Marcelo and Rita Dobrauchi of Terranova Construction offer high-end kitchens and baths and remodeling in Vienna, Va. The Doubrauchis found that although their customers were willing to spend time and money to create their dream kitchen or master bath, the hallway, basement, or children’s baths were often ignored. To reach that segment of the market, the husband and wife team created Easy Bath, a line of bath packages with installation in less than 14 days.
"[Clients] know they need to maintain [those other bathrooms] to keep up the value of the property, but they don’t want to spend the time that they would for a master bath — our master bath design process can last three months,” Marcelo says.
FEXIBILITY IS KEY
In April 2008 the Dobrauchis notified existing customers about the service, with plans to launch a full marketing effort in September. Packages are designed for the standard 5-by-8-foot bathroom. The key to this system, Rita says, is flexibility. The remodeler offers several choices to clients to finalize the package design: the Web site, a visit to the company showroom, or an in-home visit.
Clients can review the packages at www.myeasybath.com, and can also use the Web site to save and share choices with family, order and approve the design, review financing, schedule an appointment, schedule the project’s start date, and make payments. The most marketable aspect of the site, Marcelo says, is that homeowners can review options anytime. “The Web site is the very soul of [the Easy Bath] concept. Clients don’t have to spend Saturday mornings looking for products.”
Marcelo and the company’s other salespeople will also take sample boards to a potential client’s house, or homeowners can visit the company’s showroom to see materials in person. The firm has invested in a larger showroom, dedicating more than 60% of the square footage to Easy Bath vignettes, and reserving the rest of the space for custom projects. “We will share the space as we will share customers for both types of baths,” Marcelo says.
The bath packages address a range of needs. One $17,900 package, designed for children, offers bright colors and animal-shape sink options. The $20,500 green package has an Energy Star-certified vanity light, recycled glass floor and wall tile, low-VOC paint, and a dual-flush toilet. The $27,500 Easy Living package, for the aging-in-place population, includes a wall-mounted sink and walk-in soaking tub or the option of converting a tub to a shower. Most of the packages offer several options for fixturews, fittings, and tile within the quoted price, but customers can further customize packages for an additional fee.
Once a salesperson visits the house for final measurements and the materials are ordered, the company determines the start date and then finishes the project within 14 days. Terranova Construction uses both in-house carpenters and subcontractors to complete the Easy Bath jobs. “If they find something unexpected, they take pictures, contact the client with a recommendation, and issue a change order,” Marcelo says.
The company owners expect the fluidity of the service to attract new clients. To create market awareness, they are running a contest called “Most Boring Bath.” The winner receives $5,000 toward one of the Easy Bath packages. The couple is also looking into franchising opportunities.