Profit has received a bad rap. Throughout most of the twentieth century, and into the 21st, from every soapbox to the highest houses of government we have heard men and women decrying the evils of PROFIT. Many Hollywood movies depict the greedy businessman stealing and pillaging without a care for the greater good. It may not seem it, but if you own a business, they’re talking about you!
You own a business, you have employees, you spend long hours marketing, taking sales calls; do you feel like a palm rubbing, malevolent crook? Of course not, you put in long hours, you know your numbers and your living expenses, and you deserve every cent available!
As a small business owner, you are a capitalist. Maybe on a smaller scale, but capitalist nonetheless. Politicians and rabble-rousers may not be speaking DIRECTLY about you when they talk about the unethical nature of profit, but you are heaped in the basket with every other business big and small. The difference is in scale.
Let’s look at the definition of PROFIT:
Profit is the monetary surplus left to a producer or employer after deducting wages, rent, cost of raw materials, etc.
Profit is essentially the reward for capitalists who provide extreme value. The more value you bring, the more profit you earn. The better you run a business, the more profit you get. Value is subjective, it may not be the same across the board. Something that one client thinks is valuable may not be valuable to another client. If I give a price to someone and they don’t see value in it, they don’t hire me. That would be an example of the system working properly!
There is a reason for profit! To many, profit is theft. I could not disagree more. Companies arrange VOLUNTARY agreements with customers. Services are rendered. Payments are made. If the company does what it is supposed to do, bills are paid, and profits are procured! Pretty simple arrangement and the justest way of doing business.
Profit isn’t about gouging or getting the better of your clients. You bring a lot to the table for your customers to feast on. Let me give you a few examples of why running a profitable tile installation business is not only great for you but also better for your customer:
- A profitable business will be around for a long time.
Without profit, the first economic turndown, the first damaged water pipe that floods a house, the first tile job that needs full replacement because of a mistake, will take you out. Every company needs money put away in the bank for a rainy day. Why is it good for a consumer to hire a company that’ll be around long term? If there is a problem with a shower or floor, you’re still a phone call away. If something goes south, you’ll have money to rectify the situation. One example: Five years ago, my company installed a heated floor system in a basement sewing room. Well, a couple of months ago, there was a lightning strike that fried the thermostat. If we were not able to pull a profit, if we had gone out of business, that customer would not have had access to us to come back and replace the thermostat. Can you imagine the hassle that a homeowner would have gone through to get the problem assessed and the thermostat replaced if we weren’t around? It pays to have profit BECAUSE YOU GET TO STAY IN BUSINESS through thick and thin and continue to serve your clients!
- A profitable business will have systems in place for success.
A profitable business is profitable for a reason. It’s not because it’s inefficient or soft on the details. It’s profitable because all its ducks are in a row. There is safety in systems when you are a consumer. ESPECIALLY a tile consumer. We all know the permanent nature of the tile. Systems are needed to ensure a lasting, great-looking finished product. The best example of a business with a great system is McDonald’s. McDonald’s is profitable because it has a system in place where they can plug any random person off the street, and still produce a consistent burger and fries. That’s the power of a system. It’s a huge reason they make money, expand and figure out how to provide their customers with more of what they want.
I highly recommend the movie “The Founder” with Michael Keaton. It’s the story of Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s and it boils down to the power of a system. Ray Kroc, a lowly milkshake machine salesman at the time, sees the systematized restaurant of the McDonald brothers. Kroc knew immediately profit was sure to follow if that system could be coupled with the vision that he possessed. With over a billion people served, over a 50 plus year history, the system speaks for itself.
What does a good system look like for a tile installation company? Everyone is different, but if you are doing bathroom remodels, for example, they should go as close to clockwork as possible, from the first phone call to final photos. Every. Single. Time. Minimal surprises. THAT’S a good system. Once you’re consistently running a similar program from job to job you’ll know you have an effective system in place. A great system ensures a higher probability that your customer will be satisfied.
