By Reid McCall & Charles ValentineIt’s rarely a good idea to go it alone, and success is seldom achieved solely through individual efforts. Spray foam contractors know this all too well, as success in this industry is influenced by factors before and after the job, as much as during. Make no mistake, SPF applications are battles: against time, against Mother Nature, against Murphy’s Law–you name it. In laying a foundation for success and planning for the unforeseeable, SPF contractors should always carefully consider who they have in their corner. So, outlined below are the Seven Rounds factoring into the right partnership for running a championship business.
ROUND 1: PRODUCT
As contractors, we are all installing a product manufactured by someone we have chosen to be in our corner. When you look at product performance, you can look to cost, but the true cost from a support point of view is the installed cost. How much did it cost in material to produce the board feet that I am selling? High-yield products obviously end up costing you less to install. The supplier in your corner has a choice to make: do they want to invest in the resources and technology to produce a high-yield product, or not? In some cases, your supplier may not want to do that because these products cost more to produce. Although they are in your corner, they are directed by you and may feel you do not want to pay the upfront cost for the better performing product.
Another critical aspect to the contractor fighting the open-cell fight is the Appendix X fire test. Some suppliers have used methods to require their contractors to get the builder to construct the attic space in a specific way, using alternate testing methods that require certain application criteria, even limiting the changes a consumer can make to the home after it has been built. Once again, who you choose to have in your corner is critical. There are products available today that pass the Appendix X test uncoated, minimizing the cost to the contractor and the potential liability associated with products that require specific attic configurations. The correct supplier in your corner can greatly improve your profitability by investing in the proper technology.
ROUND 2: TRAINING
Training is another aspect of being properly prepared for the market. Is the supplier in your corner investing in the personnel to support your company, insuring you improve your strength in the marketplace? Technical support in the form of properly trained field personnel can be an excellent tool in your corner. The ability to have someone visit your facility and ensure your equipment is working properly and that you are getting the maximum performance from the product you are purchasing can be a game-changer. You want field personnel in your corner who have the ability to transfer their knowledge to your crews so you can have maximum performance day in and day out. When choosing your supplier, strong consideration should be made regarding the proper investment in the resources you want in your corner.
ROUND 3: BUSINESS TOOLS
We all need to have the proper business tools in our corner. There are business management programs that can support everything from bids to inventory. These tools are another method of ensuring your business vision is coming to fruition and that you are earning your planned profit. The supplier you have in your corner should not only be comfortable with you having the proper information, they should be pushing you to check the performance of their product and your business. Your corner should have a symbiotic relationship with you. Your success should be critical to those in your corner and therefore supporting you in getting the best business tools. Introducing you to the best practices should always be a priority of your supplier.
ROUND 4: QUALITY INSTALLS
You are judged in your marketplace by your quality and your performance. Those in your corner should be interested in you providing the best installation possible. Is your supplier critical of the actual installation? Your supplier should be part of your team and should be involved in the discussions regarding how you enter the ring and your performance in the ring. These conversations can be difficult, but you want someone with the knowledge and ability to have the conversations with you and the ability to supply you with what you need to improve your performance. These discussions should include the performance of the product, with your supplier wanting you to get the maximum performance out of the product. One question we must all ask ourselves is, “Are we willing to be pushed to the next level?” Your supplier should be encouraging you to improve, to work to the maximum and not accept mediocrity.
ROUND 5: MARKETING
Is your supplier marketing itself as the best supplier, and are they willing to market you as the best fighter? Sometimes marketing creates an atmosphere of competing goals. Is the product more important than the installer? Are the gloves more important than the boxer? Obviously you want your customers to know that you are using a credible product, but you also want them to understand that it is your expertise that is the critical component of the installation. Our industry has struggled with this during the introduction of our technology. Initially it was critical that our products got acceptance in the marketplace. The market has now matured and we are all beneficiaries of the current knowledge level concerning spray polyurethane foam. We as individual contractors must now market our companies and our competence. Is the supplier in your corner willing to support you with individualized advertising and marketing materials? Is your corner support team willing to sit in the background and let you accept the belt and the glory associated with the investment they made in your company? Or do they feel the need to stand in the forefront and have you be the necessary evil the end customer must deal with?
ROUND 6: LEADS
As you prepare for the fight in your local territory the more information you have regarding the activity in your area is critical. The leads you get are obviously strong support you can gain in your territory. You want your corner to support you with leads, but the best lead is the lead generated from your personalized marketing information; the lead that is based on your company and only goes to you. Marketing that boosts your company and your brand ahead of the supplier puts you in a better position in the fight.
ROUND 7: TEAMWORK
As the fight moves into the later rounds you need your corner to be able to stand with you over the long haul. You need your corner to have invested in your success and be willing to stand with you and not look to move on to the next fighter. Is your supplier willing to limit the number of fighters he has in one ring? Is your corner willing to focus on you and your business? Here is where the teamwork meets the road so to speak. Talk to other fighters your supplier has supported and discuss the support they have experienced. Do their customers stick with them? Are they sole supplied? History is a good indicator of the future.
SES invests heavily in their contractors and is proud of their retention rate and the comments they receive regarding the support they provide. SES has invested in developing the best technology available to the industry, and has invested in hiring some of the top technical personnel in the industry to support their contractors. SES has invested heavily with BUILD-Marketing to support their contractors with individualized marketing support. SES is a leader in the spray foam market and has made inroads that cannot be ignored by the competent contractor. Does the right team support your business? SES has a proven track record of altering companies’ performance and increasing profits and growth rates. It’s time for you to hold the belt of success. •
CONTACT SES FOAM
Direct any questions about getting the right supplier in your corner to SES Foam:
Phone: 855-335-2440 / 713-239-0252
Photos Courtesy of BUILD-MARKETING