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Kitchen/Bath Design Pros Seen as Upbeat, But Wary Over Challenges

PLEASANT PRAIRIE, WI — The vast majority of kitchen and bath design professionals are optimistic about the future of their business, although common frustrations and worries are being experienced across the trade.

That’s the key finding of the newly released, first annualKitchen & Bath Design Professional Insights Survey” conducted by Hausera, a Pleasant Prairie, WI-based online kitchen & bath specialty retailer.

Hausera’s survey, conducted among 138 kitchen and bath design professionals, revealed that achieving client satisfaction, while extremely gratifying, “can be challenging,” according to Wesley Ward, v.p./marketing and merchandising for Hausera.

“However, despite the worries and frustrations associated with a renovation, the results of our survey show how motivated these design pros are to deliver superior results to their customers,” Ward observed.

According to Hausera, 45% of surveyed designers say that “staying on budget” is their top worry, followed by ensuring that project quality is up to their company’s standards (26%), finding and retaining good employees (25%), meeting deadlines (23%) and managing multiple projects (20%).

The survey also found that 36% of respondents say that managing unrealistic client expectations is a top frustration, followed by long lead times to receive products (35%), staying within budget (34%), clients going on their own to buy products (30%) and finding the right products (23%).

The majority of surveyed design pros say their clients do not have a clear vision of what they want for design projects, Hausera said. For example, just 1% of designers say their clients “always” have a clear vision of what they want for a design project, and only 23% say their clients “usually” have a clear vision of what they want for a project, the company noted.

Despite clients’ lack of direction when initiating a project, the survey uncovered that “delighting clients with the finished product” is designers’ top motivator. Specifically, 63% of surveyed design pros said that achieving client satisfaction is one of the most rewarding aspects of their work, followed by “creating beautiful and/or functional spaces” (43%), “improving design and functionality for clients” (42%), “realizing clients’ vision into reality” (29%) and “completing a project” (25%).

The survey also found that, despite any worries and frustrations they may have, nearly all the surveyed design pros are optimistic about the future, and almost half are not worried about their career. When asked, however, what worries them the most, 23% said “having enough work to stay profitable,” while 21% said “not working on projects that interest/inspire them,” and 15% said “not attracting the right kinds of clients.”

Among the survey’s other key findings are:

 Nearly half of those surveyed say their business is actively engaged with Facebook. Trailing Facebook, Instagram (28%) and Pinterest (17%) were next of the list of common social media platforms. However, the highest percentage of design pros (48%) reported that their company is not active on social media at all.

 51% say they utilize design-technology tools on a regular basis, while 55% say they use finance or accounting technology tools on a regular basis, and 31% use marketing technology tools on a regular basis.

 52% say they currently network and share knowledge with industry peers to keep their skills up to date.

 62% say they use websites to keep track of current design trends and product developments, while 47% of respondents use print magazines, followed by online magazines (39%) and social media (37%).

 To keep their skills up to date, more than half (52%) of design pros say they actively network and share knowledge with their industry peers. 39% say they currently attend in-person seminars and workshops, and 37% say they currently attend online seminars, workshops and webinars.

 Most of the surveyed design pros (63%) do not belong to an industry trade association.

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