Updated: Sep 20
My nephew Andrew and his soon to be better half Erica are scheduled to get married on October 16. Their third attempt at walking down the aisle. The couple’s first two attempts at reaching marital bliss, postponed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Preferring neither rabbi nor priest, the soon-to-be newlyweds had originally asked my father Billy to don the collar and officiate at the couple’s nuptials.
But my father’s ministerial credentials expired with him in June of 2020, leaving the loving couple to settle for second best.
Which as it turns out, was not me!
A family friend getting the honor of determining when my nephew may kiss his bride.
But after a last-minute cancellation by the "minster," due to the trials of planning a wedding during a global pandemic, the couple themselves in need of some juju; some good luck to ensure that the third time was the charm!
The lovebirds calling for the gray-haired lefthander from Stamford. Who, with a payment of $29.99 to theMonastery.org, had THE power was vested in him!
Dealers I speak with continue to share stories of at-times crippling shortages, in both materials and labor.
A dealer I speak with frequently shared that he had an opportunity to hire a store manager from a local PPG company-owned store. The manager represented the dealer's first opportunity to add qualified talent to his team despite a nearly 12-month effort to do so.
Recognizing the impact the seasoned in-store employee could have on his overtaxed staff's performance under the pressure of being up over 40% year-to-date, the dealer put together an offer. Needing a few days off himself, he put together a package of compensation and benefits valued 50% higher than he would have offered pre-Covid.
“I guess I’m Opening Tomorrow!”
With dashed prospects and his staff stretched passed reasonable, the dealer had no choice but to reduced his hours. Closing the store at 3:30 until he’s able to hire staff to man the counter.
A multi-store dealer in the Northeast shared that to attract interest from jobseekers they advertise a starting salary of $18 per hour plus fully-paid health insurance! He went on to say that while the move has brought a few new faces, his stores still struggle to staff their counters with enough people to handle the increased volume which the economy is bringing them.
Whether the labor shortages are caused by government policy or economic activity, depending on your views, dealers need to get accustomed to paying more for to staff their stores.
The good news is that they have the money to do it!
Recent inflation in the prices of nearly every item a paint dealer sells, is adding more than enough cash to dealer's bottom line to offset the higher labor costs.
At a gross profit margin of 40%, typical among independent paint dealers, a gallon of paint which cost a dealer $30 sells for $50. Yielding a $20 cash profit.
With product inflation of 10%, dealers are now buying that same gallon for $33.60.
Maintaining your 40% gross profit margin makes the new selling price $56.00, yielding a net profit on the gallon of $22.40. An increase of $2.40, on each gallon sold.
Which explains why most dealers I speak with share that their checkbook balances have never been higher!
Pay Yourself First
Dealers working hard through challenging times should set aside some of that windfall for themselves.
As a dealer, I never forgot why I owned the stores!
But in an economy which values labor, like the one we are in now, dealers will have to be willing to spend some of their pandemic-related windfalls on higher salaries for any new employees they are looking to hire.
And any current employees they are looking to retain.
Since you read this far:
In March of 2020 the AllPro show was ending as the pandemic was beginning, Looking to avoid crowds, I skipped the airport and drove the nearly 2000 miles from San Antonio to Stamford, stopping at an independent paint dealer each day along the route and then blogging about the store from my hotel room each night.
Returning to Stamford after the paint geek week on the road, I plotted to repeat the experience again when the opportunity was right.
Mid-week, I plan to be in Columbia, Tennessee. To see the home of our nation’s 11th President, James K. Polk.
And to help a grasshopper escape the tall grass.
Polk will be the 23rd stop on my quest to visit the homes of all 46 American Presidents.
My plan (at the moment) is blog each day, if I can keep up the pace. I'll be stopping at dealers, introducing myself and learning enough about them to share their history with you.
By far, the most enjoyable part of the trip.
On my last road trip, readership went up as if I was writing about #DanCalkins! I'm hoping you enjoy it as much this time.
Don't worry, I'll be comfortable.