Qualified Remodeler Magazine

SEP 2015

Qualified Remodeler helps independent remodeling firms to survive, become more professional and more profitable by providing must-have business information, namely best business practices, new product information and timely design ideas.

Issue link: https://qualifiedremodeler.epubxp.com/i/575494

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Page 13 of 71

plan can aide your story-telling ability. Most of the time, the judges are sitting and judging project after project for days. You need to hold their attention and set apart your design from the competition. A difcult area of the design should be highlighted with a cue on the foor plan for quick and easy comprehension. Make sure you highlight the challenges, objectives and how your design overcame those chal- lenges. Adding emotion into the story may also help the judges relate to how the design objectives were perfectly executed. Te home- owners can also help. Add in a few accolades from them about how much they enjoy living in their newly designed home. Tis adds a personal touch that people can identify with. Many of the competitions, I have been asked to judge placed participants within tenths of points of each other or needed tie- breakers to elect a winner. It obviously starts with great design, but think about the tie breakers. What key points will make your project stand out from the crowd of many? Utilizing these concepts, we have achieved much success and have now won many awards locally and even nationally. Nothing is guar- anteed, but taking the time to put together a well-thought-out total package will bring more awards your way and help you stand out from the crowd. | pictures were taken with my mobile phone, my descriptions were lacking and my foor plans were very basic with minimal notes or colors. I was blinded by being too close to the project, thinking that everyone would just see it and know how great the design was. I took what I learned and applied it. We started by pitting our projects against them- selves. Once we decided to enter an awards program, we would look at all of the categories ofered. Ten we would decipher which proj- ects would be a best ft in those categories and then started listing out the key characteristics of those projects. First, we would identify, in an outline form, each project's difculties, objectives and merits. Scoring each project for its merits really helps us weed out some of our weaker projects. Tese entries may have a good design, but maybe didn't have any difculties taking it from good to great. It's important to assume there will be thousands of entries in each category when you enter. You need to make sure you're not just entering projects, but you are entering your best projects. Because we need great photos of our projects anyway for our website, it's imperative we hire professional photographers. Most professionals will try to tell a story with their photos. Tey try to get micro as well as macro shots of each house. Sometimes it's the small details that will set your project apart from the competition. Immediately, you will see a tremendous diference in the quality of the portrayal of your projects. NOW IT'S time to tell the story. We use our outline set up from the earlier discovery process, and then we marry that to our foor plans. Using numbers or arrows on the foor inning awards for local and na- tional design competitions are not only great honors, but also great ways to showcase your com- pany's talents to future clients. Te photos of the award winners are generally publicized in magazines, newspapers or online through social media. Te winners then have the abil- ity to take those links to a micro level to be used for a target market through blogs, press releases and their own websites. Te exposure for your company can grow very rapidly in a very short period of time. Having awards prominently displayed in your ofce is also a great way to give your new clients a sense of comfort about choosing your frm. Design competitions should be a staple in every frm's marketing plan. FOR YEARS we would enter design competi- tions, oftentimes at the last minute. I wouldn't give much thought into what projects were getting sent out. I would throw some pictures together, write up a short piece about the project, clean up the before and after foor plans, and send in the entry as fast as possible. We had put our designs into the mix with many other frms' great proj- ects and we weren't winning any awards. As I looked at the win- ners being published, I couldn't help but think "those are all great projects but ours were just as great. Why didn't we win anything?" Because they never ofered the "How to win a design award" elective in college, I decided to volunteer to be a judge for a few local de- sign competitions. It was glaringly obvious what I was doing wrong. I knew how great my project was, but I wasn't exemplifying to the judges how great my project was. My Standing Out from the Crowd By Kevin Holdridge, CPBD, CAPS, CGP W Set apart your design from the competition. KEVIN HOLDRIDGE, CPBD, CAPS, CGP, is the president of KDH Residential Designs, LLC, focused on designing custom homes and remodels of various sizes in the Charlotte metro region of North Carolina. He currently is the internal vice president of the American Institute of Building Design. 14 September 2015 QR QualifiedRemodeler.com PROFITS: Design

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