Lighting Fixtures – Home Decor and Remodels Can Have Personality Without Sacrificing Cost or Quality

For the past 20 years the real estate market has experienced extensive growth until the market declined in the last few years. With this explosive growth also came an explosion of home décor, styling and lighting, which the average home owner could afford. Prior to this time most of the average buildings constructed showed little flair or imagination, with few exceptions, such as hotels, government buildings and wealthy estates.

The average home owner does not need to sacrifice with the home décor and lighting. The available choices of lighting range from the mass produced and cheaply made aluminum fixtures found in the big brick-and-mortar home improvement stores to custom crafted lighting imported from Europe. The latter will not be found in any hardware store, but in specialty lighting boutiques.

Most lighting fixtures will not break the bank, nor should it be necessary to skimp on quality. Specialty lighting houses will, of course, have the best and widest selection of styles. There are well over a hundred different manufacturers of lighting fixtures and lamps in the United States alone. Most lighting stores can not compete with the home improvement behemoths for square footage so will make up for that by having the need to sometimes cram as much as possible into a smaller space. For this reason alone these specialty houses rely on a myriad of catalogs. Many times the customer will be permitted to “check out” these catalogs as there is not a way to leaf through them all in a few minutes.

Surprisingly most of the lighting shops are quite good at minimizing the wait time for a light fixture order. Quite often the average shipping time can be as little as 3 days or so. For custom designed order a realistic time frame may be up to 6 to 8 weeks or more.

The customer should be prepared for the majority, if not all lighting stores, to normally require a deposit for any special order. The purpose for this down payment is to cover the minimal expenses which the store will incur in the event of an order cancellation. Many specialty boutiques may also assess a restocking fee in the event of an order cancellation as well.

When shopping for lighting fixtures, a prior special order cancellation may be available at a significant discount in order to move stagnant inventory. Should the customer decide to purchase a number of fixtures then price negotiating may also be an avenue for savings for the customer. The saying, “the more you buy, the more you save” can be applied to this situation.

Residential Designers – The Home Design Specialist

The term “residential designer” is not a widely known or understood professional title among the general public. If one were to define their occupation as such, an explanation would need to follow in nearly every case. However confusing the title may be, you know it has something to do with a house. A simple way of putting it is that Residential Designers do the same thing as an Architect. However, the work of an Architect include residential as well as commercial projects. Residential Designers focus exclusive on single family homes. Within the scope of residential work, their skills include building design, interior design, and home remodeling.

Building Design
This is the main area of focus for nearly all residential specialist. Building design, in the residential field, is the process of creating a concept and completing the blueprints of a home plan. This is what many people would consider to be the work of an architect. In fact, the meaning of the word “architect” is one who designs and supervises the construction of buildings. However, there are few architects in comparison to residential planners who actually focus on home designs as their main expertise. This is why residential designers are considered the specialist when it come to home plans because it is nearly one hundred percent of their business. Because of this, these professionals are also referred to as home designers, house designers, and building designers.

Interior Design
Most people quickly associate this as the primary duties of a house plan expert. Somehow, it is widely assumed that an interior is synonymous with residential. Interior design from a home designers perspective is more about connectivity with the elevation. When they do interior design, it involves the continuation of the exterior theme which is to be carried throughout the homes interior for harmony and balance throughout the entire building. This includes things like crown molding design, chair railing, wainscot, ceiling details, etc. This is quite different from say an interior planner working from a benchmark footprint and house theme.

Home Remodeling
This is related to the aforementioned skills. In this type of work, an addition is common which involves the use of the building planning while the interior design is used to carry the existing theme into the newly designed and remodeled portion of the home.

There are quite a few architects who primarily focus on residential projects, but the percentage within the architect community is small. On the other hand, residential planners concentrate on house plans. Whether it is keeping up with the latest home design trends or creating the latest trend, it is all they do. You can refer to these design professionals as Home Designers, House Designers, or Residential Designers. No matter which term you use, you are still referring to a home plan design specialist.

Kitchen Remodel Design – Designing and Remodeling a Kitchen

Looking around a kitchen that you’ve had for years and deciding it needs a great design for the ultimate remodel may have you cringing. The good news is that there are plenty of magazines and homes design stores that can give you great ideas for your ideal remodel. If you are a bit apprehensive about having someone else come up with designs for your kitchen, you can do this yourself.

