Given the parameters of our design, a consideration of the gazebo market – which has proven to be successful – makes sense. The affordable prefabricated gazebos on the market are limited in the design and style they have to offer. A number of companies exist which build adult treehouses, but they tend toward custom, wood-based design. The niche that Summerwood has found for itself within the gazebo market has yet to be taken advantage of within the treehouse market.
This proposal intends to capitalize on that hole in the market, piggybacking off of the success of these types of gazebos: our product would be marketed as a younger, trendier, more fun gazebo alternative. (image courtesy of xkcd.com)
O2Treehouse has a great design for prefabricated tree-supported structures. They offer a 5’x5’x5′ unit ($1,500), a fully customizable 13′ diameter geodesic sphere ($5,000), and fully custom options ($5,000+). Their business model, however, has not proven to be terribly successful, with about 20 units sold in the past 5 years of their existence. This proposal aims to combine the business and marketing success of Summerwood with the design success of O2Treehouse. According to a codes official at CA’s Department of Housing and Community Development, there are no statewide codes pertaining specifically to tree-structures. If, barring stricter local ordinance, one were to build such a structure, no permit/inspection would be necessary if its square footage is below 120. The closest entity described in the state’s code is the “shed” or the “playhouse,” both of which must be structurally sound and compliant with the minimum building codes. This proposal’s success is contingent on 3 points:
1. Our ability to fabricate, deliver, and possibly install the unit at a cost that provides a reasonable profit within the market range of $2,000-$30,000. The first few should be sold at cost or for very little profit for marketing’s sake, but it must be feasible to raise prices in this case once a few have been sold and successfully installed.
2. Absolute ease of user interface for clients in every sense: accessing information, contacting the company for support, payment, ordering, shipping, installing, etc.
3. An aggressive web-based (and possibly guerrilla) marketing campaign.