These features include educational insights, new and staple hardwood products and a spotlight featuring one of the Coalition’s members. A new edition of RWC coverage will be available in every print issue of FCNews throughout the year.
DID YOU KNOW
Hardwood’s return on investment is still the ‘ace’ in
the retail sales associate’s hand
It’s common knowledge that hardwood products can add value to any home—no surprise considering it remains one of the most aspirational building materials available today. But precisely “how much” value is up for debate given the many different types of floors—as well as the various construction types—on the market today.
For instance, a rare imported species with unique visual and performance characteristics might fetch a higher price than, say, your standard, run-of-the-mill domestic strip oak product. Prices for wood flooring products could scale even higher if the homeowner opted for a customized installation entailing intricate inlays, borders or medallions.
One estimate published by ProBuilder magazine, a trade publication targeting specialty contractors and installers, put the customer’s return on investment for a hardwood floor between 70%-80%. (For example: If the homeowner spends roughly $15,000 on a hardwood flooring installation, she could stand to recoup at least $10,000 if/when she decides to sell the home. Of course, much depends on the timing of a sale, the value of homes in a given region and the state of the overall housing market.)
Bottom line: The odds are certainly in the consumer’s favor given hardwood’s proven ability to add value to a home over time. “The entire supply chain needs to make the most out of the consumer’s desire to have wood floors and ensure that we’re all doing our part to provide a quality product to the end user,” said Chris Zizza, president of Westwood, Mass.-based C&R Flooring, a specialty wood flooring contractor and former chairman of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). In addition to installing the product right the first time, contractors can also follow up with homeowners on a regular basis regarding maintenance and repair. His advice? “Be the expert your client relies on for advice and educate them before, during and after installation.”
According to an NWFA survey of more than 1,000 U.S. homeowners, two-thirds of respondents said they would choose wood floors for their dream home, and nearly 80% of homeowners believe wood floors add the most value to a home.
Projects help tell the story
Retailers can talk all day about the ways a hardwood flooring can help beautify—or add value to—a home. But it’s another thing entirely when the customer sees the final product in her home.
Selling hardwood products comes with a litany of benefits for the consumer. These include: increasing the value of a home, having a product that’s going to last longer than some alternative floor coverings and enhancing the overall visual of a space. While these factors represent clear advantages for the buyer, they also equate to profit opportunities for specialty retailers.
Case in point is Natalie Goodin, director of retail business and marketing of The Flooring Gallery, Louisville, Ky. She recently oversaw and designed a hardwood flooring project for a customer. It was a 1,225-square-foot residential build for a family that was already searching for new hardwood products.
“My client purchased a home that was built in the ’90s,” Goodin recalled. “It originally had traditional 3⁄4-inch-thick x 2 1⁄4-inch-wide oak hardwood installed, but that would not work for this trendy young couple with two children.”
Nowadays, millennial-aged homeowners are seeking fresher, more updated styles in flooring for their homes—especially the more modern residences. That’s why a retailer or designer should be mindful about demographic preferences because that ultimately influences the product selection process.
Thankfully, in the case of the aforementioned installation, Goodin was dealing with customers who were predisposed on hardwood. It was just a matter of recommending a product that would fit the customer’s needs. Specifically, the couple was in search of a distressed floor that could conceal scratches and everyday wear and tear but one that still looked good. In the end, they chose a multi-width, long-length product with a rustic feel.
Not only was the couple extremely happy with their choice, Goodin noted, but the retailer benefitted as well. She reported that the Flooring Gallery typically earns margins of anywhere between 28%-35% on real wood.
“As an interior designer, I have always loved selling hardwood,” Goodin said. “Other products can’t mimic the warmth, feel and texture of natural hardwood. These are just some of the reasons hardwood has maintained its popularity over the years.”
TRIED AND TRUE
Supersolid 7 Hardwood by Torlys
The SuperSolid 7 Hardwood series from Torlys is a collection of stylish, exclusively crafted hardwood planks available in either white oak or birch color variations. Each exquisitely crafted plank is textured with a wire-brushed coating or hand-scraped finish. The product also features Torlys’ patented, 100% E-Lock Hardwood core for stability and durability. The line features a high-performance Klumpp finish for long-lasting wear.
NEW AND NOTABLE
Madison Square Collection from Mullican
The Madison Square collection comes in bold, contemporary colors in 7⁄16-inch-thick x 6 1⁄2-inch-wide planks, topped with a subtle wire-brushed finish. The line is inspired by the elegance and charm of a New York pied-à-terre, and the classic flair of the city’s best neighborhoods.
Somerset’s recipe for sales success
Ensuring success as a manufacturer in the wood flooring business requires not only the capability to execute effectively in various facets of the business (i.e., material sourcing, timely production and consistent quality standards, to name a few), but it also requires doing a lot of things the right way.
Somerset Hardwood Flooring is a prime example of this philosophy. By excelling in several key areas—strategic positioning, vertical integration and manufacturing prowess—the company is able to achieve consistent results again and again.
“Throughout our operations, we maintain control over the entire process, allowing customers be confident in the quality flooring we produce,” said Paul Stringer, vice president of sales and marketing. “Somerset owns and manages their own timberland and employs a full-time forestry staff who put together 100-year plans for our forests.”
To achieve consistent, high-quality standards Somerset continually invests in the most modern manufacturing equipment, paved lumberyards, computer-controlled dry kilns and state-of-the-art finishing lines. All that is backed by an experienced workforce that shares the common goal of producing high-quality hardwood products on which consumers and end users can always depend. “We believe it’s our skilled and dedicated employees who ultimately make the difference in our products, service and reputation,” Stringer said.