Seeing is believing. The ability to provide a visual representation of the end product is what truly helps builders win new clients in this market. For many builders, this aspect is one of the fundamental reasons for investing in such processes like BIM (building information modeling), for example.

In the same manner, the remodeling market can benefit from a bit of visual representation as well. A new Web-based platform called SpruceBox, www.sprucebox.com, New York, N.Y., may just fit the bill. Aimed at homebuyers, this platform allows them to visualize hundreds of products in configurable, model rooms directly from their computer.

According to the company 13 million people consider a new kitchen or bath project annually. Yet, these projects can end up being costly, which more often than not deters some from even attempting such a project. SpruceBox hopes to help ease the burden of this process, while connecting homeowners with local retailers and builders in the process.

The company was founded by Andrew Kotchen and Matthew Berman with the intent to make such options more accessible to a greater percentage of the population, especially those who cannot afford to hire an architect or designer. This free resource allows homeowners to choose preconfigured options as their starting point or even jump right in and start configuring a model kitchen or bath. A collaborative aspect allows them to share designs with friends, family, and even a contractor.

While not aimed directly at the contractor market, this tool provides an interesting component to the contractor market. Oftentimes, the hardest part to getting clients on board with a project is getting them past the perception of it being difficult. Perhaps such a tool can be offered by contractors to clients in order to help them better visualize and work through the project on their own terms. In time perhaps that tinkering around with designs turns into reality and the client decides to go ahead with the project. It’s more than likely the client will go with the contractor that put such a tool in their hands to begin with once the project starts.

Lead tracking and relationship building starts long before a project begins. Contractors might consider such a tool for putting the power of decision back into the hands of the customer. It could pay off in the long run.