What happens when you cut out the professional flooring contractor for commercial installations?
Many manufacturers have created internal project management and estimation teams since the end of “the distribution revolution” in commercial carpet in the mid-’90s. This is to replicate the services provided by professional flooring contractors. Manufacturers that sell differentiated products and are competitive on innovation rarely see this.
This is most common with manufacturers who have allowed their business’s price to drop due to insufficient capacity or lack of innovation. End users are forced to make decisions about the price because there is not enough product differentiation. End-users of large sizes can be aggressive in expressing their will during the purchasing process. Unsophisticated businesses may collapse under this pressure.
Manufacturers have tried to reduce the impact of low innovation on margins by gradually removing value enhancers like wholesale distributors. Although this was an attempt at increasing margins, it has failed time after time. To make up for the lack of sales effort, manufacturers have tried to add more services.
The risk that an end-user is taking on when he purchases services from a company that focuses on manufacturing increases dramatically when he uses those services for interior construction. End users are removing their protection levels by eliminating both the general contractor and independent experts such as interior designers or professional flooring contractors.
Professional flooring contractors can drive discretionary business and ensure the specifications of their manufacturing partners. Manufacturers who invest in services rather than product innovation risk losing long-term recurring revenue, as well as brand trust from loyal contractors and sales multipliers like wholesale distribution.
The focus on low-profit margin clients and material pricing alone results in a poor return on this effort. These situations require a professional flooring contractor to help reclaim the relationship, protect and provide real value to the end-users. Each project has its beginning and end. However, professional flooring contractors are there to help both parties – Partnering for Success!
Who actually does the work?
The manufacturer’s centralised teams cannot physically attend meetings, work on job sites, or deal with local issues. They have to rely on local support, often a CarpetAce member or a professional flooring contractor. Local subcontractors are often intelligent business people who increase material quantities to make installation easier.
This means that flooring is usually ordered more than what is necessary. On the other hand, professional flooring contractors conduct on-site floor inspections and analyse prints to determine the correct quantity and any expected accessories. This helps to solve problems with finishing details.
Subcontracted installers can charge significantly more per square foot for material and installation than professional flooring contractors. Two reasons are why this is so.
An experienced professional contractor who offers full-service work and has dedicated installation teams can get better pricing than an opportunistic maker who can only provide occasional work. Any subcontractor who does only install units (or makes compromise standards) will be charged more because they don’t profit on materials that help pay overhead expenses.
Proper Product Selection and Layout
The industry consolidation has increased manufacturers’ offerings, but specific product categories have been less popular. A professional flooring contractor can help you extend your product selection and make it more systemised. They work with all sources to ensure that the best products are found and the highest value enhancements.
The end-user can save money by choosing the right product. It is equally important to plan the flooring material and the accessories. Professionals take the time to plan, present and approve each detail. The best flooring product, matched with the right accessories, can reduce maintenance costs and prolong the time between replacements.
An accurate site analysis will consider current and pending regulations compliance, the specific compatibility for product construction, and knowledge of local norms. This contribution can increase product life by up to 50%
Protecting your flooring investment
There are costs associated with handling, delivery, and storage to offset the many limitations most manufacturers use to excuse site-related conditions. Because they can damage the floor’s value before it is used, common issues like too much heat, cold or humidity are not covered. Professional flooring contractors are indispensable for both the end-user and the manufacturer.
The flooring is protected by the contractor during installation. Special material handling skills are often required for the handling and possible redelivery (including where and how products were stored) of the product.
It is a great honour to see professional flooring contractors’ passion for completing projects and ensuring they are successful. Professional flooring contractors also handle all aspects of installation, from demolition to disposal to final clean-up to enhance the product’s value. These elements are not considered to be value in a direct sale but rather as expenses.
These costs are covered when a professional flooring contractor does the job for a manufacturer but not in a direct sales transaction. Since very few construction projects go according to plan, flooring must be stored until the building is ready or end-users are available.
Even though these requirements may seem unreasonable, manufacturers expect their installation teams to protect their products from the harsh realities of construction sites and the construction schedule.
The cost per square foot can rise dramatically when the end-user takes on these responsibilities and purchases directly from the manufacturer. The complexity of a project may mean that managing a flooring project takes 6-12 hours. This time is used to arrange deliveries, plan the installation, schedule elevators or cranes and verify material arrival.
Installation efficiency is directly affected by the level of management experience of professional flooring contractors. The difference in experience between a professional flooring contractor and a subcontractor hired to manage the project from Georgia can often double the time it takes. End-users may be subject to additional costs.
Installation problems caused by site conditions can lead to financial and time-consuming delays. Insurance is a necessary precaution. Two types of insurance are offered by qualified flooring professionals.
This protects the flooring from theft, damage, or loss during transport. The flooring contractor or end-user assumes the risk once the flooring leaves the manufacturer’s warehouse. The warranty restrictions clearly state that almost everything is not covered by the manufacturer. The servicing flooring contractor assumes the risk on behalf of the end-user.
The dealer may offer a service that covers unforeseen circumstances. The flooring contractor will handle the insurance claim and reorder the materials from the manufacturer. The flooring contractor will work with the producer to fix any problems with product appearance and performance. This frees the end user from additional management.
Manufacturers have sent dyeing services to shaded carpet sites over the years and asked flooring contractors for help sorting through thousands of cartons made of poor quality resilient material. This has allowed them to keep their projects moving.
Although insurance isn’t an extra burden for qualified flooring professionals, who usually have a policy, the premiums for an end user’s one-time policy are significantly higher. The end user’s risk is only increased if they ignore the need for insurance. As a stand-alone purchase, this can increase the cost of a project.
Proper maintenance can extend a floor’s lifespan and add significant value to the end-user. A carpet that is expected to last 10 more years will have a 10% increase in its value by having an extra year of life. Four per cent is an increase in value for a carpet with a 12-year life expectancy. A six-month extension would mean 12 years longer. Only after installation can a significant amount of the floor’s value be determined.
Although producers produce and deliver the product, on-site support is not possible without local service providers. Professional flooring contractors can often offer advice and ongoing service to help the end-user maintain the floor’s appearance and performance. These services can increase the value of the floor and save the user money on replacements, brand experience or business disruption mitigation.
What is the Impact?
- Partnering with a professional flooring contractor reduces complaints to the manufacturer, so they can avoid uncomfortable conversations around the Limited Warranty.
- Professional flooring contractors follow the manufacturer’s recommended procedures for installation. They are responsible for handling, storage and site conditions entirely exempt from the manufacturer’s warranty.
- The professional flooring contractor assumes all responsibility for the contract, materials, documentation and compliance with local and federal regulations.
CarpetAce members are highly qualified and professional certified professional flooring contractors. They can provide comprehensive accountability to address many practical issues in modern construction, whether negotiated or bid through a general contractor. They are interested in their client’s long-term satisfaction and needs. Both the manufacturer and end-user benefit from a professional flooring contractor.
While the manufacturer may produce a wide range of quality products, the professional contractor can provide the expertise and services necessary to make a manufactured SKU a viable option. This will allow the manufacturer to offer a long-term, real value proposition perceived as a marketable product. This partnership is essential to Partnering For Success!