Somebody told me he has a better margin by selling premium underlayment. How do I start?
Jack Boesch, director or marketing at Norfolk, Neb.-based MP Global Products, answers:
Generally speaking, big ticket items such as wood flooring have lower margins than flooring accessories. One potential accessory to increase your profit margin is underlayment. Fast food restaurants figured out years ago that asking, "Would you like to make it a large?" increased the total sale. The same holds true for underlayment; just by asking, "Would you like to enhance the performance of your wood floor?" you can add dollars to each sale. Start early in the sales process. Many customers want to choose on price, so find out what is important to them and their "whys" for replacing the floor.
Having a clear "good, better, best" underlayment program helps. Don't lead with an inexpensive, base-grade poly foam—start the pitch with a product that can really enhance flooring performance and teach customers about the differences. Talk about acoustic scores such as Impact Insulation Class (IIC) and Sound Transmission Class (STC). Both ratings can be especially important in multifamily construction such as a condominium or apartment. The higher the scores, the more effective the product.
Even if the purchase is for a single-family home, you can still upsell. Be informed regarding which underlayment offers the best moisture protection, the best support or the best insulating R-value. Not all underlayments are created equal. When installing a floating floor, an untestable-yet-common sentiment is that they sound hollow when walked across. A quality dense underlayment will help provide a more solid feeling and a sound more like fastened-down hardwoods.