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It will be worth your time to add revenue streams to your c.c. business by associating with others who complement what you do, but do not compete with you.
I've mentioned before that where I used to do wood floor recoating myself (and got pretty good at it) I now do all my wood floor work - which now includes full sanding jobs as well as recoat jobs - thru a nearby company who does only wood floors. I went to AngiesList (www.angieslist.com) to find someone with strong reviews. (I am an Angies List member, which you have to be to read the ratings posted there on contractors.) I called and spoke with three of those with the highest ratings. One had no interest. A second was interested enough, but said I would have to put anything I made on top of his price. The third one was both interested AND willing to give me a nicely discounted wholesale price on any job I brought him. I obviously selected him.
A good example is a job I booked yesterday. A person moving into a good sized older house in nearby Brookline had Googled something like "wood floor refinishing boston". I came up on the first page, so he went to my website, www.drysdales123.com. On the site, under WOOD FLOOR SERVICES, I have posted all of my guy's super-positive AngiesList reviews and comments. That separates me from the low-price guys. Some of the low-price guys are OK; some are not so OK, and have made headlines locally by doing their work in a way that started fires, even totally burning down a couple of area houses.
I went to the 5-bedroom house to meet the owner, look at the condition of the floor (recoat job, or full sanding?) and measure everything out. I could tell he wanted to get the job done as soon as possible, and therefore would have to limit his "shopping around".
I measured a total of 2120 s.f. of wood floors, plus there were also 12 stairs that would be part of the job. I gave him a proposal as follows:
2120 s.f. x $1.90/s.f. = $4028.
12 stairs 250.
I will pay Jack, my wood floors guy, at a rate of $1.25/s.f., and $20 per stair. If you do the math, you will see that in about 2 hours work, I earned myself $1388.
And just this morning I lined up another job, quite a bit smaller, that will nonetheless provide me with a profit margin of about $425. This too involved only about 2 hours of my time.
While doing a carpet job at a Bhuddist temple today, I noticed that the finish on their wood floor was looking a little thin. I explained to the Facility Manager what recoating is, and how doing it in time saves you from having to fully sand & refinish a floor later. She saw the logic of this, and asked me for a proposal. There is about 1000 s.f. of wood floor, which I quoted at $1.10/s.f. My wood floor guy charges me .50/s.f. for a recoat job. So I will make myself $600 on this job, just for pointing it out to my customer.
I run into this alot w/ clients as just about everyone has wood floors.
How would i know what type of work the floor would need just by seeing it? Is there a basic routine of inspecting the hard wood so you know what needs to be done?
I've been interested in doing this that you've explained, could you give the "script" on how to approach these guys on angie's list. I know you've mentioned before in older threads, but i'm trying to come up w/ a good verbatum script b4 i call the high ratings companies on Angies's List.
With my customers who have wood floors, I mention to them early in the game (when these floors are still in good shape) that in order to keep their floors looking good indefinitely, they should plan on having them recoated in a few years, BEFORE some areas get so worn that the finish wears down to bare wood. At that point, recoating doesn't work well, and they will need to undergo full sanding in order to bring their floors back.
If I am in a home or commercial property for the first time, and I notice that their wood floors are approaching the state of wear described above, I suggest that they consider having the floors recoated, so as to "lock in" the amount of wear, and give their floors a new, or nearly new, look by having them recoated. I explain how I have a terrific wood floors guy, and I would be happy to measure out the rooms and give them a proposal (don't call it an estimate - that sounds too vague).
I used to only offer recoats, and I did them myself, but I kept getting calls from people who wanted my "dustless" floor refinishing. On the phone I would describe when a floor could be recoated, and when it could not. They always would say that their floors were a good recoat candidate. Then I would go there and find heavily worn, sometimes trashed out wood floors requiring full sanding. I didn't want to keep passing on these jobs, so I looked for a skilled floor sander. Just call these guys and tell them what you have in mind. No formal script needed.
Thx for the tip.
When you first got into doing the re-coating and kept getting the calls for sanding, did you ever thought of doing this on your own other than giving to your guy and getting a commission on it? I know you said u did the recoat on your own, but now you give it all to him.
Did you find that it was too much of a hassle and to get into recoating and sanding on your own?
I want to add this as an add on, and would be doing what you described if i can find someone to go with, however what if in the future i decide to do on my own, or have an employee do this type of work. That's what im trying to see what is the right path to take. I wouldn't want to all of a sudden tell the wood floor guy that i don't need him anymore.
Since you've been there, what made you decide to not want to get into the sanding part of it as well for your business?
Sanding floors professionally requires a high degree of skill level with a number of pieces of equipment with which I have had no experience. To learn all about this field, I think someone would want to apprentice himself to a company in the wood floors refinishing business, and learn under the supervision of people who do this every day for a living. For you to get a better handle on the complexity of this skill/art, go to www.floormasters.com and read the back posts on the Forum there.
On the other hand, many companies which manufacture floor finishes now offer a recoat package kit for people in other areas of the floor services industry.
Some of these are Bona Kemi, Basic Coatings, BridgePoint, ChemSpec, and Varathane. It would be worth your time to Google these companies up, and read about their recoat products.
How do you make sure that you get payed in the end of the job? Since the client would be paying your/your company for the wood floor work, but your wood floor guy would be doing all the work.
Since as we all know in carpet cleaning we all get payed right when we are done with the work.
Do you ask for 50% up front from the client and do you also go their home to pick up the check yourself when your wood floor guy is done?
I ask this because you mention you pay him instead of the client paying him themselves.
After Jack (Wood Floors Guy) finishes the job, he mails me an invoice the same day or the next. When I receive his invoice, I send him a check, and mail an invoice to the customer. I have never had a problem in getting paid. I think this is at least partially due to Jack's exceptionally high quality of service. That's why, if you are going to adopt this business model for wood floors, you need to make sure that you use someone you know by reputation (testimonials, etc.) to be very good. You might theoretically make a larger profit margin on each job by using a low-cost refinisher, but you could also be setting yourself up for problems as well, including some difficulty in collecting on your end.
With my Marble Guy, I have a somewhat more complex arrangement, which involves collecting 10% of the amount due at the signing of a services contract, and another 25% when work begins.