Designer Tim Schrock, owner of Design Build Solutions LLC, in Lebanon, Ind., has embraced blogging, twittering, and LinkedIn. He goes to industry shows and markets to remodelers and builders. Now he is reaching out to homeowners directly by engaging them in the design process face-to-face in a low-key way. “We’re bringing homeowners through our process to show them what the design/build process could be like,” Schrock says of his one-hour fantasy makeover design sessions.
Schrock could see that clients were having a difficult time parting with their money and that they were nervous about the remodeling process. “People feel they’re getting scammed,” he says. Working with Joe Dellanno, owner of consulting company My Design Build Coach, Schrock developed the parties to set potential clients at ease.
The design sessions cost the prospect $50. Schrock brings a computer, projector, and screen to the home. A day before the party, he talks with the homeowners, asks about their needs, and enters measurements into Chief Architect. Once at the home, Schrock presents design ideas in 3-D and can show scale and materials. Sometimes he invites a contractor. “He or she adds validity and can offer ballpark figures,” Schrock says. “If we can scare up five or six $50,000 projects a year for a contractor, that’s pretty successful. This is a marketing piece that a lot of contractors don’t have time for. We hope to create buzz with the fun tech stuff.”
The parties are intended to be fun; there’s no real discussion of cost; homeowners are just playing the “what if?’ game. “Typically, [there’s the sense that] remodeling is not fun. There are headaches and cost overruns,” says Schrock, who encourages prospects to invite friends and family to the party.
“[These design sessions are] a low-cost thing for homeowners,” he says. “They can see a quick idea of what might relieve their pain and solve their problem.” Homeowners can opt to move forward and continue with a design process that will be used for construction — or not. “They’ve paid their money, and we’re happy that they’re happy,” Schrock says.
—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.