There are few comments that baffle me as much as hearing “That’s the way we’ve always done it; I’ve been doing it this way for 20 years.” Why is it always 20 years? Or what about “That doesn’t work in my area” or “That’s just the way I am”? All of these indicate that you are stuck in one way of thinking. The mindset is all wrong. You’ve shut off the option of something better coming along before it even had a chance.
That’s the way we’ve always done it. Not only do materials and products change over the years, but the standards change too. As new technology and information becomes available, there are people and organizations in place to make sure the best practices are put in place. Whether it is flatness tolerances, waterproofing, moisture testing or installation guidelines, they are not all the same as they were 20 years ago, let alone five years ago. You must maintain constant continuing education to stay on top of your game.
Talking with your reps and fellow tradespeople will go a long way in keeping you up to date. In the eight years I have been in this industry, I have seen products change more than a little. I entered when laminate was all the rage, but LVP has now taken over as the go-to click flooring. Sure, they click together, but what does it require to install them properly? They behave differently in the same environments. The science behind them is different. It took time to learn the proper methods and to stay on top of them. In that time, the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) updated their wood flooring installation guidelines after about 20 years.
Adhesives and mortars have changed. There’s a wider variety of products now available, and how they are used has also changed. If you tried to install large-format thin panels using the same techniques that you used for 8x8 tiles 25 years ago, the project wouldn’t last. It would be a complete and utter failure. That’s the way we’ve always done it is limiting, and your business will die if you are not evolving.
That doesn’t work in my area. Whether it is a sales technique, following standards, pushing certifications or something else, I do not believe it. Plenty of people told me I couldn’t charge for estimates in my area. They were wrong, but to tell the truth, I’ve had a much easier time charging for consultations. My clients won’t pay for floor prep to have a flat floor. Are you willing to walk away from the project and die by the standards you say are necessary? I am and the clients have all paid for prep.
I can’t charge those prices in my area; no one will pay them. What kind of clientele are you marketing towards? How long did you try? What value are you presenting? I believe when people say things don’t work in their area, they have not put forth enough effort to learn the skills required to accomplish the task they are saying doesn’t work. Increasing your price without changing your value proposition or sales skills will not work. You can only raise your price for so long before that method runs obsolete. If more installers were skilled in their position instead of thinking that they can click or stick something together and truly understood the standards, then proper prep wouldn’t be an issue. However, the fact is that you take on the liability of a failed installation anytime you do something wrong. If and when you experience a failure, you will need to pay out of pocket to remove everything, properly prep the floor, buy new product and install the product. Was it worth it to not walk away? Was it worth it to fit the client’s budget? I don’t think so. We have to set the standard, not bypass it for a paycheck.
That’s just the way I am. I used to say this. My personality, my innate character traits, my acquired attitude were all just the way I was. It was who I am—take it or leave it. That doesn’t fly. We must look to experience growth and change. You can be different, but you choose not to be. You do not need to behave in the ways you do but it will take a long time to retrain your brain into a new way of thinking. What would an attitude of gratitude do for you? What would wishing well on those who have upset you do for you? What would forgiving those who have wronged you do for you? By taking these steps, we work through our issues with the situation in a positive way and let it go. We don’t need a grudge. We don’t need revenge. We don’t need to be apologized to. You don’t have to be the way you are. You have to choose to be different and make a conscious effort at it.
Take some time to see where you can improve your mindset and see what it does for you when you focus on it.
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