By Elisabeth McGowan Selling a floor is the objective for any retailer or distributor. However, they should also be aware of the role accessories such as trim and moldings can play in the success of any installation and the profit potential they represent.
It’s common knowledge that the right trim and moldings can put the final finishing touches on a flooring installation. What might not be common knowledge, however, is how accessories can provide an additional profit center for dealers. “Trim and moldings should always be a category where the retailer generates some of the highest margins within their showroom,” said Kraig Coxon, president of Pennwood. “Retailers should be making 35%-40% gross margins on their flooring as a rule based on their individual situation. Moldings, on the other hand, should be a minimum 50% to upwards of 70% gross margins.”
When it comes to accessory pieces like stair nosings and treads, Snaptech Solutions, a supplier of stair accessories called SnapCaps, said the average ticket size is nearly 42% higher when stairs are sold as an upsell to other areas of the house as well as a standalone solution.
So, how does a retailer go about cashing in on the healthy margins accessory pieces provide? First, it comes down to knowing the product and understanding your customer. According to Mark Pacacha, national sales manager, Seneca, the retailer and/or distributor should be familiar with which trim and molding is best for each particular customer according to the application and chosen flooring for the project.
Other suppliers agree. “Knowing all aspects of the job you are selling and installing is critical to its success,” said Bill Treiber, technical sales and education manager, Artistic Finishes. “Learn the terms and purposes of the accessories being used in the industry. Know the methods of installation required by the manufacturer for a successful install.”
Providing the necessary information to complete a project with these finishing-touch pieces also allows retailers to be problem solvers and design accent experts—which helps boost the bottom line. “Getting to know those profile categories empowers consultants and material suppliers with the knowledge to help customers specify what they need and improve their projects,” said Karen Bellinger, vice president, Küberit USA. “Doing those things improves every project, every bottom line and builds lasting customer relationships.”
Next, it’s about proper pricing and stocking. “Starting with the basics, the flooring retailer needs to shop their local big box stores as well as any major retailer,” Pennwood’s Coxon explained. “Shopping your competition allows you to understand price points, product offering and, most importantly, availability of the molding.”
Coxon added that if a retailer has a particular floor in stock or one with high sales volume, stocking the key transitions that coordinate with that floor is paramount. “You don’t want a piece of trim to either hold up an installation or, worse yet, invoice that job out because it’s not complete. In many cases, by stocking your key moldings you maximize your gross margin.”
Artistic Finishes’ Treiber noted that healthy margins are also determined within each business’s principles and goals. “The percentage of profit on trims and moldings can be compared to other accessories from other industries,” he explained. “Take, for instance, the automotive industry. The options and add-ons are nearly endless, but the packages are designed to include two or three most-desired groups of accessories. This is a good method to use with your trim and moldings. Base package might be the cheapest; however, a package upgrade option might be just what sells the job.”
Flooring manufacturers that have begun marketing matching and coordinating accessory systems understand this. For example, Mannington has developed SimpleStairs, a patent-pending stair tread system that has the same performance attributes of its popular Realta SPC line and also coordinates with its Foundations offering.
Following is an overview of new innovations in accessories.
Artistic Finishes’ Enduracor digital print technology utilizes high-definition scanning and digital print technology to create a near-perfect match to the flooring. Currently available in all standard molding profiles and treads and risers for floors ranging from 2mm to 15mm.
Küberit Expansion Profiles provide installers and contractors with the profiles needed to allow expansion joints to move without damaging the top-surface coverings. Those same profiles provide designers and project planners with functional accents, further expanding their floor covering options.
Mannington offers its SimpleStairs stair tread system that coordinates with its Realta and Foundations SPC lines. “The open floor plans of today’s homes are the perfect driver for SimpleStairs, as consumers desire a cohesive flooring look across their home which often includes coordinating the downstairs with the upstairs, in terms of design,” said David Sheehan, vice president residential resilient. “It’s a differentiator that retailers can leverage with consumers who want a better looking and better performing look for their stairs.”
Pennwood has created wood transitions with multiple stain options that are designed to blend with the flooring.
Perfect Vents is constantly trying to grow and innovate to better serve its customers. In 2021, it is continuing that by offering a new assortment of sizes. From a brand new visual of its 2 x 10 vent to custom sizes up to 8 inches wide and as long as a football field.
Seneca Millwork offers a wide variety of specialty finishes on their hardwood trims and moldings.
Snaptech Solutions has developed SnapCaps—an innovative stair tread and nose system whereby the cap/tread is derived from the same LVP planks utilized in a particular flooring installation. Thanks to a proprietary technology the plank is specially treated and reshaped to ensure a seamless fit.