August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6
By Scott Perron
Over the last several years a significant trend has occurred: Millions of square feet of carpet is being replaced by hard surfaces. The look of hardwood has always been desirable in the U.S. and now there are many categories that offer the many visuals found in real wood, including tile, laminate, luxury vinyl plank and WPC.
Although similar in appearance, no item can replace the real thing when it comes to overall beauty and visual impact. Clearly there are challenges with regard to moisture resistance or maintenance of hardwood and laminate, which have paved the way for products such as LVP. For hardwood-centric retailers, the key to maintaining wood’s share of the market is to present the category with greater confidence, explaining to the consumer that she can have the real thing “for a few dollars more.”
We have found—in both wholesale supply and residential replacement—the key always comes down to educating the consumer or contractor on the options they have at their disposal. Quite often, however, retailers and distributors do an inadequate job of training staff members so they can be well versed when recommending these products for consumer use. Make it a goal to educate your staff on the construction, maintenance, warranties, application, preparation and proper installation of hardwood floors.
For those retailers selling and installing hardwood flooring in parts of the country where moisture or climate can affect the product, be especially diligent to send your estimators, sales professionals and installation teams to the many classes offered by your local supply houses, distributors and industry associations. In these affordable classes attendees will learn valuable information that can save you tens of thousands of dollars—even hundreds of thousands of dollars, in some cases—over the long term. In addition, these skills will build confidence in your team and set you apart from others in our field who are simply being penny wise and dollar foolish.
Accessories as a profit center
In addition to learning the proper procedures under the manufacturer’s warranties for installing their products (i.e., mitigating moisture, crack suppression and proper adhesion) my recommendation is to add on additional services such as wall base/casing installations, painting and maintenance services.
Here at 24-7 Floors and Floor4Pros, for example, we sell a large amount of wall base in proportion to our contemporaries simply because we stock the materials and provide custom painting of the product before it arrives at the consumer’s home. More important, we offer it to every customer at the time of sale. Internally, we estimate that for every 1,000 square feet of hard surfaces sold, there is an opportunity—on average—for 300 lineal feet of new trim, shoe molding or quarter round to be added on.
Are you looking to raise your average ticket with little effort? Then I suggest you sell trim on every job and incentivize your RSAs to do so while proving to your customer and their potential referrals that you are the experts in your market.
Scott Perron is the president of 24-7 Floors and Floor4Pros based in Sarasota, Fla. He is also an industry trainer and motivational speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860.250.1733.