Decline of the floor Covering business in small towns

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Floorist

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Ten years ago, there were six full service floor covering stores here and eight installers. Today, there are two full floor coverig stores and one cash and carry. There is one full-time installer and 2 part-time. Most of this is, I believe because of the economy. During that time, the population of this county has dropped from 23,000 to 20,000. Five factories have closed. There are at any time 6-8 empty store buildings on the square. Has the bad economy impacted like that everywhere or just in pockets? Do you see it coming back like it was or do you think it will stay bad? We made crafts and did 20+ craft show a year for 20 years. That all died out about five years ago. Without getting political, do you see any of this improving?
 

Ernesto

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, AZ
The stock market is full of paranoid schizo's. I don't pay it much attention nor would I put any money of mine in there. Better odds playing lotto.

Having worked for quite a few retailers around here over the years I can say I am glad I am in charge of my own destiny now....totally independent. Some times it's slow but I always know it's just not me cus I routinely get calls from installers looking for work.

You really need to learn how to market yourself instead of leaving it up to some retailer and waiting for them to hand out a job here and there.
 

Floorist

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I was an independent for years and only did retailer work when one of my customers bought from a local retailer. Did a lot of restretch and repair work,too. That has all dried up. Haven't had a call for repair work for a couple years.
 

Ernesto

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, AZ
I was an independent for years and only did retailer work when one of my customers bought from a local retailer. Did a lot of restretch and repair work,too. That has all dried up. Haven't had a call for repair work for a couple years.

How are you marketing yourself if at all?
 

Twomly

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Good topic, I call this the ripple effect, trouble is this time the ripple has gone across the globe.
I for one think this is good for buisness as we will see the poorley run buisnesses fall by the way side clearing a path for the new. For example one of the shops I work for has been on the same road for 25 years and has managed to survive 2 recessions and now a third and has still got work coming in many of the other retailers in the area have fallen, so he has managed to see off the competition.
Eventually the ripple will stop, the ground will be leveled and we'll all be off again climbing that ladder, it seems to happen every 10 years.
 

Floorist

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How are you marketing yourself if at all?

Ads, cards all over, letters to real estate agents. Don't think it's me, unemployment in this county is 20%. No one has any money. It seems like every week, another business closes. I have had several tell me that if they can come up with the money, they want me to do their work. I have done 2 jobs this year both for long-time customers. My stepson got laid off from McDonalds because it's slow.
 

Ernesto

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Ads, cards all over, letters to real estate agents. Don't think it's me, unemployment in this county is 20%. No one has any money. It seems like every week, another business closes. I have had several tell me that if they can come up with the money, they want me to do their work. I have done 2 jobs this year both for long-time customers. My stepson got laid off from McDonalds because it's slow.

So you have no website and not in any directory, online or off....phone books?

It seems rural areas are pretty hard hit unless there are some exclusive neighborhoods in the area. But people are always searching for someone to install their flooring especially if they buy online. And even if they are not buyiing online they still may not like the local retailers. Everyone is looking for a deal and if they cannot find you online forgetaboutit.

You need to establish a presence online. Quite a few people told me to get a website and I didn't until I really needed one. Then it was a mad scramble to get online presence and get those people who look for not only a deal, but truly qualified installer/contractors.

I'd start with the cheapest website you can get, start researching SEO work and do it yourself. You certainly seem to have the time. Nows the time.
 

Floorist

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I have a website and a phone listing, plus I grew up here. I know 90% of the people who live here by name. Ceramic and wood is almost 100% DIY here. That just leaves carpet and vinyl. A lot of the vinyl is going DIY with IVC. Doesn't leave much.
 

Nick

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You can that the mills for making products that are targeted at the dyer .
my brother just e mailed me , wanted to know what to nail the tongue , or groove .
I asked why , who is going to screw up their floor ?
Someone at work he said .
That's the end of the free advise .
 

Ernesto

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, AZ
I pick up lots of DIY jobs gone south, they're a bit overwhelmed. However they can do a really hack job and think it looks great, they saved money, they think, untill it's starts to come apart on them and the only thing left to do is demo it. Usually then they decide to pay a pro to do it having thrown away thousdand's of dollars. Or at least have someone come and fix it.

I'd say in a very small town like Rusty lives in you better have more than one trade to live by. There's only so many floors to do! Even handymen out here charge up to 75 bucks an hour. Had one quote a single parent mom 4 bucks a sf to finish a laminate she tried to install herself and gave up on. bastard

Have no fear, all that DIY flooring is mostly junk and will only last so long. Thats the reason the box stores will not install many of those products they keep in stock.
 

Ernesto

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Rusty, your website does not pop on a local seach, words flooring installation, Nevada missiori on a google search. Nor will it show on the Manta link. Get it on there for free. Think free listings in your area that let you post your website on the ad.The more exposure for your website the better for it and eventually you get higher ranking. This is some of what seo work is all about. It should also be posted on here as well on your signature.

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&sa=X&e...biw=1280&bih=916&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&cad=b

Looks like lots of smaller towns around ya that might need your services.
 
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Incognito

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Good topic, I call this the ripple effect, trouble is this time the ripple has gone across the globe.
I for one think this is good for buisness as we will see the poorley run buisnesses fall by the way side clearing a path for the new. For example one of the shops I work for has been on the same road for 25 years and has managed to survive 2 recessions and now a third and has still got work coming in many of the other retailers in the area have fallen, so he has managed to see off the competition.
Eventually the ripple will stop, the ground will be leveled and we'll all be off again climbing that ladder, it seems to happen every 10 years.
***************************
This time it's different. (classic falacy!)

Your general thesis is correct though. We NEED economic catastrophes to weed out those who have absolutely no business being in our business. Otherwise the competent stores and experienced workmen/shops can't ever get decent pricing power against the day laborer, illegal aliens and fly-by-night rookie contractors. The customer simply can't distinguish between horror stories and the best of the best when the economy is so strong ANYONE can make a living in construction.

Around here in the Los Angeles/Southern California area it appears to me about 1/2 the retail operations are now boarded up or replaced by other kinds of business. If I had to guess that's still about 2-3 times too many retail stores to service the population and their needs. That's good for the consumer------not so good for the trade.

Commercial work, which I specialize in is not even close to experiencing the full brunt of the recessionary pressures. Our contracts, corporate, government and institutional spending on construction is at least a year and usually 2-4 years in the planning and financing stage. So we're still doing work today that was planned prior to the worst collapse in the global economy in recorded history. I'm afraid of what's going to be out there 2-3 years from now based on what might have been scheduled during the worst of the financial panic.
 

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