Flooring Contractor Issues: How to Increase Your Profits

Contractor Issues: How to Increase Your ProfitsBy Bob Blochinger

The answer to increasing your profits is simple, clear and can be viewed with one word: Commitment.

Whether you are an independent installer with a helper or an installer/owner of a workroom with multiple employee installers or sub-contractors, commitment to your trade and business is the most important factor that brings success and increased profit and production.

Once you have committed to the trade, continue that attitude with advanced training and education. Don’t be just a tract installer working with basic commodity materials on a daily basis. Advance yourself to higher-end products, denser materials that require advanced skills for seaming and installation. Aspire to have the skills to install woven goods, learn to hand sew, use new technologically advanced tools, read industry publications, find out what’s new and learn to use this information in your daily work.

Further, cross train for other flooring products, such as vinyl, tile, wood, and laminate, and learn to install products for the hospitality, commercial and marine segments. My catch phrase is: “If you walk on it, I service it.”

The basic procedure is the same for all flooring products installed today…floor preparation before installation. Perform substrate preparation to accommodate the type of floor covering you’ll be installing and bring the broom! Educate your customers to know why it is important!

Advanced education and training ‒ both, hands-on and classroom ‒ will build your confidence for workmanship superiority. Your personal best, your pride, will reflect in your workmanship. Your dedication and training will enable your reputation to grow in a positive manner. Success and higher profile jobs will come as you grow your stature within the industry.

Another approach is positive public relations and marketing ‒ which is not the same as advertising. Advertising is letting the public know where you are, what you sell or do and perhaps what you charge. Although public relations and marketing are very different, they work hand-in-hand to promote your business. Explain in detail how your business and workmanship is the best in your service area, and what you do but not what you charge. It should speak of the reasons why someone should hire you and/or your company to perform the installation.

Most importantly, dress for success and cold call firms that should hire your company. Make sure to provide printed materials, not just a professional business card, rather, a brochure with elements of your workmanship in the images, words and phrases describing the work you perform. Limit your visits to 15 minutes with the person you meet with for the introductory visit. At the conclusion of your visit, ask them to offer you one job for an example of your workmanship and business procedure. By doing this, you will open the door to performing more work together.

Also, when you are on the jobsite, do dress professionally. It goes a long way in keeping the pathway for additional business more inviting. Keep in mind, you don’t want more jobs, per se, you want more business, as there are many jobs or tasks within a single jobsite.

Floor preparation work can be as much of a profit center as installing the product. Offer add-on items such as better quality pad, custom designs and architectural strips. Now, these add on services can’t be offered if you work for another flooring company (such as a retailer) as they have a salesperson whose job it is to sell and yours to install.

Increasing production is not limited to hiring more help. It involves working smarter with the tools and equipment; which relates to faster installation times. It means educating, training and the main topic, paying attention. It means going for the bigger jobs, more intricate jobs, better paying jobs, and more profit.

Profit is the item left over after expenses, including your pay. Keeping track of what you purchase, what you spend on vehicle repairs and use, payroll, taxes, rent, tools and equipment are some of the topics to review on a regular basis. There is not a business in the world that can survive without profit, since profit is used to expand the business. Your rates should be raised periodically, just as others do. Flooring manufacturers raise theirs yearly, as all the raw material suppliers do. Why not you?

However, keep in mind if rates are raised, then the consumer needs good PR and quality workmanship to support that raise. They need a good reason to pay the higher rates ‒ great service with superior workmanship.

Smart thinking, thinking before you act, planning ahead, being ready for most any circumstance on the jobsite are critical. Don’t run out in middle of the job for materials you forgot, did not have, or need more.

Keep records, do the required paperwork and all other aspects of business that must be attended to as well. Pay attention to details, read directions and the guidelines provided by the product manufacturer.

Increasing production can increase the profit percentage, however, good solid business practices will increase both.

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