How to Sell Surface Prep

How to Sell Surface Prep

How to Sell Surface Prep

True professionals know that the most important aspects of a tile or floorcovering installation lie beneath its surface. Your clients, however, may focus more of their attention and their budget on the aspects of an installation they can actually see. For that reason, they might be reluctant to invest in adequate surface preparation. However, to protect your reputation and make your installations last, you must communicate the value and importance of properly preparing substrates. Follow this guide to lay the right foundation for your jobs.

1. Scope it out. Whenever possible, avoid quoting or bidding on a project until seeing the space in person. While on the job site, carefully document any potential problems and integrate them into your quote. That way, both you and your customer will avoid surprising costs resulting from surface prep.

Similarly, avoid price lists. Every job is different and will require different expenditures of your time, as well as product. A price list may initially seem like it will expedite the process of winning business, but rigidly adhering to the same price per square foot for every job regardless of substrate conditions will force you to either lose profits or cut corners on difficult jobs.

2. Prepare for the unexpected. Of course, the substrate might not be visible on your initial visit to a job site. For example, if existing flooring obscures the substrate, you might not know the range of its problems until you begin work. With that in mind, include a clause in your contract for necessary changes in cost that result from substrate conditions.

Throughout the job, carefully document any and all substrate issues, and explain to the customer how they will affect your approach to the job, its total costs and their warranty.

3. For new builds, communicate your expectations. If the project is a new build and the substrate has not yet been poured, communicate substrate requirements to the other trades via the general contractor or building owner. Page 85 of the NTCA Reference Manual offers guidance on how to do this. The TCNA Handbook outlines the preparation work required of other trades for a variety of specific installations. Share this information with your customer so they can communicate it to other teams on the job.

4. Educate your customer. Whether your customer is a homeowner or general contractor, you need to impress upon them the importance of proper surface preparation. If they understand its value, they will understand why poor subfloor conditions may increase your quote. Use the NTCA and TCNA manuals to explain industry installation standards, and how youll help your customers substrate meet them.

In this case, a picture might be worth a thousand words. Show your customer pictures of failed flooring or tile installations that resulted from poor substrate conditions. You dont want to scare your customers, but you want them to understand that proper subfloor preparation is required for a successful, long-lasting installation.

How to Sell Surface Prep

5. Emphasize long-term value. Your customers should understand that a good flooring or tile installation is a long-term investment in their space. Although skipping surface prep can save them money in the short term, it will ultimately be quite costly.

Installation failures can force the temporary closure of a business, resulting in a loss of revenue and requiring additional expenditure on repair work. Homeowners may have to pay for an entirely new installation if the first one is not done properly. It has been reported that more than one billion dollars are spent annually addressing moisture-related flooring failures alone. A properly prepared substrate protects your customers investment in flooring or tile.

No matter how beautiful a tile or flooring installation initially appears, an improperly prepared substrate can cause it to fail in the long-term which will dissatisfy your customer and potentially damage your reputation. Learning to sell the value of surface preparation will help ensure that you can stand behind every one of your installations.

To learn more about our surface prep products. send us an email or call 1-800-832-9023, Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CST.

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