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Moving Into Sales

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Old 02-20-2020, 10:02 PM   #1
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Moving Into Sales

Hey guys, hope all is well.
I’ve got a question for all the guys out there who started as a sub. I’ve been in Floors for 10 years now only doing installs subbing for local stores (with occasional aide gigs). I’ve never sold any material. I learned the trade from my father who is now well in his 60s and is still on the floor. I’m 27 and I’ve been bucking for us to “Specialize” in the wood side of the industry and start selling material with a mark up along with offering install services. He hates the idea.
My questions are: if you do sell material how did you start, what would you do differently now and could you point me to any reading or viewing material to learn about it?
Thanks ahead of time!
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Old 02-21-2020, 06:16 PM   #2
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Re: Moving Into Sales

You can lose a money on the material side of things if you get a cancelled order, defective material, crazy customer that THINKS material is defective, etc. Plan on absorbing the occasional loss when setting your margins.

You should also analyze what selling materials is going to do to your relationship with your current suppliers. Do you get a lot of referrals from them now? Are you comfortable going with a brand that none of them offer? If you try calling the rep for a brand that supplies one of your suppliers it's likely they will tell that supplier at some point.

Finding a rep that will sell directly to you is the first step. Negotiating good terms is the second. Consider a specialty product that you don't install frequently as a way to test the water. Can you supply 5-10% of your jobs for a while to get a feel for it?


Originally Posted by Jaws View Post
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Old 02-21-2020, 07:19 PM   #3
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Re: Moving Into Sales

A friend of mine worked for a stone seller/fabricator with lots of customers who sold cabinets. Against my friend's advice, his boss started selling cabinets. His fabricator customers would not do business with competitors. It blew up in the bosses' face, just like my friend predicted it would.

This is why your dad hates your idea. Or learn the hard way. What the hell do us 60-somethings know anyway?
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Old 02-21-2020, 08:22 PM   #4
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Re: Moving Into Sales

Make sure you get a big enough deposit to cover losses on sales when the customer backs out, because some will.
Flooring installer since 1973

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Old 02-23-2020, 05:38 PM   #5
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Re: Moving Into Sales

Your Dads ready to retire. He doesn't need to learn new tricks.

You have everything you need to succeed. Experience with the products, installation, customer service, problem solving etc....

Ideally you have a supplier in town who holds the inventory and you just sell from their stock. Keep the money in front of the work and nothing comes off the truck unless its paid for.

If the clients are paying in advance for the material you really don't have much to lose.

Warranty issues could come up but I'm sure you know how to do a good install. And as a rule, don't lay hardwood below grade. You'll never lose a dime on a job that was a lot of risk and not a lot of profit.
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