For the second part of our ServicePoints series, we will be taking a look at the importance of Design & Quote in the transaction process. For our production builder customers, they rely on us to be precise, timely, and efficient to support their timelines. For some homebuilding suppliers, the only variable needed during the homebuilding process is quantity – windows, flooring, tile, and concrete are all materials that can be bought in bulk (and are mass produced) and are modified on- site to fit the plan. Cabinetry is a step beyond – where it  requires an order to be placed, manufactured, and then transported to the jobsite.  

As a cabinetry supplier, we provide design services for the models of a community, as well as quoting the individual cost of the sum of units to the builder. This work is not automated, and requires designers and estimators to work in tandem on our side of the business to create successful transactions. This leaves a lot of room for error – especially if the process is not well-developed. With Timberlake, we excel in the design & quote phase of the process, with an extended team of certified designers and personnel responsible for ensuring quotes are accurate.  

So, what does the design process entail? Our sales representatives begin this phase by working with a builder to craft an offering. Offerings are a selection of products available to the end-consumer for a given community that reflect the price range & aesthetic tastes of a community. With that offering in place, work begins to go to the designers of a local service center, who take the architect’s plans and create cabinetry layouts for kitchens, bathrooms, and other spaces where cabinetry will be installed.  

It All Starts with Design 

Tracey Burrell-Combs has been a designer with American Woodmark for 17 years, and has worked with national builders such as Toll Brothers, NVR, Ashton Woods, and Taylor Morrison. Over the course of her career, she has seen how impactful well-designed kitchen layouts can be for the homeowner by making spaces that are inviting and welcoming – cementing ideas of ownership in potential homebuyers. 

Typically the process begins with the builder sending current layouts or housing blueprints for the designers. The design staff begins to use the pre-existing layouts or craft their own to fit the builder wishes – considering styling, functionality, and size.  

“Kitchens and baths are among the most important factors potential home buyers take into consideration when purchasing a home. The importance of good design cannot be overstated,” Tracey shares. Depending on the builder, Timberlake designers may have up to 20 different layouts per house model to accommodate for different upgrade options that impact the kitchen, bathrooms, mudrooms, wet bars, and other areas that feature cabinetry. These layouts are all designed in 2020 (a cabinetry designing & visualization tool) and then presented to the stakeholders for approval and implementation.  

tracey combs
CKBD Designer Tracey Combs & Operations Manager Ron Jolly

Is the Price Right? 

Quoting seems like it would be an easy part of the process, but it has ramifications for the builder and supplier if completed by accuracy. With an industry that has over a thousand individual SKUs, there are lots of variables to consider and double check when a quote is issued. Internally, we have a robust process in place to provide builders quotes quickly and accurately using a team of designers & estimators alongside a proprietary quoting software called QUEST. After rounds of proofing, the teams then send back the estimate alongside visualization layouts from 2020 to create a completed package for a builder to accept, or, request additional changes.  

“The design must be right the first time since the layouts and quotes are used over and over.” Tracey says. “One mistake of ten dollars can quickly become a thousand-dollar mistake if not caught immediately.” 

At the end of the day, the business transaction can take multiple forms. Some builders want line item pricing – whatever the individual cost of the kitchen is, they agree to pay the total. Others, depending on the partnership, prefer a flat price per house – which can create easier financials and reduce complexity in the transaction process. The depth of our system and staff allows a myriad of pricing options to take place, so we can easily partner with builders of all sizes and keep business and product flowing without delay. 

Tucson Painted Linen & Painted Sage Kitchen - Visual from 2020 Design
Tucson Painted Linen & Painted Sage Kitchen – Visual from 2020 Design

A Local Advantage 

Timberlake has been in the business of supplying homeowners and builders with cabinetry for over 20 years, and has used that time to create an ecosystem of processes, staffing, and knowledge that makes the design & quote aspects of partnership superior to other suppliers. And better yet, our builders will receive dedicated builder service representatives and designers that work on their account to keep transactions flowing smoothly.  

The kitchen designers of Timberlake Cabinetry are one of the cornerstones of our business, and with their help, create exceptional builder – supplier relationships that benefit both parties. If you’ve ever walked into a kitchen that has taken your breath away, made you marvel at the space, or made you feel immediately at home – you have a designer to thank for that experience.  

Thank you for joining us for the second part of our ServicePoint blog series. Next up – Manufacturing! 

-CJ Fitzgerald 


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