This is going to be the first post in a series that will detail the ins and outs of merging our custom furniture operation with a custom cabinet operation.
Most of the tools and techniques for cabinetry are similar to those we’ve mastered with our furniture business, but the overall construction approach is quite different.
We will start with how we began selling to the residential cabinetry market.
About a year ago we began to actively market and sell custom residential cabinetry along with our usual offering of custom furniture.
Before late 2010 we had completed a few cabinet jobs, entertainment centers, office units, and a kitchen, mostly for interior designers and a few retail clients, but we never pursued any cabinet work in the new home or remodeling markets.
That all changed in the latter part of 2010. We first began by compiling a list of every home builder and remodeling company we could find in our area and cold calling them.
We ended up calling just about every company out there, but realized that in the current home building market, that approach was incredibly hit and miss.Either the company was out of business, or they didn’t have any projects going on, and may not have had a project for the past year or so, or, if you were lucky enough to reach a company who did have work, they had just awarded the job to another company. Better luck next time.
We decided it was time to find a smarter way to land some jobs, so we quit the random sales calls and instead began to pull building permits and call the companies that actually have projects going.
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This method was not without its failures though. Often times the company had already settled on a cabinet company before the building permit was approved and published in the public record.
Other times, the home builder, since this was not their first home, already had an established relationship with a cabinet company. But, often enough, we were able to generate some interest, schedule a meeting, send out a bid, and win the contract on a job.
Within a few weeks of sales calls, meetings, and bidding, we were awarded our first job in October 2010.
Ever since, our approach has been much the same: pull a building permit, analyze it to see whether or not it is a good fit for our company, check the builders information against any notes we may have previously compiled on them in our database, and finally, make the sales call.
Little by little, we are beginning to build up a network of home builders and remodelers that will send us repeat business and referalls.
The results of these sales calls have been a more than doubling of our sales, the hiring of one new full-time employee, and the investment in new woodworking machinery.
In the next post, we will talk about our new machinery it is increasing our quality and efficiency for both cabinetry and furniture.