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Installments: Add to your bottom line with hardwood accessories

May 25/June 1, 2015; Volume 29/Number 4

By Bill Treiber

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 3.58.46 PMBuying, selling and installing accessories can sometimes be a challenge for floor covering professionals. Moldings, vents, treads and adhesives are often difficult products to handle, let alone ensure profitability from sales.

In addition, accessories are notoriously difficult to buy in the right inventory quantities—just ask distributors who try to stock them profitably. This is often due to the inability to accurately forecast sales. To add another layer of complexity, each sale has different molding profiles, species and accessory requirements. Given these challenges, here are some tips to consider:

Find the right supplier. Made-to-order accessory manufacturers are a great source for the best price. Many of these manufacturers can ship moldings within three days; helping to deliver customer satisfaction and profitability. Some points to consider:

  • Some manufacturers ship directly to the job site.
  • Use a single source for convenience, speed and future pricing leverage.
  • If you own multiple stores, hire a central moldings/accessories buyer to save time and money.

Sell the total package. Accessories are often afterthoughts, creating delays and costs post sale. Package pricing offers opportunities to add profitable items and services to the sale.

Avoid quoting a price for the job and adding the extras afterward. To alleviate installation problems, encourage the customer to order the flooring and moldings at the same time. The customer will be more likely to purchase a total package if she believes there is inherent added value, making it harder to exclude accessories at the time of initial purchase.

There are margins in moldings. Accessories have wider markup ranges, enabling the salesperson to “sharpen the pen” in additional areas rather than just destroying profit margins in a single product area. If the salesperson is truly excellent, then larger profit margins are always evident in a total package with no discounts. Salespeople should ask as many questions as possible about the proposed job, including:

  • Are transition moldings or wall base moldings required?
  • What trims are currently in the room?
  • What kinds of rooms adjoin the installation area?
  • What vents are currently in the room?
  • Are stairways part of the room or adjoining rooms?
  • What are the measurements of the doorways and steps?
  • How many steps are there in the stairway to be installed?

Minimize reorders. Quality accessories help guarantee a longer life and higher performance when installed in a proper setting plus, they will outperform and outlast any plastic, MDF or overlay products in the market.

Don’t forget about customer service. The more knowledgeable your salesperson is, the faster the customer is educated and the faster a sale gets closed.

Work with a manufacturer that provides accessible and “live” customer service reps to get the best results and save time. Also, accessible and accurate online product information is a tremendous time saver.

Be sure to use professional marketing and sales tools to build your credibility in your customer’s eyes.