design element, like an outdoor fireplace, only to find out it’s not allowed or is cost-prohibitive.
TIP 4: USE BELGARD DESIGN STUDIO RENDERINGS TO SELL DESIGN CONCEPTS
As long as Belgard products are used in the design, the Belgard Design Studio can create photorealistic 3D design renderings free of charge for members of the Belgard Contractor Program. Other contractors can also have access to the Design Studio for a fee. Designs can include flythrough animation or 360-degree virtual reality views of the project incorporating the homeowner’s actual home using HOVER 3D home modeling technology. Contractors who use the Belgard Design Studio report a reduction in miscommunication and design revisions, improved efficiency of material orders, and a 3-in-4 chance of closing the deal.
TIP 5: OFFER FINANCING TO MAKE IT MORE AFFORDABLE
Members of the Belgard Contractor Program also have access to Belgard Preferred Payment financing. This flexible financing program gives contractors a competitive edge by providing an economical way for homeowners to build now and pay later. Loans are available up to $65,000 and can include hardscapes, landscaping, labor, appliances and furniture – allowing you to sell complete backyard packages.
TIP 6: GET THE WORD OUT
Promote your company’s ability to build outdoor kitchens by including a library of kitchen design ideas on your website and social media platforms. If your company doesn’t already have a Pinterest page, now would be a good time to set one up. You can create separate Pinterest boards for different designs or kitchen package elements. Belgard has a wealth of gorgeous kitchen images that are available for free use for any Belgard Contractor. You can even save images directly from the Belgard Pinterest boards to your own. Once you have specific packages created, contact the Belgard Design Studio to inquire about creating 3D renderings of each package that you can include in your photo libraries and Pinterest boards.