As contractors, we like to look at finished floors and be judgmental and critical of one’s work and styles. However, lots of contractors overlook another side of doing business. So, I’d like to address pricing of metallic epoxy installation and how to best cover yourself from any possible legal issues.
Let’s talk pricing of metallic epoxy
While everyone seeks the best price, what has happened to paying someone a fair price to produce an excellent floor? What about artistic ability and credentials? How much effort does it take to produce the floor? People should consider one’s portfolio and written contributions to the industry. They also should consider the types of products used.
Most home improvement stores don’t sell top-quality epoxy and metallic pigment products, and they don’t include a warranty. They just peddle modified paint. It’s usually not chemical resistant or UV protected. Hot-tire pickup is the norm. Moreover, you don’t need skills to apply it.
Price also depends on what state(s) you work in. I, for one, work in Arizona, one of the most competitive markets in the U.S. No matter how good or horrible the work, the going rate for a square foot is based on competition. Skills, knowledge and experience don’t enter the equation. I find this so sad.
I believe it’s important to market your company, brand and skills to let people know what you stand for. Let them know how you differ from the others and what makes your work special. Finally, convince consumers why they should go with you.
Now, if you offer a style or system that some don’t like, that’s OK. As I speak from experience, not everyone likes my metallic floors. That’s OK — even if it hurts my ego. Consumers like choices so with whatever system you’ve chosen, just focus on yourself. Focus on what sets you apart from the rest of us.
Keep up with rising costs
Another problem concerns increasing costs associated with an install. When manufacturers raise prices because of the rising cost of raw materials, contractors should increase their prices, too.
While experienced contractors raise their price to maintain their profit margins, new guys will often undercut them. This is not a smart business move for any floor coating company. As a result, they slowly put themselves out of business.
I share this perspective to help educate the public and other coating companies. We all need to work together and support the market. This will result in a favorable outcome for all of us in the industry.
The importance of picture taking
Taking pictures is extremely important. After I complete a job, I take pictures and videos every time.
When I first began installing floors, I only took pictures of jobs that I personally liked. Soon, however, I realized I should take pictures of every job for legal purposes. It didn’t matter if I liked the outcome or not.
You should take before-and-after pictures because you never know when customers may complain about a job you did. You can protect yourself well if you have really good pictures. One may think you hire an attorney for protection. However, I disagree.
Just like any occupation, the one who knows best about your job is you. Save your money on an attorney if you get confronted by unsatisfied customers who don’t want to pay the bill. Or one who fails to follow both written and verbal instructions and blames you if the coating fails.
Speaking from experience
Yes, I speak from experience. No matter how good you are in your work, you’ll always have someone complaining. Subsequently, they hope they can get a free floor out of you. Unfortunately, the best way to handle customers like these is to listen to their complaints. Then take a look at the floor to see for yourself.
If you acknowledge the problem and know you could have done it better, then just redo the floor. If the floor is just fine and there’s nothing to fix, ask yourself: what costs more? Giving a refund or hiring an attorney? From my point of view, I always will neither redo the floor nor give a refund.
But let me make myself clear. I must have a valid reason not to offer a refund. If someone tries to take advantage of me, they may take me to court at their expense. This saves me money. Moreover, my pictures and videos go a long way in court.
I have been in this industry for 22 years and I’ve seen it all. To this day, I still have customers who like to argue over artwork. I have others who tell me why the contract they initialed and signed doesn’t apply to them. Yes, it’s irritating, but that’s the cost of doing business.
For every potential customer who calls, remember that while they think they’re interviewing you, you are equally interviewing them. Depending on how they come across on the phone or in person, you can make a judgment call. Decide if they seem like a risk for you and your business or a potential happy customer.
The importance of a good contract
I can’t express enough about the importance of having a rock-solid contract that covers what customers should expect in detail. It should cover what you offer, how you’ll do the work and all the job’s dos and don’ts. In the end, you’ll be extremely grateful for that contract you may have thought was overkill.
Whenever a new issue comes up, add it to your contract. Over time, you’ll feel more and more comfortable with customers because you’ll feel more protected and confident. This won’t protect you from everything but it will save you a lot of grief.
If something negative arises during the install that you didn’t address in your original contract, add it in. A good contract should consist of itemized sections detailing what you’ll do. Have your customers initial each paragraph along with signing the contract.
Cover all bases
In conclusion, remember the most important thing is to always cover all the bases. Even though new customers may say all the right things and you think they care, remember you don’t know them all that well. Consequently, they must earn your trust.
When people want things and have little money, they’ll say things to convince you to appease them. Because chances are that once something is down, you more than likely won’t remove it.