The recession brought remodeler Jack McGrath smaller, less design-intensive projects, so he needed to streamline his sales process to maintain profit margins. “The things we offered on larger projects we condensed down into the projects people are buying today,” he says, noting that with fewer large, whole-house jobs and additions, “you don’t use as many architects.” And without drawings, it was difficult for clients to visualize the remodeler’s descriptions of the changes to their homes.
So McGrath, who is president of Jonathan McGrath Construction, in Longwood, Fla., purchased SoftPlan and ProKitchen software to create presentations, which he shows to clients on a 50-inch screen in his office.
McGrath had SoftPlan installed on his server and laptop and says that with a few hours of training he was able to create plans using the software. And, since some of the architects he works with also use SoftPlan, McGrath can easily communicate any changes to them. For more elaborate projects, he sends SoftPlan drawings to an architect to prepare formal plans.
With ProKitchen, McGrath can create 3-D kitchen drawings, which he can “spin around so you can look at it from any angle,” he says. “Even if you can’t read plans, you can definitely understand it in 3-D.”
He can also import his cabinet company’s catalog — handy since most projects involve cabinetry in kitchens, baths, wet bars, or game rooms. The program also imports the cabinet company’s pricing, so “when I finish a design I can push one button to get the budget,” McGrath says.
Becoming proficient in ProKitchen took a bit more time, but, McGrath says, it was worth it because it helps him to sell projects. He says a couple of people have told him, “You’re the first person to show me what my actual kitchen will look like.” Though he now spends more time on in-house design than in the past, he says, “It also adds sales, and sales add to my bottom line.”
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.