As a former truck driver in the early days of the 2000’s, I find it fascinating how technology has evolved when it comes to planning and executing a trip.

Thanks to smartphones and apps such as Waze and Google Maps, you will know the details of your next trip before you even get in the car. Distance, arrival time, best routes, accidents, miles ahead and even where police patrols are awaiting for you. Life is easy and predictable.

Back then, there was this thing called a paper map. Something that you would buy at convenience stores, gas stations and news stands. They came without the zoom-in and zoom-out feature which made it difficult to read the tiny street names. If you were heading to a brand new destination, chances were that you had to buy another map featuring the area you were going to. Knowing your arrival time with precision was utopia and impossible to predict. If you missed a turn, you had to stop on the side of the road, grab the map and figure out how to get back on track. Planning a trip back then … was not as fun as it is now.

As we start the new year, we should all consider a paper map trip to stay on track with our business goals. There are dozens of “instruments on the dashboard” that require your attention for a great business journey. Marketing, cost of goods sold, suppliers, staff , customer demographics among others.

Today, we are going to discuss one of those instruments called “installation”. In our industry we often hear “the installer will make or break a job”. I’d rather say “the installation will make or break a business”.

Here’s what I mean:

  • Installation should be a revenue generating department for your company. More often than not, I see dealers promoting free installation. We all know that nothing is free and the client is paying for it one way or the other. So, why show an installation charge then? Because it shows respect and authority to your clients. It shows that you are a legit company and not one of those fly by night individuals that may not be around in six months. It also sets the ground rules and expectations for future service calls. And having an item line for installation helps you plan how much business you generate. A good estimate for installations is 10% of the product sales. Don’t leave money on the table, charge for the services you are providing.
  • Installation requires focus and attention to details. I sold products and did my own installations for more than ten years. It is doable, but it is not for everyone. Selling products requires a specific set of skills: empathy with customers, being good with colors and textures and being comfortable dealing with rejection. Installing on the other hand demands other types of skills: physical strength to carry boxes and tools, being clean and organized while working inside people’s homes and the ability to figure out solutions under pressure.If you don’t enjoy selling or installing, consider hiring someone with the skills you don’t have. That way, both departments will be producing way more efficiently.
  • Installation requires oil change and regular maintenance. In other words a good installation department requires their installer(s) to attend trainings and conferences to keep them sharp. If the installers are not challenged to learn new products or tools, eventually they will become complacent. This can put the company in jeopardy, especially if the competition is willing to go the extra mile for their clients. Make this an annual event for your installation team.

Regardless of if you have your own installer(s) or use subcontractor(s), your installation department should generate these things: revenue, leads and peace of mind that every project will be completed to the highest standards.

If cash is tight, you are running on fumes or you stay up at night worrying about tomorrow’s installation, it is time for you to recalculate your company’s route!

Until next time!