I’m at our local tile shop last Friday. All three of the storeâ€™s tile designers are literally running to get samples for their existing clients. There are four sets of customers waiting for help, including my mother and I with our clients.
Five minutes go by. A man clutching a long piece of tile in a plastic bag is visibly upset. â€œCan I get some service?â€ he barks at the nearest tile designer.
â€œIâ€™m sorry, sir,â€ she tells him. â€œWeâ€™re working as fast as we can.â€
Heâ€™s not appeased. Neither are the others. When one of the designers was finally free, the man had worked himself into a state. He was the second one to do so in the time we were there. The wait time? 15-20 minutes.
Our firm supplies cabinetry and design for contractors and DIY-ers as a separate division of our design/build firm. We used to have installers for that division; we laid them off last year due to lack of work. It was a tough, tough decision.
A client — in on Saturday — blinked: â€œSo how am I going to get the cabinets installed?â€ Fortunately, she had a contractor. For the rest of the DIY-ers?Â Unfortunately, theyâ€™re on their own. We still donâ€™t have enough work to keep a full-time installer busy for that side of the company.
Weâ€™re not the only ones.
Iâ€™ve blogged about this before, but with the economy recovering and people eager to get on with their remodels, it doesnâ€™t hurt to post a reminder.
Youâ€™re not going to get the service youâ€™re accustomed to â€“ at least until companies can afford to hire again.
Itâ€™s ironic — youâ€™re ready to buy, but you canâ€™t get the service. The companies would love to help you but thereâ€™s not enough of you buying yet to warrant hiring. And thatâ€™s the key.
For us in the field, weâ€™re still cautious in ordering products that need to be trucked across the country. Nothing moves until the truck is full. To you, this means some of the door and window companies have increased their timelines from 3-4 weeks to 6-8.
If you think youâ€™re frustrated, try being a business owner who went from no one in the store to dozens.
The bad news is that this is going to get worse before it gets better. The good news is that this will ease eventually.
Until then –Â patience, grasshopper.