|Home » Forums » Cabinet and Millwork Installation » Message||Login|
You are not logged in. Consider these WOODWEB Member advantages:
Moving to Florida7/8
After been in New England for 20+ years, I'm thinking about in move to Florida. Here in Ct. I have a 5000sq ft. 4 man shop where we produce custom cabinets and millwork. We are very busy right now, to the point that I'm using other shops to take some of the load. But, I'm feed up, lost interest, feed up with customers that don't know WTF they want and when they decide, they ask the question? When can you delivery? Feed up with workers, feed up with designers, with builders that order the kitchen when the painters are already painting the walls and the floor guys are finishing the floors..... anyway. I want to move to Florida and start a cabinet and millwork installation business, no shop. So i like to hear from anybody here from Florida ( Miami area) if there is a market for. Need some advice, fell free to call me nuts or stupid. Thanks for any help.
I'm in N Florida so I can't speak as to availability of work, but I'd spend some time in the summer there before you commit. It's hot where I'm at, but it gets stupid Quatar in the desert heat ,hot, in the Miami area. If you go to installs you'll be in it plenty.Plus the traffic is about as bad as any I've seen elsewhere. Been here in the south most of my life, and I can tell you the heat don't get easier as you age.
Oh yeah, in Florida it is all different. Shops always call their installers 6 weeks ahead of time to ask to please be placed on the schedule. Installers always find the job is clean, lit, wired and plumbed, ready for the cabinets that are stacked neatly nearby. Contractors and shops almost always pay the installers ahead of time, too. Bidding for work? They never heard of it.
It is not so much a geographical area as it is an attitude of acceptance on the part of the cabinetmaker/installer. If you have allowed your customers to burn you out, then that will happen again as an installer. If you let them give you difficult dates and then comply, you accepted the situation, they only invited you into it. I don't think any of them put a gun to your head.
You need to stick to your guns, as they say, and determine what you want and when you want it. That is mighty difficult when the whole industry has a beat down, catch-up, I'd do anything for a job attitude. And that doesn't even factor in the competition.
I have had many a customer tell me that "This is always the way it has been done and it will always be the way - you are not going to change it". And they are right - they are not going to change, but there are other customers that do not spend their energy preparing you to be their personal whipping boy.
All that said, there is always room at the top for the best. And someone has to be that company. But it will require a steadfast attitude and discipline to not fall back into old habits.
Well put KT.
Thanks for the help guys. KT you hit right in the head, thanks for the reply, good help. Sometimes the answer is right in front of us but we can't see.
Reads like your fed up with using a spellchecker or stringing sentences together...sorry, couldn't resist :>).
I absolutely mean no disrespect by this, but when I was once calling around, looking for a dog trainer, one exasperated trainer responded to my inquiry by stating "It is not about training the dog, it all about training the owners. The animal is usually just fine, it is the owners that screw everything up". He was right.
I used to train my customers to treat me poorly. I don't do that anymore.
That seems true of everything David. Parenting, animal husbandry, right down to blaming an inanimate object for what is actually operator error .
I have felt this same way for many years and guess its how you have to be but I often wonder how hard it would be to actually take the upper hand away from your customers if you were struggling for business (not that the OP is).
I think nothing of somewhat firmly telling the customers (in a very crafty way) what it actually is "they" want but I have always been lucky enough to be flush with work. I sometimes wonder if at certain times its easier said than done...
Just a rhetorical thought.
A rhetorical answer, if there is such a thing....
I will make a suggestion, or suggest a change in the direction something is taking - this is to the owner or designer. I'll wait a bit and bring it up again, and then mention it as 'that thought' - not my thought, just a general thought. I'll comment on how that ties this and that together, and the longer I think about it the more sense it makes. Trying to distance myself from said change, putting it out there for anyone to pick up.
Next time around, it is 'our' discussion about the changes. Then next time, it is 'your willingness to adopt the change is spot on, I think it really makes it all work...' Your contribution has been just what we needed here.
Give them credit for great ideas, and they will embrace them much faster. It is about positioning yourself on the same side as they are instead of opposite.
So many of my customers are business gladiators/competitors and to oppose them means you will just loose in order to win the job.
Of course, you could start out and make a really asinine suggestion and then try to defend, eventually giving in, so they can have a nice clean 'win' early on in the game, establish themselves as top dog, and then we can all move on and do what is needed.
And to think all I ever wanted to do is cut some wood.....
We are completely on the same page. It could sound crafty and manipulative but as you say, part psychologist, part woodworker, however you get your customer to embrace whats best works.
I too for years have floated an idea very tenderly and simply let it stew only to have the customer come back to me at some point and present the very idea to me as their own. This is of course greeted with "now thats a great idea".
Works like a charm for me the majority of the time but I guess again I wonder if its still part of the luxury of being somewhat sought after or in a position where you customer, on some level, knows that you have plenty of other things to be doing so they of course want to be firm yet are not willing to jeopardize their slot in the queue.
I think I have read/had this exchange with you in the distant past but its coming back to me. ;-)
Echoing James' post, this is truly a great place.
I'm on the west coast -Sarasota area. Moved here from Boston 20 yrs ago. Love it here. I am a cabinet dealer. Always looking for GOOD installers. This area is cranking up now. Don't know about Miami area.
looking for experienced cabinet and millwork installers and central and southern Florida.