Contributing Cabinets for a Granite Supplier's Showroom

Should you supply free cabinets for a countertop company's showroom in hopes of getting good referrals? Cabinetmakers are skeptical. September 30, 2010

I have a chance to display my kitchens in a granite companies showroom. The company is relocating to a much larger facility and will have a huge showroom to fill. As far as I know there are only two other cabinet makers doing something in there and both despise painted. I believe this would get me into a much better clientele. Could anyone share some proís and conís on this situation?

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor W:
I have built plenty of showrooms and always got paid. They own it when you are done.

From the original questioner:
WellIi wasn`t thinking of getting paid for them. I think the return would be many high end jobs from it. I know it will be costly for me but the return would out way initial cost. If I ask for them to buy displays it would absolutely be no problem even for material cost.

From contributor F:
I have had several local granite companies ask me for free showroom cabinets based on the fact they would provide me referrals. I have never done it. The referrals I receive from granite shops are as follows:

- My 42" bar wall needs to be cut down to 36" so I can have a counter height bar. Can you do this?.

- My cabinet is falling apart and needs better support to hold the granite, can you fix it

- I want to add a cabinet to my kitchen, can you match it?

The referrals you get will never be for a full kitchen or bathroom. One way you could do it is to sell them the cabinets, then offer them a referral rebate for each kitchen/bath you sell that gets referred by them, just as they should be offering you a commission on every referral you send to them.

From contributor J:
I built three base cabinets for a very small but nice granite showroom two years ago. I did it for my cost of materials. The counter top guy said he would refer business to me, and I agreed to send him business. I sent him business and received complaints from my customers that he often was too busy to talk to them. He never even once gave out my card or name. He did love the cabinets and he really loved the price. Sometimes these showrooms work, and other times theyíre looking for some free custom cabinets.

From contributor M:
The fact that two other companies are supposedly being referred by the granite company concerns me. I do more window shutters and closet systems than cabinets, but I think it's the same situation. When I started, I did a lot of freebies and discounts to showrooms and builders. Maybe one out of ten did send some business my way, so I stopped giving items to people who were approaching me. I feel if they have nothing invested, they won't be committed to you. Currently, we will very carefully pick a business and approach them about a wall display. Usually itís someone we know good things about. My cost will be between $200-400. I offer them a percentage of each sell for referring me. Since they pay nothing, I tell them that in 12 to 18 months I will reclaim the display if nothing is happening. I do this in paint stores, designerís showrooms, and select builderís offices. I get better qualified leads and a high percentage of closes on sales. To lessen the impact on my end financially, I do the displays when things are slow. After all, thatís when I'm thinking about needing more work. Matter of fact, you have reminded me of a display in a window dealer that has brought no sales in two years. They are slow too, and they have let me quote a couple of their window customers, so at least they are trying.

From contributor D:
Another thought - ask them for some countertops for your showroom and see what kind of response you get. That ought to clue you in to the type of business relationship they're after.

From the original questioner:
I was really excited about doing a display for these people because of the kind of customers I could gain. I know that they wonít pay full price for a display and probably not cost of material either. I wish I could offer them an incentive to sell for me. Itís so frustrating.