For Gregg and Tracey Kunz, necessity is indeed the mother of invention.
After all, consider that the husband-and-wife team established their kitchen and bath design firm when Gregg resigned from his previous job in 2003, leaving him with an important decision to make: Get a different job or start his own business.
Despite having no formal kitchen and bath design training, he opened a niche building company focused on the bathroom. He explains: “We’d moved 11 times, renovating the homes [that we were living in], so we knew what works and what doesn’t work.”
He adds: “That’s how I learned about the trade and the materials [that people in this industry work with].” Hence, their company – Renaissance Bath Design & Renovation – was born.
According to Tracey Kunz, the firm caters to two types of clients: Two-income couples who want to upgrade a builder-grade bathroom and need someone to oversee the project, and older customers who are nearing retirement and want to pamper themselves for the “golden years.”
As a result, the pair has created every type of design – from ultra contemporary to very traditional – in its brief history, with kitchen and other room renovation now part of the firm’s services.
Setting the lofty goal of becoming the top kitchen and bath firm in the area, Gregg Kunz notes: “We take extreme steps to be known as the problem solvers in our market.”
According to Gregg Kunz, there is a very simple explanation for the company’s success. “Both Tracey and I come from the corporate world and value client satisfaction,” he says. Tracey Kunz adds: “We’ve grown to over $2,000,000 in business without any debt, so something is working!”
In fact, the firm’s success has enabled it to have one CKD on a long-term retainer, with plans to add more in 2006.
To that end, Gregg Kunz notes that the firm has established a long-term plan.
He explains: “Within five years, I would expect that we would have a couple of satellite locations within North Carolina to serve our growing population. But, we do not intend to grow just for the sake of growth.”
He concludes: “Our 10-year plan is straightforward: Allow the employees who’ve helped us grow to take over the business and realize their dreams, just like we have.”
The firm communicates daily with its clients,” according to Tracey Kunz. “If the clients agree that the finished product is ‘top of the list,’ they willingly allow us to spend more time to take extra steps.”
She notes that those extra steps include offering a great deal of dialogue to answer questions for customers who may, or may not, be making a purchase.
“[Our belief is that] when it is time for those people to do their project, our name will come up,” she explains.
Having a personal relationship with clients also serves another purpose, the pair believes.
“We have a keen desire to work closely with each client in the pre-planning stage to investigate all costs and provide a guaranteed project price to suit their budget,” Tracey Kunz says.
“We go through all of the selections – from the cabinets, mirrors and shower – so we all know what the costs will be,” she adds.
The company presents the homeowner with a line item budget as well, she points out.
“Since materials are such a large part of a renovation project, we are able to give clients a fixed cost,” she says. However, the company does charge a retainer fee of $375 for a bathroom and $775 for a kitchen before offering an estimate.
“[The project development fee] covers our time, and it’s deducted from project management,” she says. “We honor the prices that we quote for materials and labor. If we underestimate, it’s our cost.”
According to Gregg Kunz, the firm relies heavily on its 1,075-square-foot design studio.