Ways to Level Up Your Design Business in 2024

April 1, 2024

The record high demand of the pandemic years has waned and the annual Houzz State of the Industry report shows that revenue growth actually took a dip in 2023. But with inflation easing and interest rates beginning to stabilize, professionals in the residential remodeling and design industry are cautiously optimistic about business expectations in the coming year. Now is the time for design business leaders to reevaluate their processes and prepare for increased demand to return by making their businesses more efficient, innovative and differentiated.

Implement Technology That Improves Communication

The post-COVID consumer has high expectations for technology and now believes they can get whatever they want, whenever they want, within minutes. While that may seem like a burden to kitchen and bath pros, it can empower you to provide a 5-star, high-touch experience – with far less effort than you may think. Establishing open lines of communication shows that you value your client’s input and are committed to their satisfaction, but it doesn’t have to consume your time.

houzz pro

Photo credit: Houzz

Tools like the Houzz Pro Client Dashboard (above) provide a centralized place where your client can access information about their project on demand, helping to streamline communication, approvals and requests.

Boost Financial Performance Through Transparency and Online Payments

Houzz research shows that homeowners also want timely proposals, greater financial transparency and electronic payments, all of which can be accomplished using software that gets kitchen and bath pros paid more quickly and seamlessly than before. Helping clients to understand their overall financial commitment, detailed budget breakdown and payment schedule early in the process improves trust, reduces stress and eases uncomfortable conversations. Make financial clarity a fundamental part of your operation at every stage of the project to increase profits and client satisfaction. When it comes time for payment, homeowners tell us that they want to move past cash and checks so it’s important to invest in implementing online payment solutions that serve as a win-win for both you and your client.

Make Technology Work Harder for Your Design Business

Using technology to make the design and remodeling experience better for you and your clients can also help you drive major efficiency gains. For example, remodelers tell us that Houzz Pro’s Takeoff tool allows them to create more accurate estimates 10 times faster than using pen and paper, giving them a competitive advantage with prospective clients. Find ways to incorporate intuitive and easy to use technology into the existing workflow of your design business to improve productivity.

Market Your Experience with Growing Specialties

Demand for sustainable practices and universal design is growing rapidly among homeowners. Houzz research shows that the overwhelming majority of homeowners are incorporating sustainability in their kitchen and bathroom renovations (91% and 87%, respectively). Long-term cost-effectiveness is the primary driver for making sustainable choices during kitchen and bath remodels, followed by a concern for the environment. You can use knowledge about sustainable products, materials and features as a competitive advantage, including showcasing your expertise on your website, marketing materials and client proposals.

Homeowners are increasingly turning to pros as they plan ahead to age-in-place during their golden years. In fact, two-thirds of homeowners (66%) address special needs during bathroom renovations, up from 54% in 2022. The needs of aging household members remain the top priority, both currently (38%) and for the future (50%). With aesthetic improvements to universal design features, pros are finding beautiful ways to incorporate ADA-compliant features into their customers’ homes whether the need is urgent or anticipated in the coming years. Working these considerations into early conversations with prospective and current clients will position you as a trusted professional who is looking out for their future needs.

In 2024, kitchen and bath professionals can truly level up their design businesses. It’s worth investing the time now to evaluate and improve current processes to create a better experience for you, your team and your clients. That same “back-office” technology can have a dual-benefit of helping you deliver a higher-end client experience, which can then drive repeat business and referrals. According to Houzz research, more than 70% of pros say that referrals and repeat clients significantly contribute to their revenue, so it’s business critical to deliver an outstanding client experience. By improving communication, increasing financial clarity and strategically marketing growing specialties, your design business will be poised for a strong year ahead.

—By Marine Sargsyan, Houzz staff economist

Photo credit: Nick Klein © Houzz (top)