For many of us, we remember the economic conditions of the late 1980s and early 1990s all too well. Out of the economic ashes, we witnessed the birth of the residential design/build industry. A new business model was born and many companies thrived by providing their clients award-winning projects, quality services and exceptional customer service.
What will rise from the ashes of the recent depressed economy?
The next business model will have a blend of experienced designers, efficient quality builders and technology. For the past 10 years we have called it “IDB” or “Interactive Design and Build.”
The IDB process and business system develops the project with the client, collaborates with the builder, and designs it online. Recently, Residential Design + Build Editor Maureen Alley sat in on one of our online design studios and was excited to participate in the design process with us.
This type of project imaging, online sharing and collaboration was not possible in the early 1990s because the technology simply was not available.
The IDB process provides the builder’s client with an interactive process, and in-home presentations provide comfort and value.
During our meeting, the builder, who has 20 years of experience, sat in on the presentation and could not believe we could make real-time edits, finalize the homeowners’ personal touches and complete the design process in one presentation meeting. Responding to the clients’ needs, designing well and full interactive visualizing helped this project get off the ground. It is also the reason why this project required only one design presentation meeting.
The next generation of IDB companies will need to consider the following:
- Reduce overhead
- Increase strategic marketing efforts
- Outsource design services
- Provide client e-folders
- Exceed expectations
- Deliver service
The key to building a successful IDB team is to find a creative designer with exceptional design software skills who also shares one common goal: To see the project built. Design/build teams are not in business to create beautiful renderings and pretty pictures. They are in business to build projects. Completing the project will ensure the homeowners accomplish their remodeling or building needs and goals. And, the designer and builder will ultimately profit from the project.
As we shake off the ashes of our latest economic disaster, we look to a new beginning. This time we will be armed with the latest 3-D design technology, communication platforms and green building sensibilities. With each day that passes, design/build continues to evolve and reflect the time in which we live.
The building industry is on the move again and business owners are looking to improve their operations. By all accounts, it has been tough sledding for all businesses, especially those in the building industry. But if we work on updating and improving our standard operating procedures, we will be able to reap the benefits of a surge in building which is sure to come.