Installed Sales is very different than retail or contractor sales, you are essentially in the Remodeling Business. The most successful Installed Sales departments have the understanding and support of Owners and management. The rest of the store and even yard staff need to know what projects are installed as they can be a key source of qualified job leads.

And installed sales business should follow standard construction processes. That includes lead tracking, professional, detailed scope of work on contracts, using change orders, completion and warranty certificates, customer satisfaction surveys and having a service call or follow up process. Close attention needs to be paid to contract and document legal wording for both the protection of your business and the customer. Payment terms like 50% deposit, 40% on delivery of material and 10% on job completion is good for cash flow and you stay in control of the project. Along with other normal construction or remodelling documents, checklists are key in ensuring proper processes are followed and to minimize errors, which all eats into profit. This helps ensure productivity and a professional consistent customer experience.

Contractors and installers need to be properly informed on what your installed program consists of. Contractors with good reputations rely on repeat and referral business. Many customers don’t know who they can trust and go to big-box retailers based on perceived trust and experience. So independent retailers are filling a need with customers who the contractor would ordinarily not have access to, so we are not really competitors.

Leads are invaluable, 5 key customer details should be tracked on a lead form. Sales staff need to be well trained in asking questions and qualifying customers so the installs department receives quality leads. In my experience many stores have an administrative person who looks after the details like leads, accounting, POS, scheduling and some customer/installer contact. Sales staff can focus on design, estimating and selling.

With a comprehensive installed sales program and software in place you can have proper reports for this type of business (quite different than retail/contractor). Management should know what estimated versus actuals are at the end of each job; periodically, sales and gross margin percentage by project type, payments, work in progress, etc. We must know what sales staff productivity is by having report on close ratios, sales and gross margin by project type, etc.

With this key information one can measure and thereby manage a profitable Installed Sales business.