Retainers Backed for All Kitchen and Bath Design
Kitchen and bath designers should employ design retainers to
demonstrate their professionalism, set themselves apart from the
competition and close more jobs.
That’s the advice of Peggy McGowen and Bill Feinberg, two
members of the Bath & Kitchen Buying Group (BKBG). The pair
addressed members of the Houston, TX-based BKBG at a recent
educational conference sponsored by the member-owned co-op.
McGowen, a former president of the National Kitchen & Bath
Association (NKBA) and owner of the Houston, TX-based design firm
Kitchen & Bath Concepts, observed that “design fees show that
we are professionals.”
“Even repair service men charge a fee to look at an appliance
and determine what’s wrong with it,” she said. “In addition, design
retainers usually result in a higher closing percentage of the
projects you work on.”
According to Feinberg, of Allied Kitchen & Bath, in Fort
Lauderdale, FL, most kitchen and bath designers credit the retainer
in the first customer deposit. However, Feinberg suggested that
designers consider using the retainer credit for the final balance
“This reduces your exposure and makes the customer owe less at
the completion of the project,” he said.
Two additional suggestions regarding retainers included the
- Start with a small fee as a design retainer, and then increase
it as you become more comfortable.
- One size doesn’t necessarily fit all. In other words, the
amount of the design fee can be based on the experience of the
designer. For example, a 20-year design veteran may charge $2,000,
while a new designer may ask for $500.