Kyle T. Webster

A few years ago, Steven Feigeles wouldn’t have dreamed of investing $200 to $500 in preliminary architectural drawings for “possible” projects. At a time when eager clients and winning bids were plentiful, the cost and time involved were just too steep to justify.

Fast forward to 2010 and this vice president of sales at Premier Builders & Remodeling, in Williamstown, N.J., says that his company’s close rates have increased as a result of that extra step. The 12-employee firm, which specializes in design/build remodeling with an emphasis on in-law and master suites, is also able to mobilize faster once projects do solidify.

Premier Builders formed a relationship with an outside architectural firm that creates the preliminary drawings on projects that “we feel are serious,” Feigeles says, “but that haven’t been awarded yet.” Feigeles and his team take photos and measurements and then hand them over to the architect, who drafts the preliminary sketches for $200 to $500, depending on project size.

Money Well Spent

The out-of-pocket expense pays off for the remodeling company on several fronts. It lets the customer know that the remodeler is “serious” about getting the project and is willing to get some skin in the game in order to close the deal. Having the drawings prepped in advance also puts the remodeler two weeks ahead of schedule and budget once the homeowner signs the contract.

“When we do sell the project, we’re already ahead on architectural fees,” says Feigeles, who adds that he is now using the strategy on about 85% of the company’s bids. He estimates that close rates are up by about 15% as a result. “It’s certainly a viable strategy for us and is money well spent,” Feigeles says.

—Bridget McCrea is a freelance writer in Dunedin, Fla.