Rip up, tear out, or take up are the tag lines that are attached to removal of existing flooring. This is often an undervalued service, when it can be a solid profit center. There are different approaches between commercial and residential. For residential, it is almost viewed as just part of the installation, even though it could easily be a separate line item. For a retailer, sliding the removal cost out can offer a lower advertised price on installed products. Typically, those homeowners can be divided as avid do-it-yourselfers or they are looking for someone to provide a professional service. This reflects an opposite sided trend in the marketplace. It would take a salesperson a few minutes and a tip sheet for the DIY'er to explain what is required. Based on the home improvement stuff that gets dragged out of a big box store every weekend, forget the doubt because most homeowners can handle removal. The chance for that end user to participate saves them some on the budget, which a sharp salesperson will get to use on a cushion upgrade or a better grade of flooring. It's win/win, and the full revenue is still being made.

The second scenario is people that want a turnkey installation, but generally have a higher degree of expectation. They are willing to spend more money to gain a higher service level. This is an opportunity to not only boost the percentage for the retailer, but also to pass a higher compensation on for the installer. Now don't get me wrong; it's not time to gouge anyone, but here's a perfectly legitimate means to help the installation segment keep pace with the economy. There is a lot for the installation side to work with here. What a great time to support the CRI indoor air quality guidelines and use a HEPA vacuum for cleanup. A must is to haul that old waste away and make sure it is disposed of legally. A better move is to think about recycling the carpet and cushion. The general public is keen on going green and may even pitch in a few dollars more for the privilege. This can really raise the bar, so service the heck out of them and receive the worth. Bringing the salesperson back into this picture; this gives them a strong story to justify a reasonable up charge.

The commercial market raises some different challenges that can be more difficult because of the nature of the competitive bidding process. It's not so much that a sales person doesn't form a relationship with the client, but it's more rooted as a business-to- business buy, rather than based on emotions, such as pride of ownership, or trust as is often the case with a residential purchase. It does not mean that these projects are so beat down that there is no profit left, only that the strategy must change. This is where the business minded installation contractor seeks to create an edge. Reputation is always a factor, and providing consistent quality is important. Production is the secret ingredient that can multiply a slim profit margin into a healthy one. The advances in removal equipment make this possible. The smaller hand-run machines are a far cry better than the old school beater boxes that many of us broke in on. It's a given that this new generation is considerably heavier, but detachable weights solve the portability issues. They are far more powerful, a lot quieter, and able to tackle almost any topical flooring surface. The rider units, because of their mass, compound the efficiency.

While the commercial market can be cleanly divided into two categories of occupied or vacant, the only true limiting factor is the size of the equipment that may be utilized. With any decent size removal project, the properly equipped contractor will beat the others out simply on speed, let alone on cost. That is an important factor in today's fast track construction market. There is a good size investment to consider, so leasing to own could be the means to acquire the tools. Larger operations drive enough work to keep this type of equipment to themselves, which limits their competition. The smaller entities can exploit their edge when involved with a turnkey project; however this is not the kind of investment that can sit around idle waiting for some action.

I liken it to our flooring brethren from the cleaning side that invest some heavy-duty dollars in those truck mounts. Being smaller, it becomes about expanding the boundaries and virtually viewing removal as a second business venture. Please note that this is not a sideline type of thing, because the last thing the floorcovering community needs is more amateurs. To mirror that kind of notion would be like suggesting that installers all buy fire trucks and run around putting out blazing infernos on weekends. It becomes an issue about generating a volume of work to accommodate the growth of the venture.

Due to the nature of construction, most often the general contractor under the demolition phase with vacant properties handles the floorcovering removal as a separate line item. This provides an opportunity to go direct with the service, rather than through a third party, such as a flooring dealer or attaching your bid with a different type of construction subcontractor who brings a stronger position to the project. Realize that by being awarded the removal portion does not lock you into the reinstallation, so accept this fact.

With this same concept in mind, another avenue is to book work with other installation contractors on their projects. The most important thing is to view removal with a fresh mind set. It is an important service and one that should not be undervalued.