Home Living

Navigating The Rapidly Evolving Hearth Landscape

By September 25, 2019 No Comments
Napoleon Fireplaces


Mike Holmes is a professional contractor, television host, public speaker, educator, influencer and writer.

As one of North America’s most trusted home authorities, his no-nonsense approach has struck a chord with industry leaders worldwide, leading him to be recognized for his trustworthiness by Forbes and Reader’s Digest. He has built an international brand based on quality, integrity and trust.

Renovating a home isn’t just a necessity anymore. Gone are the days that homeowners wait to fix things until they don’t have any other choice. Today, more and more people are renovating to please themselves. It’s about love for their own environment, their own serenity. We sat down with Mike Holmes, professional licensed contractor with over 35 years of experience, to discuss some of the most important things to consider when helping your customer’s home renovation dreams come true.

Q: In your experience, what are the most important things to consider before helping a customer choose the right fireplace?

Holmes: For me, the most important thing to remember is that homeowners don’t live and breathe hearth like we do. It’s our job to ask the right questions, understand needs, and manage expectations. I have met many very smart hearth professionals based on their technical expertise, but I find many hearth professionals jump into the product mechanics before they understand the homeowner’s emotional desires.

I always say “slow down” and begin by taking the time up front to truly ask the customer the questions that matter, not just about the size of unit or the number of BTUs. Why do they want the fireplace? When, how often and in what situations do they dream of using it? What “look & feel” are they seeking? What’s their vision? If all dealers and installers had started with these questions, I would have less need to go back and “Make It Right®” amid all the tears like on my show. 
The more that we actually talk and get to know the customer, the better we’ll be at giving them what they truly want. That will lead to increased satisfaction in you which subsequently equates to more positive social reviews and referral business.
  Q: How can dealers and installers sell more upgrades to homeowners undergoing a renovation?

Holmes: I have always found that people will never buy something you don’t show them. One mistake I see in all forms of home improvement is assuming everyone wants the lowest price and not giving home owners the option to pay more to get more. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bathroom or a kitchen or a deck. It’s all about making people’s dreams come true through ideas that spark their desire for more enjoyment. 

Homeowners will buy more if they see more, and that includes fireplaces in rooms and spaces that customers didn’t think were possible. And thanks to innovations in the industry today, we can dazzle them with gas, electric and indoor/outdoor options. It makes sense to me to make a mess only once and get the most out of each reno so adding to the job can save the homeowner money down the road. This opens the opportunity to upsell better product, more product, and more services.

Q: How are today’s homeowners evolving and what can you do to stay ahead of the curve?

Holmes: I think the single biggest evolution is simply that yesterday’s renovations were mandatory, and today’s are elective. I find that millennials are much more interested in buying “experiences” than previous generations. We’ve come a long way from the years when the main benefit of fireplaces was heat. Ask the millennials, like my son and today it’s about setting mood, style , safety, efficiency, and the environment. That’s why I believe that hearth professionals need to embrace electric fireplaces, creating installations that cannot be duplicated by DIY’ers and home centers. 
I’m also seeing great opportunity outdoors. For example, I just love the gas indoor/outdoor Luxuria fireplace from Napoleon; I have one myself. The unit allows for two-way viewing from inside and outside, giving homeowners an outdoor living centerpiece, a relaxing indoor focal point, and double the ways the fireplace can be enjoyed.