When Rick’s Carpet & Flooring opened as a small flooring store in Norwich, Ont., in 1976, current owner Scott Vermeersch was working as an installer. But in 2003, when the opportunity presented itself, he and John Timmermans purchased the business. Rick’s Carpet & Flooring has grown significantly since then, and today, Vermeersch, along with new partner Gerry Couwenberg, manage the business. Rick’s Carpet & Flooring now has three Ontario locations, in Tillsonburg, Norwich and Simcoe. The company takes on commercial, residential and builder work, and sells all types of flooring, window coverings and countertops.
Ethical Flooring in North Vancouver, B.C., was founded in 2012, by Kevin and Tanya Kupferschmid. The company specializes in residential flooring, and services new construction and small business clients as well. They offer a wide variety of flooring products. Tanya and Kevin were introduced to the floor covering industry when they worked for years for a family-owned flooring store. They currently have a staff of 11 employees and 10 to 20 subcontractors.
The two companies’ growth in profits can be attributed to many factors — both are very committed to providing superior customer service, both offer a wide range of quality products and both are well-managed. But there is another thing they have in common that they cite as a significant factor in their success, which may not be immediately recognized from the outside. Both use QFloors, an ERP (enterprise resource planning or business management) software specifically created for the flooring industry. And both companies say the software has had an unmistakable impact in enabling growth.
But how can something like software affect a business (and its bottom line) so dramatically?
The answer is in many behind-the-scenes, interrelated ways.
Accurate Financial Information at Your Fingertips
Vermeersch of Rick’s Carpet & Flooring says that one essential key is having the financial information you need to make wise decisions at your fingertips. Sure, you may know how many sales you closed in a certain week, but are you making money?
“Before QFloors, the only time we ever really knew where we were financially at year-end was after the fact. Yes, we could see the current bank account. But now we can actually forecast, set budgets and know on a minute-to-minute basis exactly where the business is sitting with everything. QFloors helps paint a clearer picture of what the company’s doing and where you’re at, so you can better understand and plan.”
A key component of profitability is ensuring that your margins are where they need to be, says Tanya Kupferschmid of Ethical Flooring.
“Back when we’d done things manually on paper, like putting together an estimate, there was just a lot of guessing involved with only a vague idea of costs,” she says. “With QFloors, our estimates not only look more professional, but there’s also just a lot of confidence knowing you aren’t making a mistake and you’re going to make the profit you need. With QFloors, we see every single line of what the costs and margins will be.”
“Incorporating QFloors brought so much peace of mind in our estimation process, knowing that we had accurately priced things and would not lose our shirts on the job,” Tanya continues. “We know our costs, we know our margins and we know we’re covered, and that we in turn can cover our customers.”
Streamline and Organize Day-to-Day Tasks
Because QFloors software steps a floor covering business through operations from start to finish, with information integrated throughout, the system also helped Tanya quickly embrace financial and operational best practices, which in turn helped build her business.
“When we started Ethical Flooring, it was from ground zero with only one client. Now we are a multimillion dollar store and QFloors has allowed us to grow. Despite our lack of business experience initially, QFloors has helped us along the way. One big way is by making the financial part easy to understand. It helped us understand and identify our margins and profits. It has allowed us to keep a constant watch on the health of our company, all from the computer.”
“I do the bookkeeping and came into it without any kind of accounting background. I just had to learn as I went,” Tanya continues. “QFloors made that process so simple. It makes everything easy and logical. You start with your quote and by the time you are collecting money, everything is reported into your system. Materials, payments and all of the other information, from start to finish, it’s all just right there on the screen. So it’s fluid and integrated, and even without an accounting background, it’s not confusing.“
Save Time (and Overhead with Fewer Employees)
Another way the right software can help a company is through the time savings automation brings, which then results in a need for fewer employees. This lowers overhead costs dramatically.
Vermeersch of Rick’s Carpet & Flooring says they could not have grown without the help of the software.
“We started using QFloors software in 2011. Before that, we were completely manual. Invoicing, inventory control, bookkeeping, invoice breakdowns for taxes, and so on, were all done just by hand. But we were growing as a business and we found that even with two full-time employees working at it, we couldn’t keep up. We realized if we wanted to grow any more we needed to put a software program in place.”
We realized if we wanted to grow any more we needed to put a software program in place.
“And without it, we simply couldn’t have grown as much as we have,” Vermeersch continues. “It would not have been possible, unless we had an entire section of staff just dedicated to behind-the-scenes bookwork. What initially drove us to the system is we realized that it saved us at least one staff person per year. But now, that has increased exponentially. It saves us the salaries of many people.”
His associate, May Timmermans, echoes that QFloors software saves the company a ton of time.
“The inventory control has also been a huge time saver because we just couldn’t have manually kept track of all of the inventory coming and going that we have nowadays,” she says. “With QFloors, we have a very high level of control that I never could have achieved manually.”
Less Work and More Insights
Tanya of Ethical Flooring emphasized that their software not only saves them valuable time but provides valuable information, as well.
“Before, everything was manually entered by hand in triples and quadruplicates. It was extremely time-consuming and laborious, and at the end of the day, we still didn’t know what our profit per job was. Once we started using QFloors, we could recognize the huge difference it made. I was amazed how much less paperwork and how much less work in general we now had to do. And yet we had more information at the end of the day.”
Once we started using QFloors, we could recognize the huge difference it made. I was amazed how much less paperwork and how much less work in general we now had to do. And yet we had more information at the end of the day.”
Implementing a new software system may seem daunting at first but these two companies say it’s worth the time. And the decision to embrace flooring software is allowing them to grow to their full potential as a business.
“We’ve grown from sitting at our dining room table with a laptop to having 11 employees in a showroom,” says Tanya. “And yet we’re still able to run operations with QFloors the way we were able to do when we were small, so it has scaled up with us. That has been an incredible journey.”