While turning a master bath into a sybaritic spa can be a major project, updating a hall or child’s bathroom is usually a pretty straightforward job. But potential clients still find the prospect daunting, so these rooms are often the last in a house to get spiffed up.
Why not make the whole process easy and quick — and keep crews busy between larger projects — by offering bath packages with an assortment of choices, a range of prices, and a set time commitment for completion?
“Out here there are a lot of homes built in the ’70s and ’80s that have bathrooms with oak cabinets, laminate countertops, and vinyl floors,” says April Bettinger, general manager of Shirey Handyman Service, in Issaquah, Wash. “People want to update them but don’t want a Taj Mahal remodel. Through talking with a lot of our customers we found that they were overwhelmed with choices, which stopped them from going further. I’d been selling bathrooms from my desk for years, but now we’ve put a name on it, Simple Solutions.”
Shirey offers two packages, traditional or contemporary, at two price points: $8,000 to $12,000 for a basic treatment or $12,000 to $15,000 for something more elaborate. Both include Toto toilets, Moen or Danze fixtures, Kohler or American Standard tubs.
The company designed a simple line card that spells out the details, which is handed out at trade shows, left in clients’ homes, included in periodic newsletters, and featured on Shirey’s website. Two products have been purposely left out of the Simple Solutions’ package: lighting and mirrors. “We tried to offer [specific] choices, but it has never worked out,” Bettinger says. “Those things are just too personal, so we budget a certain amount and let the clients do the choosing.”
Terranova Construction, Kitchen and Bath, in Vienna, Va., also boasts of simplicity with its EasyBath line of nine bath packages, which range in price from $11,200 (Fresh Start) to $25,500 (Easy Living) and are guaranteed to be completed within 10 to 14 days.
Terranova touts its Easy Bath program as an “Internet service division” because the entire process, from choosing and customizing a package to submitting that design as an order, can be done online. Customers can also come into the company’s showroom or get a visit from a designer at home. “The majority of our clients come to the showroom once, but that’s all,” says co-owner Marcelo Dobrauchi. “Everything else is done at home or over the phone or via the Internet.”
--Kathleen Stanley is a freelance writer in Washington D.C.