Finding big clients who have big reach within a community is all about connections. It’s all about who you know and who knows you. This sliding barn door sale that we closed was a perfect example of that!
The door was for a realtor in our area who was designing, outfitting, and flipping a townhome that was just built in a really cool new part of town! But we didn’t start by talking to that realtor to get the sale….oddly enough we started by putting our website in an article of our subdivision’s newspaper (I know, sounds like a weird spider web of a story, but those always lead to pretty sick connections so stick with me). The lady who writes this magazine wanted to write a story on Davis and me because we had just moved into the area and it’s a cool way to get to know your neighbors! Part of that story was about what we do in our free time – which, you guessed it, is our business. So we wrote all about what we build and that we do client work for lots of people in the community. We even put in a link to our website in the article in case people wanted to check us out (See an opportunity and take it, am I right?).
Needless to say, our strategy worked! We got a Facebook message from this realtor 2 days after the magazine came out saying she wanted a live edge sliding barn door and a live edge mantle!! Boom! Mission accomplished. Connection made.
But the advertisement didn’t stop there. Before we even built her mantle, we got another Facebook message from one of her realtor friends who ALSO wanted a live edge mantle…..and after the first realtor shared pictures of the door on HER social media….another one of her friends called us about building TWO SLIDING BARN DOORS!!! Guys. GET. YOUR. NAME. OUT. THERE.
Had we not taken advantage of a little article in a tiny subdivision magazine, we wouldn’t have orders for 3 sliding barn doors and 2 live edge mantles. And more importantly….we wouldn’t have made 3 SOLID connections that we can keep on contacting and hitting up for sales. I guarantee those 3 connections know of 3 more connections each….you do the math over time….
So I’m sure you noticed that our pictures are not of a live edge sliding barn door like she initially wanted. Due to budget purposes, we ended up building her a modern herringbone door instead. Which was a blessing in disguise because it was such a different style that people in our area had never seen before, so they all LOVED it.
We started out by calculating how many strips of plywood we could get out of a single sheet and how many we would need for the herringbone pattern on both the front and back side of the door. We did this using Google Sketchup. After that, we cut allllllllll those 3/4″ strips and started gluing them up in panels of 4. After scraping the glue off, we ran them through the planer – which we found actually works very well on edge-grain plywood!! We didn’t have any chip out at all.
We then glued and nailed those 4-strip panels to a solid piece of plywood that we cut down with our track saw once we were done. We didn’t realize just how awesome a little pin-nailer was for this project! It provided all of the security we needed to keep the panels on the door and was super easy to use – we just hooked it up to our air compressor. If you want to check out the one we got for this project, check out this link. And if you’ve read our posts before, you know how much we love our track saw…and if you’re new…we LOVE our track saw. It’s our favorite tool. If you want to check out the exact one we have, check out this link.
We did this same process and same pattern on the other side of the door, then cut down the edges with our track saw again. After sanding EVERYTHING, we sprayed a few coats of General Finishes Enduro-Var on it to give it a super hard finish. Last came a long, sleek door hand for the front and a recessed handle for the back. If you’re interested in the hardware we used for that recessed handle, check it out here.
We HIGHLY recommend the Industrial By Design hardware when it comes to attaching the door itself to the wall – it’s high quality, a decent price, and the wheels slide SO smoothly along the track. It looked awesome along with this door, and the instructions and online videos they have are super helpful for install. We don’t take any sponsorships from them, we just really like their product!!
All in all, if there’s anything we learned from this sale, it’s that connections are everything. Never ever underestimate what putting your name out there can do – especially if you’re strategic about it. Connecting with people who have influence in an area or community can give you a huge pool of clients to be involved with, you just have to find out who those people in your area are. For us – we now know that’s the huge community of realtors in our part of town!
If you’re curious to see how we priced this door from materials to labor and markup, see below! We ended up being pretty spot on with this quote and what we charged the client:
Labor = 21 hours x $30/hr = $630
Materials (plywood, hardware, door handles, misc.) = $310
$630 + $310 = $940 (so this is what it cost us in labor and materials to create this entire project)
($940) x 1.4 = $1,316 (We multiply by 1.4 to calculate the cost adding a 40% markup, which is what we do for all of our client work).
We quoted $1,300 to the client right off the bat before even buying materials, so we were almost exactly correct!! $1,300 is in fact what we ended up charging, which means we made $376 in profit on this job. We don’t lump labor costs into profit, because we plan on hiring employees one day and we are preparing for that money to go straight to them. $376 is what we would have left to pay ourselves and/or re-invest in the business!
If you want to see the video of us building and pricing the door, the link is below!
This post may contain affiliate links for products we used to create this project! If you’d like to check them out, we do get a small percentage of the sale and they are of no extra cost to you! It all goes towards supporting the content creation of Jennie and Davis. BUT – we do not take tool sponsorships and there were no tool endorsements. Just our honest opinions!