“We are in the toughest time I have ever seen in our industry,” says Dave Yoho, president Dave Yoho Associates. You may find that surprising, given that home improvement sales continue to soar, maybe not as much as 2021, but still, there is record demand. But supply chain and hiring challenges, coupled with economic factors such as rising inflation, make the home improvement business more complex than ever before. In February, a group of window and door executives tackled some of these challenges during the Home Improvement Profitability Summit, hosted by Dave Yoho Associates.

D.S. Berenson, managing partner at Berenson LLP, a firm that caters to the remodeling and home improvement industry, urged attendees to make sure their deposits are paid on time. And speaking of delays, he says it’s important to have delay language in your contracts as some suppliers are eight months behind.

“I’m not fear-mongering you,” he says. “I’m helping you save the business you built.”

Mickey Madden, chief operating officer at Woodbridge Home Solutions in McKinney, Texas, agrees with this advice.

“Inflation is out of control, and people’s discretionary income is going to come down, and they are going to cancel that job that’s been on the books for four months,” says Madden. “It has to be in your contract.”

Madden also hired hiring advice, saying this is where many companies fall short.

“The biggest mistake people will make in 2022 is hiring the wrong people,” he says. “You have to put in work before the interview. Did you look them up through google and social media? Did you look at the resume for gaps in work history?”

He also encouraged companies to ask themselves if they are hiring out of need or want. “I want better people in my company,” he says. “We are going to be dealing with less interested consumers and inflation running amok. You’re going to need better people to pull this off.”

And you have to be willing to let go early on. Madden told the story of walking in a training session with 12 people and letting five go. “They weren’t interested, weren’t paying attention, etc. and that costs the company money.”

But when you find the right salespeople, give them attention. They need this as they lose more than they win, says Madden, so they need to feel worthwhile.

“I believe anyone can do this with the right training and the right skills,” he says. “The big question is will they do it. No one aspires to be a telemarketer or a canvasser, or a salesperson until they do it and find success. If they are disinterested, they won’t do it.”

And many times, it comes down to wanting to be a part of the company culture and having a purpose.

“Culture is one of the most important things today. It wasn’t decades ago,” says Madden. “But now, because of all the information available, people want to be part of something special.”

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