News & Opinions
The latest news and insights from Hanley Wood’s outspoken experts and key thought-leaders throughout the residential and commercial design and construction industry.
Jim Cory / REMODELING / June 6, 2013
Business How-To: Sell Universal Design
There are two customer groups when it comes to selling aging-in-place or universal design.
Group One consists of the people who need it or may need it and can afford it but don’t want it — that is, baby boomers with bucks.
Group Two — call them “people with issues” — are coming from a completely different place. They need and want this type of renovation now, and if they can afford it the only question may be whether you’re the contractor who can provide the solutions they need.
Louis Tenenbaum, remodeling consultant and author of Aging in Place 2.1: Rethinking Solutions to the Home Care Challenge, calls Group Two “the holy grail” when it comes to this type of remodeling. The problem: Only some of these homeowners can afford the work.
Group One — still healthy, still mobile — may want to remodel for space or aesthetics. They’ll probably resist the suggestion that the project include some of the functional changes — grab bars, wider doorways, higher toilets — associated with aging or infirmity. “It equates to institutional aesthetics,” explains interior designer Michael Thomas of The Design Collective Group, in Palm Springs, Calif., and co-author of Residential Design for Aging in Place. You may need to indirectly suggest such changes.
With Group Two, on the other hand, prepare for a sales process that may involve extra visits and the possibility of bringing in medical professionals so you can secure client approval of your design and move forward to build.