Hardware Retailing

JAN 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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January 2018 | HARDWARE RETAILING 61 "We make sure to let our customers know we have a handyman on staff," Davis says. "Customers I've completed work for are a big help. When they tell a friend or colleague that I completed a job and was a friendly, trustworthy person who got it done right, that's the best advertisement we could ask for." McLendon Hardware attracts the attention of its customers to its home services through traditional marketing channels, social media and store signage. "We utilize online advertising and commercials for TV and radio," Judd says. "However, we also have a lot of store signage that indicates products that have the option of installed services. Our employees on the salesfloor are able to clearly communicate that. Word-of-mouth is huge for us, which makes it even more important that every experience a customer has with us is positive." Through Briggs Hardware handyman services, Davis says his positive reputation and professionalism with customers has even helped build his online customer reviews and ratings. Online review boards Angie's List and Yelp are one of the ways consumers will get that word-of-mouth referral. "I have a five-star rating online for the handyman services I provide our customers," Davis says. "My customer will let others know I can complete their projects. I make it a point to ensure my customers feel comfortable and can trust me in their homes." Although adding these services can seem daunting on top of an already busy operation, Judd says it's something to consider as a way to remain competitive. "Many hardware retailers are in markets near a big-box retailer like Home Depot or Lowe's—these retailers already offer installation services," Judd says. "To capture that market, you need to provide these services; otherwise your customers will go to the big-box retailer to have a water heater installed for them." There are some things to consider before taking on these store services, like hiring the right employees and ensuring the legal side of the operation isn't overlooked. As the sole handyman for Briggs Hardware, Davis says he has to make sure he is meeting all the requirements of the state of North Carolina. "As a handyman, I am insured through the business to cover any liabilities and workers' compensation that might arise while on a job," he says. "However, there are several standards anyone has to meet in this position, yet it differs from state to state." For example, in Washington state, Judd says a contractor will need a business license, and they need to be insured and bonded to perform contracting services off-site. "For any retailer who is thinking about offering these services, they should be sure to consult with a local contracting firm," Judd says. "Most of these companies can address the different legal requirements that need to be filled. I would just remind them how important it is to cover all of their bases." " To capture that market, you need to provide these services; otherwise your customers will go to the big-box retailer to have a water heater installed for them. " —Taylor Judd, McLendon Home Services Know the Rules and Regulations By providing home installation and handyman services out of your business, you can grow your sales and help the customer beyond the walls of your business. Before you get started, however, you need to know what is legally required to offer these services. Below are some starting points, but if you're serious about adding these services, seek a qualified attorney for legal advice. • State contractor's board. Seek your state's contractor's board, and search it online for the various laws and fines that can occur if the laws aren't being followed. • Licensing. A contractor's license typically requires the professional to pass competency tests, pay a fee and prove insurance or bonding. Licensing for trades requires more specific knowledge and experience than contractor licenses. • Registration. This is often less strict than licensing; it requires contractors to prove insurance and pay a fee. • Bonding. Contractors work with a third party to cover any potential issues incurred by the client. • Insurance. It's very important a contractor is insured to cover potential property damage, injuries or workers' compensation.

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