During a question and answer session at a recent industry conference, a home builder asked Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi for his thoughts about the labor
Steam and Sauna Can Heat Up Your Sales
Steam and sauna rooms offer a lot of sex appeal to potential buyers and clients, and adept marketing can boost a builder’s sales.
|Steam and sauna installations are simpler and present one more hot selling point for the high-end builder.
One effect of today’s fast-paced, hard-working, hard-playing lifestyle is that people don’t spend as much time at home as they used to. The upside to this is that with the economic windfall that often accompanies this lifestyle, homeowners can afford to incorporate many rejuvenating and relaxing amenities in their homes to maximize leisure time.
“Today, health-conscious consumers are designing customized full-service exercise rooms and personal spas,” says Dan Fry, president of General Recreation, one of the premier health and fitness dealers in Georgia. “Contractors, builders and architects are now shopping for reliable and attractive must-have amenities to incorporate into their plans.”
Popular amenities in-clude luxurious, pamper-driven personal sauna and steam rooms. Charles Monteverdi, president of Sussman Lifestyle Group in Long Island, N.Y., says his customers are seeking to transform their homes into a sanctuary while driving design trends.
“Our customers are looking for amenities that are stylish and exciting, relieve stress and offer health benefits,” says Monteverdi. Sussman manufactures residential and commercial steam bath generators and sauna heaters, and is best-known as the creator of MrSteam and MrSauna products for the home.
These amenities offer a lot of sex appeal to potential buyers and clients, and adept marketing can boost a builder’s sales. “Marketed as a personal in-home spa which can impact quality and longevity of life is a very appealing selling feature,” Fry says.
Jeff Burton, founder of San Francisco-based The Bath & Beyond, has noticed a marked increase in his sales because of residential steam and sauna applications. “Sales of our MrSteam systems have jumped 40%. Contractors are telling us their customers are becoming more educated to steam’s consumer-friendly features and that high style and customization are becoming must-haves.”
Steam and sauna units can come in several styles and varieties, including pre-built, pre-cut and custom. While sauna bathing involves dry air heated to 175 to 190 degrees, steam baths operate from 110 to 120 degrees with high humidity (and optional aromatherapy steam heads). They complement each other for optimum health benefits.
Steam room installation is almost exactly like shower installation, except the generator needs its own cold-water feed, drain and electrical supply. The steam room must also be watertight with full doors and walls and all cracks and joints filled with a silicone sealer.
Sauna rooms must be vented as close to the floor as possible, and heater size must correspond to sauna room size. Installation of both types of units is surprisingly simple, requiring little extra framing, plumbing and electrical work. And the benefits to the builder’s bottom line can be surprisingly substantial.
“Steam is especially popular in colder, drier climates, yet people are still unaware that installing steam doesn’t require a major conversion,” says Mike Nail of AAA Steam and Sauna in Denver, which distributes and installs steam and sauna systems throughout the Southwest. “Education and marketing of these luxury essentials is key. When my vehicle is on call in some location, other homeowners begin to covet the toys of their neighbors, so my phone starts ringing off the hook with requests to incorporate steam and sauna amenities into their homes.”