Day in the life of
Flooring Company Owner – Ralph Severson
My typical day starts with meeting one of the crews on a new site to speak with the homeowner and lead, help solve any problems, and give everyone a rundown of how this job should be tackled.
After I meet with the crews on new jobs I head into the office. I start the day by answering emails and calling any new leads that we have acquired. After this, I go meet with homeowners and create estimates for their projects. By this time there is usually some reason that I need to visit one of the sites where we are already working to help sort out some sort of unforeseen issue such as subflooring that needs to be replaced. I contact the homeowner to explain the situation, and added cost of replacing it. Then get their blessing on doing so. While I try to keep a tight schedule, no day is typical because I have to prioritize things on the fly as they arise.
The rest of the day is just like managing any other business. You spend your days communicating and coordinating through emails, text, calls, and face-to-face conversations. I am very lucky in that my daughter is a great lead carpenter who can solve any problem on the job. This allows me to focus on growing the business instead of spending my days solving unforeseen issues and putting out fires.
Pros: The biggest pro for this job is seeing a physical result at the end of the project. It gives you a sense of pride that shuffling papers and numbers around doesn’t provide. My favorite pro to this job is I have created a great place to work for several people where they aren’t micromanaged and are treated fairly. Over the years, we’ve trained several people who went on to start their own businesses. I get to make my living helping improve the lives of our employees as well as the homeowners. I get to meet many kind, interesting people. It’s very rewarding.
Cons: The biggest con is that since I am tasked with running the business, I don’t get to put my hands on the projects much at all anymore. Like seeing the physical result of your efforts at the end of the day, working with your hands provides a sense of fulfillment that can’t be matched in any office. Students should keep in mind that there is a shortage of skilled trades today. The world will always need plumbers, electricians, and carpenters. Having a physically active, tactile vocation provides a sense of fulfillment that you just can’t acquire elsewhere.
Another con is when we have an issue arise such as the subflooring I mentioned above, and the homeowner won’t authorize replacing it for one reason or another. I can’t just do shoddy work. On the occasion that something like this happens, we repair it anyway. Shrinks the profit margin, but it’s the right thing to do. Just like in any other business, we sometimes have customers who are unreasonable or make impossible requests. However, since I’ve been doing this for so long I’m pretty skilled at dealing with this sort of thing. Always tell the leads to let me know when this happens so that I can handle it.