To generate new business, you must do a certain amount of “showing off” so potential clients can get a feel for your work. Open houses are great, but they’re only feasible right after you’ve completed a job.
In the meantime, your showroom and your home show booth can suffice nicely when clients are in the market. Unfortunately, the expense of maintaining both can be daunting, especially for a smaller company.
For Tony Szak, president of Empire Development & Construction, in Onalaska, Wis., the solution is a showroom display that can be taken apart and easily reassembled into an instant home show booth. “Our showroom isn’t huge, but it’s big enough for what we need,” Szak says of Empire’s 300-square-foot showroom that becomes a 10-by-30-foot show booth. “I basically designed the booth around the displays I had in my showroom,” he adds.
Empire’s showroom displays a number of bathroom setups, cabinetry, and lighting options, as well as framed photos of finished projects.
Szak says the transformation from showroom to booth is only a matter of unscrewing the fixtures and displays from the wall in his showroom, packing them up, and transporting them to the home show, then setting it all up again. If it’s a weekend show, the Empire showroom is back up and running by Monday without skipping a beat.
The man hours it takes to disassemble, transport, and reassemble the display from the showroom to a home show is the biggest expense for Duane Oglesby, owner of Oglesby Construction, in Portland, Ore., since he got his display for free when a fellow contractor went out of business. The cabinet supplier that had built the 10-by-20-foot setup couldn’t get rid of it, and Oglesby gladly took it off his hands. The only cost Oglesby has incurred so far has been the $200 he spent for an extra set of cabinets.
It takes roughly two to three hours to take down the display and about five hours to put it back together, Oglesby says. “I’ve even toyed with the idea of buying a trailer and making it a mobile showroom,” he says, adding that “everything’s gotta serve at least two purposes these days.” At home shows, he generally sets up his booth adjacent to an appliance distributor that lets him use its appliances to show clients their options.
Aside from the convenience, Szak’s multitasking display has saved him money. “If I didn’t do it this way, I’d want to buy another vanity display — and that’s $5,000,” he says, adding that it would cost at least another $2,000 for the displays to mimic what he has in the showroom.
—Mark A. Newman, senior editor, REMODELING.
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