Best Job Practices

About a month ago, I was driving down to Dayton, Ohio on US 75 to go to a meeting. I saw a vehicle ahead of me belching out a black exhaust cloud. As I got closer, it looked like the vehicle would not make it to its destination. It was rusting out; the back doors were hanging loose from the hinges and they were tied together with wire. As I prepared to pass the truck, I noticed a roll of carpet sticking out slightly between the doors. Even though the windows were dirty, I could recognize a roll of pad on top of the carpet. Then, as I was passing the truck, I took a glance at the driver. He had a beat-up jacket on, was wearing a baseball cap backwards on his head, and was drinking a cup of coffee. During the balance of my trip, I tried to picture what the homeowner or business owner who was waiting for his new carpet to be delivered and installed would think when the truck pulled into his driveway.

I know this incident was not typical of all carpet installers. But, various degrees of this incident are taking place every day. Most installation contractors have clean, well-kept vehicles and arrive at a job in uniforms or clean, pressed shirts and work pants, which makes people welcome them in their homes and offices.

Another way to make people welcome you is not to ask if it's OK to make a phone call. I've had people tell me that the installer was on their phone for 30 to 45 minutes after he arrived before he started the installation, and sometimes the calls were long distance. Make your calls on your cell phone before you arrive to do the installation.

Another way to irritate the homeowner or business owner is to come in with a boom box or CD player and play it at a high volume or talk with their helper(s) about last night's date or sporting event, movie, or TV show. You are there to do the best installation you know how to do--period.

I live in a town with a couple of retailers who provide a lot of work to independent installers. They have trucks that are presentable and dress appropriately. Sometimes I drop in and talk to them as they are loading their trucks. I know they are typical of the majority of installers of carpet, sheet goods, resilient tile, wood and laminate being installed today, but when people see trucks that are beat up pulling into their driveway with passengers who are wearing clothes which are grungy and using language that does not belong in a home or office, it reflects on their opinion of all installers and could cause loss of business by flooring retailers.