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How Contractors Can Capitalize on Outdoor Kitchens and BBQs

By Laura Ory on September 18, 2018 in BlogNo Comments

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Ewing account manager, Bryan Hensley, assisting on an outdoor kitchen build.

Getting into outdoor kitchen and BBQ builds is probably easier than you might think, says Ewing account manager, Bryan Hensley.

Bryan has helped many contractors in Texas learn how to take on these kinds of projects and grow their business. Any contractor can become an outdoor living contractor, he says.

“The companies that are in the most backyards every week will definitely have the most opportunities to spot things, like a gas line already sticking out of a wall at a customer’s house. Recognizing these opportunities is where it all starts.”

Installing outdoor kitchens often requires fewer workers and tools than a typical landscape or irrigation job.

“It really does come down to just capitalizing on the opportunities that we often times already have in front of us.”

Getting started

The typical outdoor kitchen is usually around 9 to 12 feet in length and can be completed in 3 to 5 days.

“This business is 90 percent planning and about 10 percent execution. If you plan things out well, the jobs typically go smoothly.”

One of the most things you can do when you begin to build outdoor kitchens is to become proficient with some kind of AutoCAD design software, says Bryan.

“With all the different subs and other trades that you will likely need to enlist during the install, the ability to send out a scale-accurate CAD drawing of the project assures that everything is precise and per the plan, even if the GC can’t be onsite.

The next important step is finding out the kind of lifestyle your client wants from their outdoor space.

“This interview of the customer is key. You have to get a good idea about how the customer wants to live outside.” That way you can get them the design and products they want that’ll be able to enjoy for years to come. For instance, the buyer who loves cooking burgers, Bryan might steer them to either to the Bull BBQ griddle or a Primo grill.

With the Bull BBQ stainless steel griddle, you can prevent flame ups and grease fires, while prepping more ingredients.

“You can grill your bacon or fry an egg to top off your burger right next to your patty, all in the same space.”

And for clients who are serious about flavor, the Primo smoker may be the way to go.

“There’s nothing like a beef patty with a smoke ring,” said Bryan.

Finding clients

Most of the people Bryan sees putting in outdoor kitchens are in the residential market, often first-time home buyers.

“Almost every major national home builder is providing gas line stub outs onto the back porch these days. I find that one of the very first things that new home buyer does is start to go grill shopping.”

That means landscape contractors should get in front of the home buyer early, before they have a chance to buy a BBQ online.

More commercial properties are also adding outdoor kitchens to common areas for shared use. Vacation and rental properties are also recognizing that the ROI is short for adding outdoor kitchens as they become more desirable to potential renters.

What’s trending 

This year the keyword for outdoor kitchen designs is modern.

“These projects usually call for more of a commercial kitchen look…concrete countertops, stucco and very smooth lines.”

Stand-alone islands are also trending, including separate cooking stations and bar/entertainment areas.

Ceramic smokers are also growing more in popularity as more people seek out the best flavor for their barbecue efforts. 

“Everybody in the country wants to learn how to cook a brisket properly these days. Ask folks about this and 75 percent of the time, you will find yourself changing your initial design to accommodate a Primo ceramic smoker once you have the conversation,” said Bryan.

Fire up your business with BBQ builds

If you’re still unsure about adding outdoor kitchens to your services, there’s one more reason you may want to reconsider. 

“When the market cools off and new home starts are down we find that we install more kitchens than before. People invest money into their backyards when the economy falls apart. It’s a great recession-proof segment of the industry,” said Bryan.

Whenever you’re ready to start building outliving living business, Ewing can help.

Ewing offers a full line of  outdoor living products and experts to guide you.

From RTF outdoor cabinets, to Bull and Primo grills, accessories, lighting and finishing materials (pavers, stone and countertops), your local Ewing can help you source and order the materials that are proven to last and meet your client’s expectations.

Ask your local Ewing how you can learn about these products and view more of our outdoor living articles and videos for more information.

How Contractors Can Capitalize on Outdoor Kitchens and BBQs graphic
Laura Ory
Laura Ory is Ewing's digital marketing specialist. She can be reached at lory@ewingirrigation.com.
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