A Poor Place To Save Money

No flooring business seems to be flush with money today. Competition is fierce and margins are squeezed. As with every budget in the business world, the need to watch expenses is very real. I get it! It’s just that there are some areas of your business which may be poor places to attempt to save money. In fact, in order to actually grow your clientele you may want to consider just the opposite.

What I don’t get is why most flooring retailers that I encounter seem to think that installation can often be identified as an area of cost reduction, when service is the only element of a sale that really differentiates us from our competition.

To illustrate, allow me to make a comparison to the restaurant business. Every morning a food supplier makes the round to the various restaurants in a trade area. Whether it’s a carton of eggs or a sack of flour, essentially the same ingredients are available to all establishments.

What we all realize is that while the deliveries into the kitchen are very similar, the deliveries from the kitchen to the customer’s table vary greatly. The ultimate success of the restaurant relies heavily on both the chef’s abilities and the recipes used. A great chef using inspired recipes will create a wait for a table at which to be seated. However, a mediocre cook using bland recipes will eventually create a “for rent” sign in the front window. Similar ingredients can produce very different results!

Isn’t this scenario in many ways very similar to our own? Our “food service” trucks carry names such as Shaw and Mohawk on their sides. They essentially deliver the same ingredients to the dock of all flooring stores. It is only the efforts of those who can craft a beautiful bathroom from boxes of tile, for example, that differentiate a great place from which to buy flooring from a mediocre one.

For illustration, let’s say that an entrée had a price of fifteen dollars. Ask yourself, if a restaurant added one dollar to the price of every item on its menu, then consistently delivered a great meal using more skilled cooks, what do you think that the net results in their amount of business would be?

Now, now ask the same question, but reduce the prices by one dollar and use a less skilled kitchen staff. Do you really think that they would prosper by being a little cheaper at the expense of delivering a better meal? I sure don’t!

At the restaurant, you judge the meal presented on the plate, not the ingredients themselves. Just as not everyone wishes to eat from the dollar menu; neither do all flooring customers want a flooring installation bargain. The one dollar illustration above represents a six percent price change. Have you ever gladly paid six percent more for something that you really wanted? We all have. What could a six percent change do for your businesses?

My experience is that many customers will gladly pay a bit more to have a superior service experience. This is really nothing new. Will Rogers stated that, “It’s not what you pay a man, but what he costs you that counts,” nearly a century ago. It’s still great wisdom today. Don’t let low installation rates for questionable workmanship mislead you. Their real cost may prove to be quite high.

Thursday, April 7, 2016