At the end of a home show, Gary Crowley has usually accomplished two things. First, he's placed the Crowley Construction name in front of about 10,000 homeowners. Second, he's sold his booth display cabinets -- and has probably gotten the job renovating the kitchen. Crowley has participated in the local Colchester, Vt., Home Builders Association home show for 10 years. For the past three, he chose to display kitchen cabinets and then sell them to a homeowner at the end of the three-day show. "We're not charging the full price of the cabinets. Our agenda is to get in the door to get a job. The last two displays I sold, the homeowners hired us to do the kitchen remodel. I sold one display for $7,000 and got a $35,000 job," he says.
In the past, Crowley used raffles or photos of his work at the booth, but he says that was boring. Crowley and his cabinet distributor negotiate a discount with the manufacturer -- a discount that extends to the homeowner. "One year, we sold the cabinets for $4,000, and they were worth $8,000," he says. In addition, the manufacturer uses the show to introduce high-quality lines, so the homeowners receive top-of-the-line cabinets for a regular-budget kitchen.
Crowley orders common cabinet sections, such as a sink base, drawer base, and a lazy Susan corner cabinet. That way, when he installs the cabinets, he only needs one or two additional cabinets to fill the homeowners' kitchen. "It's better to go with small cabinets -- you can change them around easier than bigger cabinets," Crowley says. He usually throws in the laminate countertop for free.