Interest for aging-in-place projects continues to climb. Our research has shown that demand for walk-in tubs is growing at double-digit annual rates. Many contractors consider walk-in tubs to be the backbone of their business, and the reason they expect to flourish, even in an uncertain economy.
Walk-in tubs Mean Big-Ticket Projects
As aging-in-place remodels go, the walk-in tub is the single largest component. It requires removal of the old tub, new plumbing and electrical, a multi-person team to deliver and set up, plus the material and labor for the bathroom’s repair or retrofitting. The products themselves often cost $5,000 to $6,000, with a total all-in project cost typically upwards of $15,000.
Walk-in tubs are usually part of a comprehensive aging-in-place renovation that also includes grab bars, ramps, or even lifts. Such tubs can also drive the need for a new water heater; a standard 40-gallon heater will not be sufficient for an 80-gallon walk-in tub.
If a slow-down in housing sales reduces opportunities, this segment of homeowners can provide more project leads. Walk-in tubs improve the safety of what can be the most dangerous part of a house, allowing those with arthritis, balance issues, or a disability to safely get in and out of the tub. An aging-in-place renovation can make all the difference for people who want to maintain their independence and avoid the cost and stigma of moving into an assisted living center. And the audience you sell and market to extends beyond elderly homeowners; it includes proactive friends and family of these homeowners, too.
Be Sure You Are Ready
There are questions you must answer before deciding to promote walk-in tub renovations.
· What supplier to go with?
· Does your state or local government require specific licensing?
· Can you demonstrate to homeowners that you will do a quality job?
Showcase Your Capabilities
To connect with aging-in place prospects, start by adapting your current marketing and sales systems to showcase your capabilities. For instance, update your website and social listings to prominently feature walk-in tubs or “aging in place” bath renovations. Consider buying ads on Google, Facebook, or other digital platforms.
Another alternative is to purchase leads specifically interested in walk-in tubs from companies that connect homeowners with home improvement professionals. Those are usually delivered on a pay-per-lead basis, and some providers can pre-qualify the leads before handing them off to the sales team. This can be valuable for dealing with customers that have done their own Internet research, and are buying a product they have not used or purchased before.
Whenever the economy is uncertain, savvy contractors look for new ways to drive business. The market is yielding an opportunity with aging-in-place projects. Take a serious look into whether you should offer these projects as part of your menu of services.
Gregg Hicks is a longtime marketer of home improvement services. He is a business leader for Modernize Home Services and has 20 years of experience across web analytics, SEO, social, SEM and affiliate marketing. His role as a spokesperson is to explain the value of thoughtful matchmaking between homeowners and home improvement professionals that forges positive and productive connections between the parties.