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Untapped Resources: Utilizing Installer Expertise

(March 2012) posted on Thu Feb 23, 2012

"Installers can help you in ways you may have not previously thought about; they’re an invaluable resource for your company."

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By Jared Smith

We all know that we wouldn’t be here without the masterful craftsmanship of our installers – they are a shop’s unsung heroes. But because their work comes at the tail-end of the job, they’re frequently forced to right all of the wrongs that have occurred along the way.

Amazingly, it seems that no matter what we screw up on the front end, the installers can fix it on the back end. Tile too small? They can stretch it. Phone number wrong? They can probably patch the correct number in. Forget to tell the client what time to arrive at the shop, or double-book two wraps? The installers willingly wait around or stay late to get the job done. The list of mishaps the install team is forced to clean up goes on and on.

But all of this is not only is it unfair to the installers, it’s simply bad business. These practices will cause stress – stress that can lead to mistakes and burnout, both damaging to profits. It’s important we realize not only how valuable these men and women are, but also how valuable their input can be.

In the design loop
Let’s begin with the design process: The design team should always get an installer’s opinion. Many times we run into issues during the install that could have easily been avoided if only the sales and design teams had involved the installers before the production began. Or, better yet, before the proof was sent to the client. I’m not saying that it’s absolutely essential to run proofs by the installers before you send them to a client, but if the design requires a potentially challenging install, the designers need to recognize that an installer’s opinion is a must. And, yes, I’m saying this should happen before the rep shows the proofs to the client and the client falls in love with something that will cause everyone issues down the line.