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    Inside the Million Dollar Business of K&B

    Kitchen and bath projects are a million-dollar revenue driver for most firms. This mighty figure comes from Interior Design’s recent survey into what the kitchen and bath design business looks like—834 people responded, more than 90 percent of them designers, project managers, or principal/owners. The results are illuminating.

    3 TOP FACTORS IN
    SPECIFICATION

    1. Durability/quality
    2. Aesthetic appeal
    3. The right price

    (Surprisingly, sustainability checked in at #8, pretty low considering how common green-influenced projects have become.)
    How many projects include K&B?
    Designers specified an average of $12.3 million in products in the past 12 months, and 29 percent of that was spent on kitchen and bath projects. The average firm did 22 commercial and 21 residential K&B projects in the past 12 months.

    What's the average kitchen budget?
    $85,539 (versus $71,768 in 2007). Almost half of all kitchen projects come in at $60,000 or higher. The average bath budget is $46,635 (versus $30,514 in 2007). 42 percent of those projects are $30,000 or higher. It’s pretty clear why K&B can be so lucrative: The materials in question definitely trend high on the price list. 9 out of 10 projects involve surfaces (tile/stone/laminate), lighting, and fixtures. 83 percent involve cabinetry. 3 out of 4 involve plumbing and faucets.

    So who gets to decide how all this money is spent?
    Designers seem to have a trust edge, as 83 percent of clients either give designers autonomy to specify products, or pick from products that the designer recommends. And those designers surveyed said they considered an average of 3 brands before choosing a product. We asked our respondents to rank brands according to who they were most familiar with, who they specified most, and who they preferred (if price is no object). Considering that “quality” is the biggest product priority, this gives a pretty neat snapshot of what designers think of top brands:

    Cosentino Grey Expo
    Metris by Hansgrohe
     Cube by Kohler
     Prisma by Lacava

    Who commissions K&B work?
    It’s no surprise that K&B projects tend to favor deep pockets. Corporate jobs speak for themselves, but residentially, the average value of a project home is $1.5 million. By region in the U.S., the biggest money is in the Northeast, where the average home value runs $2 million. Out West, it’s $1.8 million. The Midwest drops to an average of $1.3 million, and in the South, $758,000.

    Where do designers buy K&B products?
    A vast majority of all these products are purchased from the manufacturer or a multi-line kitchen and bath showroom. 46 percent or respondents say they work with multi-lines “always or most of the time.” What do designers want when working with multi-lines? Four of the top 5 concerns have to do with a good business relationship: Knowledgeable sales reps, good customer service, range of products, and reputation. (The other was a minor quibble: price).

    How do designers find out about K&B products?
    Designers prefer to use ads and articles in professional publications (88 percent) for new ideas and information. 75 percent use the internet for this, but it’s worth noting that a significant segment of designers—38 percent—will only buy products online if they’re familiar with them or used them previously.

    Related:
    Study Says Designers Control the Outdoor Market


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