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Supply chain disruptions have been the biggest challenges to the kitchen remodeling industry over the last year. Essential products such as cabinets and appliances are becoming more expensive and hard to come by. The increased challenge of finding essential kitchen remodeling products has basically doubled the time it takes to complete a project. This strain on the supply chain has frustrated kitchen remodelers and their clients alike. However, you don’t have to completely submit to supply chain difficulties, you can overcome them by taking the right steps and setting the right expectations for clients. Here are a few proactive steps kitchen remodeling companies can take to diminish supply chain issues.
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Set the right client expectations and provide flexible options
The first thing kitchen remodelers need to do is set the proper expectations for your client. This should be the first thing you do when signing a new client. The reality is that completing a kitchen or bathroom remodel is going to take longer and clients need to be accurately informed on those increased completion times. More often than not clients will understand why their remodel is taking so long to complete as long as you are honest with them about wait times and the project is completed in the timeframe you suggested.
It is also important that remodelers and their clients are flexible when it comes to the style of their kitchen or bathroom. If a client wants a particular light fixture, then you need to make sure you have second and third options that are similar in case the first option isn’t going to arrive at a reasonable time. Whenever you sign a new client ask them about what secondary options they like in order to set up flexible expectations early. There are many remodeling options that can give your client a similar look and feel they want for their kitchen or bathroom. For example, we have found many clients looking for marble countertops, which have been difficult to find. So instead of waiting for marble countertops, we have been informing our clients of our man-made quartz options. There are many options that mimic the look and feel of marble and suggesting this other product to the client is a way we can find options that allow us to work on their dream kitchen.
Establishing the right expectations and providing a flexible plan B is essential to ensuring you can properly inform clients on supply chain issues and show them you have proactive ways to get around the issue.
Take on different jobs
Certain remodeling jobs are going to require you to wait for products to get in. If you are waiting for cabinets then you can’t really start the rest of the remodel until you get those cabinets. A way to mitigate your issues with the supply chain is to focus on work that is less dependent on strained supply chains. Take on jobs that don’t require long wait times such as a kitchen remodel that already has cabinets or a bathroom remodel that already has a nice vanity. Not all supply chain issues are equal and many kitchen remodels don’t need high-demand products and can still be completed in a normal timeframe. Doing these jobs gives your remodeling company the opportunity to close out more projects while you are waiting on jobs that require you to wait on supply chains. Be creative about what jobs your take so you are always actively working on remodels and not waiting for product.
Build stronger relationships with your suppliers
Supply chain issues are not only stressful for remodelers, but they are also stressful for suppliers. Stressful situations can bring people together so take this opportunity to build stronger relationships with your suppliers. Establishing an open line of communication and building trust with different suppliers will make you more informed about what products are hard to find and who may have them. Good relationships with vendors mean both parties are constantly updating each other on what they need and when they will be able to fulfill that requests.
When you create good relationships with vendors it makes it more likely that you will be one of the first calls they make when high-demand products arrive. Building relationships with vendors also means you will be more educated on the reasons why supply chain issues might be holding up a project. Having a deeper understanding of the issue means you can better explain the situation to the client. It is better for your remodeling company to explain specifically why a client’s cabinets are going to take six months to arrive instead of just telling them they have to wait six months.
The vendors you build relationships with should be good vendors and you should not be afraid to cut ties with vendors who are not meeting your needs or being dishonest about when your product will arrive.
Building trust with vendors is the best way to ensure you are informed about supply chain issues and able to work around them.
Supply chain issues are a real challenge in the remodeling industry, but there are ways to be proactive and work around them. Accurately set expectations for your clients, offer them a backup plan, build strong relationships with your vendors, and find jobs less affected by supply chains. Doing these things ensures you will find ways to finish work despite issues with supply.
Amber Carfield is the Design Director at Kitchens by Good Guys, a kitchen remodeling company in Scottsdale, Arizona. Carfield has worked in the kitchen remodeling industry since 2000 and is an expert on all aspects of a kitchen remodel.