1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Why would you not want the business?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by rstewart, Nov 12, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. rstewart

    rstewart New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    I am curious to know from dealers/installers as to why you might not want to install a woodstove that you do not sell, or have no experience with. If you are experienced, NFI certified, and understand what it takes to make a modern woodstove work properly (installation, installation, installation), have the documentation from the manufacturer, wouldn't you want the job that pays you to install a woodstove? Obviously there are liability issues that may result from your insurance company, but there are basic rules for any modern woodstove that seem generic, plus the manufacturer's guidelines. It may result from too much work. You would want to take care of your local customers first. Any other reasons?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,140
    Loc:
    Waxhaw, NC... Formerly North shore Mass
    I'll take a stab here. I used to wonder the same thing
    Most dealers service what they sell as well as installs. If you drove to a dealer farther away than your local dealerto save a buck, your local dealer has lost a sale and i'ts almost a sort of punishment for going to someone else.
    But to be fair some warrantys are dealer specific that is the selling dealer is the local connection for warranty service, now if you ask a dealerthat didn't sell you the stove he may not want to install this stove because he may be liable for warranty service... Why would someone want to work on a stove under warranty for the cheap money that the manufacturers pay to said dealers for service, when the real money in this business is sales, as most of us service them ourselves.
    Now if your talking about a stove that's out of warranty then I would expect any dealer would be more than happy to assist you.
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,099
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    In our shop, installation was not a big profit center. In order to retain the best help - we paid them grandly - translation - THEY made most of the money from the installs.

    Also, there is an implicit contract with installing - when you install the stove, you OWN the chimney and person - EVEN IF IT WAS ALREADY THERE. In other words, they will be calling you.

    Now take into consideration that most money- or ANY profit in stove retailing is made in 3 months. The installers are booked with either:
    1. A job with a stove and install - they bring home a check for $3,000 or more....maybe twice a day!
    2. Two installations only - they bring home maybe $1000 - twice a day perhaps, but much of it goes to pay them.

    So, there was little money to be made in it AND the ownership of that type of customer FOREVER once you install the stove was not a value proposition.

    Does that make sense?
  4. rstewart

    rstewart New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Craig:
    I am surprised. Wouldn't the install be more of a profit center than the stove sale?
  5. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,099
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    I guess it could be in some locales - but I have not heard much of it in the industry. Two of the largest and most profitable stove companies I know don't install at all!

    Our shop was located in a fairly "normal" area, meaning one where everyone said their brother-in-law was a contractor! That held down labor rates as compared to....say, the Hamptons on Long Island or the Main Line in Philadelphia...or even the burbs of Boston. We also had a "value" mission - meaning we stayed in business almost 30 years now because we did not always get the max. we could for our products and services...just what we considered a fair profit.

    Looking at another side of the industry, (cheapo) fireplaces in new homes are often installed for as little as $150 labor! Try to make money at that rate!
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,099
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    To qualify further, success for me was not turning ANY customer away. So we would gladly help the customer with advice, materials and even give them the name of our subcontractor(s) and local qualified sweeps so they could get taken care of. We would NEVER give them the attitude of "you should have bought it here".

    But the time we were done with them, they would usually wish they had bought from us!
  7. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,140
    Loc:
    Waxhaw, NC... Formerly North shore Mass
    Well that's part of what's missing from the industry now Craig. There are several competing dealers of say Harmans in my area you deal with one and the other ignores you. Last year with pellets You call a dealer and the first question is did you buy the stove from us " ah well no my dealer went out of business" sorry we can't help you. It's not fair in some aspects of the business.
  8. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    990
    Loc:
    Western Massachusetts
    First of all, GVA and Craig did a bangup job of explaining the issue....most folks dont understand the issues they so lucidly stated. Now, as for GVA and his above quote. Most of the money made with Harman is on the sale of the unit. Harman hasnt changed what they pay for warrantee work in over 10 years! Also, the replacement parts....Harman only reimburses the dealer for his COST on parts....not the shipping to get the part to the dealer, and not the shipping to send the defective part BACK to Harman! Travel time to and from the job? No, you dont get paid for that either. As for pellets, most dealers dont really sell many pellets, and in the last few years, pellets have been on allocation, so a dealer doesnt have an unlimited supply of them....many pellet companies will only provide you as a dealer with the amount you bought last year, or that amount plus a small percentage, so, if you sell more stoves, youre gonna be short pellets and look like an idiot......imagine selling someone a stove and not having any fuel? Thats fine if you dont sell pellets at all, but doesnt look good if you do. I can imagine it might reflect badly on a stove-only shop as well when a customer buys a stove and cant get pellets anywhere as well.

    We have never turned anyone away when they want to buy pellets, except in the instance that we had sold all of our pellets and had none to sell. We try to buy alot early and ensure supply, but its hard to predict sales...also, you tie up alot of money that way. As Ive said on many occaisions before, the only way to make money in the pellet business is to sell VOLUME. That means trying to get as many pellets as you can, selling to anyone who has the money, and trying to ensure a steady supply, which can be difficult when you dont control the pellet company. Our biggest problem is delivery...even with two trucks delivering, its hard to keep up in mid-fall when everyone wakes up and figures its gonna get cold soon. Many people want the pellets put into their garages, sheds, etc, and thats tough to do, since it usually necessitates someone being home, and of course they want a date and time, etc...we've got this problem partially solved with a streamilined attempt at planning them, but its certainly not perfect.

    I guess as far as Im converned, as a Harman dealer, I dont want to do warrantee work on a stove I dont sell....If I do have to do it, then Im gonna make something on it. With pellets, we happily sell to anyone with a stove! I might not deliver where they want them (house is far away, or the spot they want is ridiculous), but if the customer wants to drive out and pick them up, who cares? The only thing I like is a call ahead of time to check stock. Heck, Id sell pellets to someone in New Zealand if they wanted to stop by and pick them up!
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page