Monday, August 28, 2017

Why Is Design Fee Charged?

I started in this business years ago. Those were the days Home Depot and Lowe's NEVER charged a Design fee. Now they charge $150 just to send someone out for a measure. Why would they switch policies? Thousands, perhaps millions of dollars ( across the country ) have been lost to inaccurate measuring.

As big box retailers began to spring up in America's neighborhoods they were challenged with the task of building a brand homeowners would trust enough to switch from custom cabinet makers and local hardware stores. Free Design was a powerful lure to attract curious customers. This was also beneficial to Home Depot and Lowe's. They needed to train employees to design on CAD ( Computer Assisted Design ) software being launched. The big box retailers did not send their "trainees" to specialized CAD classes or schools. Since "practice makes perfect" ( well, at least hopefully) the more designs each was given to do was seen as great training. This was how most kitchen bath designers began their careers in the late 80's to early 90's. Yes, it is true. Customers would walk in with a piece of notebook paper they sketched a elementary "design" of their current space , with or without measurements and ask you to design a new kitchen for them. We as newbies were happy to do so. We were working our shift and were being paid so why not practice designing. Are you shocked? I am telling the truth. Obviously, this approach was potentially disastrous.

Times have changed thankfully. However, it is important you understand how to determine what is fair and what is not.

Whatever your profession happens to be the truth is, time equals money. Time is the only thing so valuable that it can never be replaced. In the constructions business , especially in the remodeling genre, measurements are critical! Accuracy is key. Why? The answer is 1/8th of an inch can make the difference between the design and cabinets in it fitting your space. Yes, it is that important!

There is some flexibility in new construction because you have more options starting from scratch. You can change the placement of a door, opening, or window in the process of building a new home.
Once a house is built all of those important placements are permanent unless you are replacing a wall for a kitchen or bath addition.

Here at Apple Wood Kitchen and Bath our design fee is the lowest I am personally aware of in the area. It is only $300. It is non refundable yet fully deducted from the cost of your cabinetry if you decide to award your job to us. I have worked for many Remodeling Construction Companies in New England and in California. There are various levels of expertise and design ability represented in this area.  It is critical for a homeowner to do their due diligence and vet the "professionals " they consider possible to award their project to. You can search through this blogs archives to find my articles on the distinctions between various levels of professionals people consider hiring.

The top level is a Design Build Company, which Apple Wood Kitchen and Bath is. We surpass being only a handyman, finish carpenter , or big box retailer that hires outside installers. We are a complete full service soup to nuts approach. Design Build means from the very start until the last moment of your project, we manage every detail for you. You are not spending a minute trying to schedule, find, check on or follow up with a subcontractor. From the Design phase to through the build phase the design and build team are synergistic and connected to ensure excellence with the least possible
stress or inconvenience to the homeowner.

Truthfully, this level of professionalism typically requires a minimum of $2500 to $5000 deposit before the designer even begins working on a design. This is the standard from the Boston Area up to Concord, and the Sea Coasts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. As you can see $300 is very low amount to invest for the time consuming work of  creating a design of your project. For that low fee which will be deducted from your cabinetry you will spend valuable time sharing your dream project with our design and build team experts. The definition of what you envision will be accomplished through questions, measurements, going over ideas you may have collected in your dream folder, views of the design in the showroom with a 3D digital presentation, and some design changes to the project, if you want them. $300 is a nominal fee for the time spent to help you discover exactly what your perfect project is.

We do have another option for clients who are confident they can measure, hand draw, and present us
a plan that will fit the space they have measured themselves based on our Online Option, Measuring Guide.  For only $150 we will take your specific measurements place it in the CAD software for you. We will email you a 360 degree design for you to review. If you are confident it will fit and is your final selection, the pricing will be done and you will meet with the designer for your final acceptance and approval to place the order based on your measurements.

You can check out our two options: The Convenient Online Option or The Full Service Option at

Friday, August 4, 2017

How BUSY Families Find Time to Remodel

Today's family is typically made up of two parents employed full time. Most have lengthy commutes as well. Once the kids come along, parents can feel they are Uber Drivers. That is American life now.
Every member of a family have multiple opportunities to express their talents and interests. All of them require the most important yet limited asset, time.

Like anything there are positives and negatives to how family life is, no matter the generation or time frame. The American dream of owning your own home is still key in our culture. We love our homes. We want to improve the the nest we work hard to buy, own, and maintain. Sometimes, we are fortunate and find the perfect house in the perfect community. However, most find a home they can
turn into the dream home with some patience, TLC, and remodeling projects.

Here we face the time constraint issue square in the face. Few homeowners are prepared for the time and details required to seek the right professional they can trust. Then the appointments that need to be scheduled when both decision makers are available to go to a showroom to discuss their dream project, approve designs, make revisions, and then, start the time eating selection process. It is daunting for a single person. Scheduling a couple with two careers can multiply the complexity.

The traditional full service way remodeling projects have been handled is available. However, for the technically savvy newer generations, we have a wonderful new internet approach. Our clients who buy and do everything on the internet love the Convenient Online Option we offer at Apple Wood Kitchen and Bath. This option saves a minimum of two in showroom appointments required for the normal Full Service Option.

Both options produce excellent results. For clients who trust purchasing online, we have simplified the process by having the homeowner fill out a questionnaire, take pictures of the kitchen or bath and email them to us along with measurements taken by themselves. A design is completed based on the information provided with a very reasonable design fee. We help you select your cabinets. If you want us to bid installation, we will. Or you can DIY or find any contractor you wish.  

We are ready to help you create your dream project. Just go online to to get started.