Jeff Golden
Are free installation services/carpet cushion part of your carpet sale? If so, consider re-thinking your position and create new profit potential for your company.

To illustrate this new profit opportunity, consider a recent change implemented in the airline industry. Following the events of 9/11, most airlines dramatically reduced food service in coach/economy class. And, if food service was offered, it was simply food that could be consumed without the use of utensils. This limited fare reduced the airlines' food expenses, thus increasing their profitability.

Recently, you may have noticed some airlines (Delta, US Airways) are now charging for food on flights in coach/economy class. If you want food on flights, be prepared to shell out anywhere from $2 or more for snacks and $5 or more for regular meals. Though it now comes at an additional price, the food is definitely better and the flier now has the choice of purchasing food in the terminal or, if he so desires, aboard the airplane.

This step has further improved the air carriers' profitability by selling all food/snacks on flights in coach/economy class. I believe our industry could learn a lesson from this recent airline industry change. Applying a similar a la carte pricing approach to flooring would benefit the industry and lead to greater profitability for both the retailer/contractor and installer.

Everyone knows there is no free lunch, and the same applies to cushion or installation services. Don't bury the costs of installation labor, supplies and cushion with the floor covering product selected by Mrs. Consumer. Profitability in each area of your business should be monitored regularly and you should constantly refine your operation to maximum efficiency.

Today's floor covering buyer would rather see an itemized breakdown for her purchase rather than an all-inclusive price. Separating the components of the sale into floor covering, supplies, cushion, subfloor preparation, underlayment, installation labor, etc. allows more opportunities for trade-up selling. Another benefit for detailing each component is the opportunity for profitability on all areas. Implement this program and take more money to the bank.