The primary challenge in selling pre-designed bathrooms is client perception that they are getting something less -- not custom or special -- and therefore should receive a substantial cost savings. You may have success with a pre-designed bathroom when selling to the middle market, because that client appreciates the benefits of "off the shelf" purchases and cares less about a custom bath. But the need for financing may be more critical for success. Also, the sales process requires showroom vignettes and photos or 3-D sketches.

When Case Design/Remodeling launched a bath division in 1997, we determined that creating processes and maintaining the client perception that every project has its own identity would be what worked in our upper-middle market. The process includes the use of "production proven" name brand products and special sales presentation tools and training. We also incorporate the selection process and use laptops to estimate and write proposals. --Mark Richardson is president of Case Design/Remodeling, Bethesda, Md. (301) 229-4600;