Starting a Flooring Business.
Starting a flooring business with entrepreneur Bryan Park. Bryan shares his entrepreneurial journey, from attending the Air Force Academy to founding Footprints Floors, a nationwide full-service flooring provider. And his experiences and guidance on starting and growing a flooring small business.
Bryan Park is the founder and CEO of Footprints Floors, a full-service flooring provider in Colorado and across the nation. Under Bryan’s leadership, Footprints Floors has established an exceptional reputation by prioritizing the customer and promoting the best in people, products, and business practices, which has enabled rapid growth in over 160 territories.
He currently serves as an ex-officio member of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) Board of Directors and has received recognition as a distinguished 40 Under 40 nominee by Hardwood Floors Magazine. Entrepreneur magazine recently named Footprints Floors one of America’s fastest-growing franchises.
Bryan grew up in south Denver. He attended the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO and served this country after graduation. Like most who serve, Bryan’s military experience strengthened his belief in, and commitment to, integrity, duty and leadership.
When Bryan and wife Kelli settled in Littleton, Colorado they started a family, three rambunctious girls and two very big dogs. It was then, Bryan noticed that the flooring industry in Denver was highly inefficient and unscrupulous. It was nearly impossible to find providers who worked with a true sense of honesty and fairness. Changing this was not only an opportunity for Bryan, it was practically a calling.
“Putting the customer first and creating an impeccable reputation in this industry was job #1,” says Bryan, about his goals for his future flooring company in Denver. He named it Footprints Floors, and created a unique company structure that promoted the best in people, products and business practices. It worked! So much so, that Footprints Floors is one of the largest hardwood providers in Colorado and is growing rapidly.
Bryan lives in Littleton, Colorado.
Starting a Flooring Business:
- Why did you decide to attend the Air Force Academy, and how has your service in the Air Force prepared you for life and business?
- Please briefly share the story of what led you to launching Footprints Floors in 2008.
- When did you know you wanted to be your own boss? Who were early entrepreneurial influences?
- What did the business look like when you first started (i.e. number of employees, trucks, etc.)?
- Would you please share a significant early surprise? Something you were not expecting when you started your flooring small business.
- What are some of the advantages of the flooring business?
- What are some of the challenges?
- What are the primary sources of new customers?
- How do you execute on delivering great customer service? Please share an example of how you do this…
- How do you avoid competing on just price?
“Because we run a mobile business model (our estimators, project managers and installation technicians come to you), we never need to spend money on expensive showrooms, non-essential employees, or storage space for flooring materials. This keeps our overhead costs extremely low…and we happily pass our savings on to you, the homeowner!”
- Bryan shared that they collect 50% of the price up front, and then50% at job completion. The initial 50% covers his costs.
- How do you differentiate yourself in a competitive industry?
- What’s the key to growing a flooring business? What’s the biggest challenge to scaling?
- What makes for an ideal Footprint Floors franchisee?
Episode Host: Henry Lopez is a serial entrepreneur, small business coach, and the host of this episode of The How of Business podcast show – dedicated to helping you start, run and grow your small business.
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The Flooring Industry: What to Know Before Starting Your Own Business
The flooring industry is a segment of the home improvement industry which generates over $500 billion in annual sales. Offering a range of options from hardwood and laminate to carpet and tile, the flooring industry can be a profitable small business venture for entrepreneurs. With the increasing focus on home aesthetics and comfort, along with the constant need for renovation in both residential and commercial spaces, the flooring industry presents lucrative opportunities for entrepreneurs. However, before diving into this venture, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons and consider several key points.
Potential Advantages of Starting a Flooring Small Business
- Stable Demand: Flooring is a fundamental aspect of any residence or commercial property. Whether it’s a new construction, renovation, or even a minor upgrade, flooring services are always in demand.
- Variety of Options: The flooring industry offers a plethora of materials and designs, allowing you to cater to a diverse customer base with varied preferences and budgets.
- Profit Margins: With the right supplier relationships, the markup on flooring materials can be quite significant, providing excellent profit margins. As Bryan Park shared on this episode of The How of Business, a well-operated flooring business can generate as much as 50% Gross Profit.
- Low Skill Barrier: Basic flooring installation doesn’t require extensive training, though certain types of flooring, like specialized hardwood or intricate tile patterns, will demand higher skill levels. And if you consider a franchise business, the franchisor should provide the training you need to be successful with your flooring small business.
- Relatively Low Entry Costs: You can start a small flooring business with minimal capital investment.
Potential Disadvantages of Starting a Flooring Small Business
- Competition: The flooring industry is highly competitive. Not only will you compete with other small businesses, but you’ll also face competition from large home improvement stores.
- Seasonal Demand: The construction industry at large often sees seasonal fluctuations. You may experience slower business during winters or rainy seasons, depending on your location.
- Physical Labor: Installing flooring is labor-intensive and might require you to be on your feet for extended periods. And to grow, you will have to hire or contract with installers competing for workers in a tight labor market.
- Inventory Costs: Holding a range of flooring materials in inventory can tie up a lot of capital, especially if you aim to offer a wide array of options. This can create a cash flow challenge for your small business.
Points to Consider When Starting a Flooring Small Business
- Market Research: Conduct thorough market research to understand your target audience, their preferences, and the existing competition. This will help you identify a niche or gap in the market.
- Skill Development: Even if you’re not the one installing the flooring, a comprehensive understanding of the installation processes for different materials will be invaluable. You will also need an understanding of how to operate your small business. If you have limited knowledge of the flooring industry and little to no business experience, you may want to consider a flooring business franchise like Footprints Floors.
- Supplier Relationships: Establish strong relationships with reliable suppliers to ensure you have a consistent source of quality materials at competitive prices.
- Location: Choose your business location carefully. An easily accessible location can attract more walk-in customers. You might also consider a virtual business that brings the show room to the customer.
- Certifications: Some states require flooring contractors to be certified or licensed. Make sure to check the regulations in your area and comply accordingly.
- Marketing: A strong marketing strategy is essential for attracting customers to your flooring business. Consider investing in a professional website, social media advertising, and local SEO to make your business easily discoverable.
- Customer Service: Beyond installation, offering excellent customer service can go a long way in garnering repeat business and recommendations.
Starting a flooring small business comes with its set of challenges and opportunities. The flooring industry provides stable demand but it’s also one that requires physical labor and potentially significant capital investment, especially in inventory. With the right planning, a focus on skill development, strategic supplier partnerships, and robust marketing, you can carve out a successful enterprise in this competitive yet rewarding field.