After nervously weathering a lull in business this past winter, I’ve been blessed with a “flash flood” of kitchen design clients over the past eight weeks.
I am not alone in the “feast or famine” home improvement business cycle. Just about everyone in the home remodeling industry experiences a sharp upturn in business during the April – October peak season when homeowners decide they are ready to get started on the home improvements they’ve been dreaming about through the holiday season and winter months.
The spring and summer seasons are a thrilling time of year, when I get to apply my unique talents and skill sets in service to a variety of clients, each with their own unique vision, budget, space constraints, design tastes, and expectations.
It is also a crazy-making time of year when I and my team members are challenged to manage homeowner expectations while keeping each kitchen remodeling project on schedule, within budget, and tend to the hundreds of details involved in every kitchen remodeling project.
A kitchen designer’s job is akin to an orchestral conductor who must ensure that each member of the orchestra is properly rehearsed, cued to play their part at the exact right point in time, and in perfect balance with their fellow musicians from the beginning to the end of the symphony.
When a new client hires me, they are usually eager to get started on their kitchen remodeling project immediately. And I am eager to please them with a kitchen design that delights and exceeds their expectations.
My tasks as a kitchen designer include:
- an initial consultation with each client where I ask clarifying questions and listen deeply to identify the client’s vision, goals and budget,
- evaluating existing space constraints,
- perfect measurement taking,
- project documentation,
- aesthetic prowess,
- attention to details when ordering, and
- the ability to accommodate the client’s change requests at any point in time without losing focus and momentum
… all while maintaining sanity in my own personal life.
My own job is complicated by the availability of my trade partners who, like me, are working with other clients who each have their own set of needs and scheduling expectations.
During the peak remodeling season from April – October, cabinet manufacturers, appliance and plumbing suppliers, countertop fabricators, and tile shops are all operating at full or capacity, striving to meet the demand and deliver their products and services on schedule to each and every customer.
When consumer demand is at its peak, and each service provider and manufacturer is working at full capacity to meet the demand while the market is “hot,” it is inevitable that mistakes will be made.
So if you, dear prospective client, want to ensure the best outcome for your kitchen remodeling project, here are my suggestions:
- Start early, well before the peak season hits. Home remodeling contractors have plenty of time from October – February to give you the undivided attention you want and deserve. A successful kitchen or home remodeling project takes months to complete. You need to allow a realistic amount of time for advance planning, mid-stream changes of plans, and contractor scheduling, especially if you want your remodeling project completed in time for the holiday season.
- When you meet with a designer and contractor, know that their cost estimates and estimated completion time are just estimates. It is impossible to accurately determine the final cost and time frame for your project until all key elements have been identified, including fixture, appliance and finish selections, permitting, manufacturing schedules, subcontractor availability, and delays due to weather or unforeseen construction circumstances.
- Be flexible. I have found that by the time a client is ready to leap into the process, a sense of urgency overwhelms them. Everyone involved in your project wants to be efficient and get the job done on time, on budget, and in a way that leaves you thrilled and delighted. But the reality is that planning any remodeling project will take much longer than you expect. You will be happier when you align your expectations with reality.
- Do not impose your unrealistic expectations for a speedy and perfect delivery on your remodeling team. When remodeling contractors pressure their employees and subcontractors to “hurry up” to please you, mistakes will be made and you will not be happy with the final outcome.
Sandra Brannock designs beautiful, timeless, functional kitchens that reflect your personal style, within your budget. She helps discerning homeowners throughout Northern and Central Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC get the kitchen of their dreams and select the perfect cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, lighting, and appliances to make their dream kitchen a reality.
Call Sandra today at (703) 801-6402 to schedule a kitchen remodeling consultation. Sandra will help you get the most value out of your kitchen remodeling budget and ensure that all the details of your kitchen renovation proceed smoothly, on time and within budget.