- A profitable business will have the best people operating that business.
Top people want to work for the best businesses. When a consumer hires a profitable business to take on their home improvement projects, they’re almost guaranteed to get higher quality installers. Installers that can operate within a system, installers who are well taken care of. A profitable company has the extra funds to pay for training, Thanksgiving turkeys, and added perks that motivate their workers to go the extra mile. Think about human motivation; not only are business owners motivated by the potential for profit but employees are also motivated by the potential for extra benefits and privileges that go along with working with a successful company.
- A profitable business will be part of the community it operates in.
Neighbors hiring neighbors. What a great way to think about the people you work for and who work for you. I like to frame my business interactions with people like this. It adds a sense of connection that helps build meaningful relationships. Imagine hiring my business and I happen to be your son’s baseball coach. Or my business sponsors your son’s baseball team. Do you think a person that doesn’t have a profitable business would be able to take the time to give back like that? Do you think a person without a profitable business would be able to donate the funds to help support local youth athletics? Businesses with money in the bank recirculate that money within the community that they live. Profitable business owners will be more likely to raise happy and healthy kids. Profitable business owners will be able to afford to spend quality time with their children, children who are far less likely to cause a ruckus within their community. Profitable business owners, big and small, give back in so many ways and without money, that philanthropy would be shut down.
- You’ll know exactly what you’re going to get from a profitable business.
A profitable business will presumably have an extensive history and they will have a brand built up that will add an extra level of security. The security is that your client will get what they paid for! A profitable company will have a better ability to take on the responsibility of a complex job. I’ve seen it time and again, people hiring guys without an established history and they are shocked when they get a finished product that leaves a lot to be desired! People shouldn’t fall for the carrot on the stick of low price! We need to convince them to go for the higher price with your company, that will then have a duty to provide them with high quality, lasting finished project. Think about it, a profitable company is more likely to think in terms of giving a homeowner their money’s worth!
- Profitable businesses will have extra money to perform the small ‘extras’ outside of their
scope of work. There is nothing worse than being ‘nickeled and dimed’. If there is no profit in a job, as a homeowner, you’re going to have a tough time extracting the special effort to do the little extras at no additional cost. An example of a little extra is when we were doing a recent bathroom remodel, our client’s masonry step became dislodged. We offered to fix it because we had all the tools on-site and there was plenty of extra money in the job to provide her with this little extra service that meant a lot to her! That’s what I mean. If you’re running this job on a shoestring budget, you’re not going to have the time or want to expend the effort to take care of little things like an unsecured step that goes a long way in filling someone’s emotional bank account.
A lot of what I’m talking about here is based on a simple assumption: A profitable business is profitable because they provide the most value! There is safety for your people if you actualize the lessons we are teaching here at Tile Money. It’s better for your client that you are charging MORE MONEY for your services. “It’s not the market rate” is a true brain disease! Don’t let people guilt you into giving away the farm, friends. This is not a hobby and it’s in EVERYONE’S best interest for you to have money in the bank!
There is a huge opportunity here for tile installers that can differentiate and separate themselves from the “blow and go” type of installers. If you can convey value to your potential clients, you can charge what you need to create a profitable business. The carrot of the low price will always be dangled in front of your future client, but you’ll have a superior experience and great results (VALUE) that will overcome the temptation!
There are plenty of people wearing $200 Nikes, you’re on a $1000 phone or computer, trust me, whatever company made those products are making a FAT profit or they wouldn’t have produced the product! YOU ARE NO DIFFERENT; your business is simply on a different scale! Show value, produce great work and a high-quality finished product, make a profit. You deserve it. If you’re in a tough negotiation with a client, let them know you’ll be making a profit on their job, which is only right, and tell them a couple of reasons why it’s in their best interest that you do so! Stay profitable friends!
This guest blog post was written by Benjamin Santos of Hamilton Tile, you can read more of his writing by visiting his blog.