The best place to start in any kitchen design is to measure. Measure everything you want replaced and anything that needs to stay. Square footage, how tall the ceilings are, cabinets, and appliances are a must when doing this. After all, you want to make this your ideal remodel, from your designs, it’s your kitchen so why not? Some graph paper or a computer design program will help you draw out any ideas for designs that you will have. Start out drawing your kitchen without any of the appliances, cabinets or counter tops as this will help you visualize the space that you have to work with. In your drawn designs you should make a note of where all the water and electrical lines are.

Incorporate windows and doors into your designs. Remember, you want your designs drawn to scale so input any measurements that you have as they come up. Now it’s time in your drawn design to make note of appliances and cabinetry. Remember marking the water and electrical lines? This is where you will need to put your stove, sink, refrigerator, etc. If putting these things back where you had them is not in your designs or plans; you can always have an electrician rewire or a plumber run extra pipe. Now, here’s the fun part.

Shopping either online or in store for those personal touches in your kitchen that are uniquely you can make quite a difference in budget and other concerns. Different types of counter tops are available. Granite, glass-top, or Formica; there are dozens of choices for your perfect remodel. Lighting for the kitchen, a back splash for your stove, and flooring should all be considered when doing a remodel of your kitchen. Taking the time to educate yourself on what you want your remodel to look like when it’s finished makes for a better consumer. You won’t be easily taken advantage of by a contractor or designer because you can hold firm knowing that when all is said and done it will be your design and remodel, uniquely.

How Home Design Software Can Keep Building and Remodeling on Time, and on Budget

If you or someone you know has ever taken on the task of renovating or building a home, you are well aware that the task is not an easy one. Big projects such as these are often time consuming, stressful, and costly. To top it all off, these projects often prove to be more costly than originally planned for, as the original schedule gets stretched out, causing the extra charges to pile up, sometimes without the homeowner even knowing this is all occurring. That’s why it’s imperative to make sure that your home remodeling project has a solid plan from the beginning, and this can only be accomplished with professional quality home designs, using intuitive home design software.

For someone who is familiar with home renovation or home building, it might be easy to look at the progress and map out how far along everything is. However, if you’re not familiar with home renovation or building, you might not be able to make sense of the technical blueprints and schematics used by contractors. Some home owners may want detailed, three dimensional designs in order to fully communicate their vision to contractors.

For those who are less familiar with these types of projects, there are software programs that can help you stay in the loop from beginning to end. Home design software allows you to design your dream home, building it from the ground up if that is your goal, or doing major remodeling if your home is already built. After you are done designing, the software can convert your final design into a blueprint that contractors can easily read. This feature alone cuts out labor costs from the beginning, as a designer would usually have to be hired at this stage for planning and converting those plans into a blueprint model.

After your blueprint is done, you can easily work with your contractors and the software program to create a building/renovation schedule that fits your desired timeframe. From there, you can attach a budget to this time frame, all the while being able to look at the schedule attached to your original blueprint to make sure everything is getting done in the appropriate amount of time. If there are any changes in the schedule, you will easily be able to tell, and your contractors should be able to tell you why the changes were made and what effect they will have on the schedule and budget.

Home design software is easy to use, even for beginners, featuring a simple interface and drag and drop capabilities. Some programs will allow you to upload your own photos, and select preferred materials. Who know you’d be able to design your own home in a matter of days? So now you can relax and rest assured that everything you need to know can be within your reach in a matter of minutes.

Home Builders and Remodelers – 3 Secrets of Successful Builders & Remodelers That Increases Profits

Builders and renovators currently face a number of challenges that keep them from the business, and results, they really want. But what about the more successful builders and renovators? Don’t they operate in the same market, with the same economy, and the same prospects? What are they doing different than the other 80% of the industry that always seems to struggle just to get through the day? You may be surprised at how simple, yet effective, the differences are.

The Secret All Successful Builders and Renovators Share

The secret all successful builders and renovators share is simple: they are no less affected then any one else in the industry. They, of course, deal with the same problems and pressures as you do…they just do it differently.

