As with any key contractor in the housebuilding industry, it pays for developers to build a solid relationship with their bathroom suppliers. Not only does it influence the customer experience, it can also have a positive impact on profit. Here, Rob Holroyd, contract manager at Easy Bathrooms, offers his advice to developers on the main things to request from a bathroom supplier.
As a result of customer demand, most SME housebuilders offer at least a small element ofchoice when it comes to bathroom products, ranging from the layout itself, through to tiles, mirrors and fittings – such as the bath and shower.
This process of aiding customers through decision-making can often be lengthy and stressful, especially if they change their mind multiple times. But the best way to provide reassurance – and to minimise choice amendments – is by providing good quality imagery and samples, where possible.
High quality brochures with multiple images and thorough descriptions are a must. When it comes to samples, this is of course not always possible. But for products which are small or able to be cut down – such as tiles – it’s an ideal way to showcase the quality of the product and offer peace of mind. Some companies will be able to provide cut samples for customers to take away, whereas others may supply full tile boards for builders to keep in the sales office on-site.
Enquire if they will fit out the show house
For housebuilders that offer an on-site show home, it’s often standard practice to ask the supplier to fit out the display products, for free. The property is essentially a showcase of the suppliers’ products, and an opportunity to encourage customers to take the plunge with upgrades – which benefits the bathroom company. Don’t be shy – it’s worth asking.
Ensure they have design software to impress buyers
After the kitchen, the bathroom is generally the biggest investment in a home. And yet, they are often the most difficult to visualise because of their small or awkward spaces. Therefore, being able to offer 3D designs – where customers can look at a room layout with their chosen products – is a real benefit.
However, bathroom design software is expensive, and not typically worth the upfront investment unless using it day in, day out. But by partnering with a bathroom supplier that already works with such software, housebuilders are able to provide customers with bathroom designs – which is a really exciting moment for them in their buying journey – without investing in the technology. It can also lead to upselling, because the customer can fully visualise and appreciate what a more expensive product may look like, for example.
Ask for regular meetings to discuss new products and trends
When it comes to bathrooms, fashions come and go very frequently. Some customers may choose to stick to classic, timeless products, whereas others may select more trend-led products, and it’s important to offer the breadth of choice for both.
A good bathroom supplier should be able to advise on the latest trends – such as the current fashion for matte black or brushed gold taps – enabling housebuilders to pass this knowledge onto customers.
Request brochures without pricing
Bespoke product choices are beneficial to both parties. While the buyer is able to tailor their selections for their new home, the builder can effectively choose to make higher margins on the upgraded products.
For it to work seamlessly, it’s beneficial if the brochures are non-branded or printed without pricing, to ensure there’s no dispute over the final sum to pay.
Define the policy if something goes wrong
When installing products into a new home, it’s absolutely vital that those fittings are going to last, in terms of functionality and quality. Buyers expect their new home to stand the test of time, and if things go wrong, they’ll be quick to ask for problems to be remedied. Unfortunately, even the highest quality of products can sometimes incur faults, but it’s important that the cost of replacement falls to the product provider. Bathroom suppliers should offer comprehensive guarantees with their products, to cover such incidents.
Rob Holroyd, contracts manager at Easy Bathrooms