Taylor Carpet One: Best Practices
By Sonya Jennings
Three generations of Taylors have run Taylor Carpet One, a southwest Florida flooring company that began in one location in 1957 and has grown to five. The company is recognized in the community as a family business thanks to a consistent, long-running television advertising campaign featuring members of the Taylor family. A focus on training and effective hiring practices continues to move this business forward into the next generation.
Finding qualified, enthusiastic employees is a struggle for any business, and Taylor Carpet One is no exception. In the past, when John Taylor needed a new employee, he would place a local ad, then spend many hours interviewing several candidates. With that process, he was lucky to find one good candidate. John now uses Carpet One’s Hiring for Success program, which has saved him countless hours and provided the business with many qualified candidates.
The program is similar to what other independent companies use to find and hire good employees. Carpet One advertises the company’s job openings through multiple media channels and accepts resumes, then it pre-screens candidates through phone interviews. These assisted searches are much wider than a local search, and this works out well because many people are willing to relocate to south Florida and its warm climate for a good job. For an upgraded fee, depending on the level of the job opening, personality profile tests and other screening tests can be ordered. Whereas Taylor may have found one qualified candidate in a local job search, Carpet One will find four or five that are already qualified and pre-screened. John comments, “This program has been extremely successful for our business. The time saved is very valuable, and also the quality of the applicants has skyrocketed.”
When asked how he sets his business apart from the competition, John points to training. The employee training effort is led by John’s wife, Jennifer Taylor. John says, “Our consumer is more educated today with access to so much information on the Internet. We cannot let our customers know more about our products than we do. So we take training and education very seriously.” Jennifer hosts a Customer First meeting on the third Wednesday of every month. This meeting is for all 25 staff employees plus subcontracted installers, and the purpose of the meeting is to link everyone’s jobs together.
In one important exercise, each employee describes their role in the sales process. As each explains his or her contribution, it creates links, displaying how each employee is tied to the next in the chain of serving customers. These team building meetings usually last from one to two hours and include breakfast for the employees. Expert speakers are called in to discuss many issues, including installation concerns like moisture, a major problem in Florida. Jennifer also holds a monthly sales meeting with product introductions, presentations from manufacturer representatives and videos to inspire the sales staff. In addition, the company uses the online Carpet One program for employees’ continuing education for new products, installation techniques, adhesives and more. Taylor Carpet One is a five-diamond store for installation excellence due to the online training and testing that its installers participate in.
Customer satisfaction surveys are given to each Taylor Carpet One customer when a job is finished. Once completed, the survey is mailed directly to Carpet One and then mailed from Carpet One back to the company. If a complaint is made, those issue are addressed directly one-on-one with the employee and used as a training tool, but most often the feedback is positive and that information is shared in staff meetings.
Taylor Carpet One uses subcontractor installers, and many have worked with the company for years. According to John, “During the economic downturn, everyone was looking for work, but now that business is picking up again, there is a shortage of installers.” John finds quality installers through his current installation crews. He offers continuing education and an environment where the crews are part of the team, which is attractive to subcontractors.
Driving store traffic is mainly done through television advertising. Taylor Carpet One’s ads are not promotional in nature; they are geared more toward branding the company. This is achieved by touting the long family history of the company that encompasses three generations of Taylors running the business. Company ads include John’s wife and their two daughters. Local viewers have watched his daughters grow up on television, and many customers comment positively about the family aspect of the company. A local ad agency writes the commercial scripts, and a local production company shoots quality spots in store or in a home that recently purchased flooring from Taylor Carpet One. According to John, “Our commercials are produced by a quality production company. They are very well done and classy. We talk about longevity and service, and we thank the community.”
Taylor Carpet One does not advertise on radio or through newspapers. Direct mail is used periodically to promote a specific private sale. John adds, “In many ways I think direct mail wore out its welcome, but we still use it to promote a specific sale maybe once a year.” The company is also part of a Carpet One co-op that uses Internet pay-per-click. Twitter and Facebook pages for the company are kept current by a store employee. Approximately 3% of sales go to advertising.
John’s grandfather, Art Taylor, founded the company in 1957, and his father, John W. Taylor, started working at the business in the 1970s. John began his employment in the family business at the age of 13, working in the warehouse, sales, and installation. After graduating from college in 1986, John stepped in full time, and in 1994 he purchased the business from his father. At that time, the company had one location. In 1997, the company joined Carpet One, and then added four more locations over the next few years. Today, the company offers carpet, hardwood, ceramic tile, vinyl, laminate, area rugs and window treatments, and it targets the middle to mid-high income customer, depending on the location of the store. Taylor Carpet One’s sales are 75% retail, 10% builder market, and 15% commercial, including negotiated contract, banks, country clubs, fitness centers and strip centers.
Copyright 2014 Floor Focus