A successful builder or renovators knows there will always be ‘problems’…there’s always ‘something’, and either prepares for it or discovers how to avoid it entirely. Here’s three of their secrets for doing this…

Secret #1: Stop Giving It Away

Probably the most important change you can make in your business is to actually get paid for the work you do!

Builders will erode their profits by reducing prices, or giving things away just to get the job…or to avoid confrontation during or after the job.

Now, I’m not suggesting you don’t throw a few ‘freebies’ every now and then, or fix something that went wrong…but know how it affects your profit when you do it.

Imagine the builder or renovator (maybe you?) that’s constantly fighting for, or complaining about, money lost on the job. Maybe sitting down with the client, locked in a staring match, trying to recoup thousands of dollars for changes made during the job.

Unfortunately, what creates this situation (and one that successful builders and renovators avoid like the plague) it most builders or renovators go ahead with changes (and, therefore, committing expenses and risking profits) before getting agreement in writing how much it would cost, how it would be paid, and when.

Whether you’re trying to get the business, or in the middle of a job, don’t give anything away before you know how much your goodwill will affect your bottom line.

If there’s a non-financial reason to go ahead, or it’s a fix to something you were responsible for…by all means go ahead. But if you’re just trying to impress the client with your generosity, impress them with your value and business sense instead.

Sit down, discuss changes, go through the proper change request process, get it in writing and continue with the great job you’re doing.

Lesson #2: Remove 80% of Your Daily Work (and Stress)

My philosophy (and general business guideline) has always been, 80% of any builder or renovator’s business consists of the same day-to-day, or week-to-week activities; the remaining 20% are the surprises that come out of nowhere.

To be able to react quickly, and effectively, to the 20% that we can’t predict, systematize the 80% you can predict, which will free up a mountain of time, resources, brain-power and energy for those ‘unwelcomed surprises.’

Case-in-point: A friend, and fellow business person, used to follow-up with prospects who called and left a message for him. Unfortunately, other things would get in the way, and he’d only get back to a handful…and forget, or abandon, the rest.

We discussed this and he said, “I didn’t have time to contact them all.” But, I said, can you afford to lose them? “No…I need more business.”

Here were people considering spending money on his services, and he: a) couldn’t afford not to lose them; but b) didn’t find the time to contact them.

Seemed to be a bit of a contradiction.

So, what did he do? He hired someone to make the calls. Too expensive, you say? Maybe he thought so too…but look at it from his new perspective:

The person he hires: a) loves talking on the phone with prospects (he didn’t enjoy the initial conversations very much); b) does it for close to minimum wage; and c) frees up his time to actually run the business, do what he wants, and make more money (while ensuring his prospects are contacted).

Because of this change, he’s seen a rise in his seminars (one of his ‘entrance vehicles’ to his services) and his business.

The secret? He effectively systematized his call-back procedure, told the hired-hand what he wanted (and how he was going to measure the results), monitored the situation then, other than minor tweaks here and there, didn’t give it another thought.

What part of your 80% can you systematize or have someone else do, so you can spend more time running the business, becoming more successful, and doing what you want?

Lesson #3: Test, Test and Test

A lot of builders and renovators will put way too much time, and money, into an idea before proving it…and then suffer great disappointment (financially and otherwise) when it fails. Others are too afraid to fail (and lose the time and money invested) to even try.

How to solve both problems? Test, test and test.

Just like you may buy a new tool for the site and try it out for awhile before buying a bunch for the crew, use the same mindset with your business.

Have a website? Change you busiest (or least busiest) page and see what happens to the results. Got a new sales idea? Incorporate it with your next ten prospects and see what happens. Think a new business idea will free up your profits? Try it out on a small (but significant) scale, and measure the results.

Use flyers to drum up business? Send out half with your original design, and half with a new design and see which one generates more response…and more business.

Don’t try thing haphazardly…but don’t be paralyzed into doing nothing, and getting the same results as last week, or last year. Focus on one, two or five things, and try them out. It’s your business…which is different then anyone else’s — find out what works and what doesn’t. Keep the winners, and tweak, or reverse, the losers.

Doing this will let you know what works, and what doesn’t, before spending a lot of time or money.