Ok so samples in the natural stone business have gone through many phases. Years ago builders used to swing by the shop and ask for a sample board or a sample box. Although the timing of natural stone has always been grouped in blocks and lot #’s, we always gave away samples in groups and made a bold disclaimer :”THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES THAT THE SAMPLES YOU ARE VIEWING ARE GOING TO BE THE EXACT LOT OF WHAT YOU WILL GET”. When a client came to us directly they have always been shown their actual slab and we would knock a huge chunk off the side of the slab. This can get really costly and wasteful. It also damages the slabs. If there are any existing fissures or pits near the area of impact it can cause stress fractures. As time progressed, we would Fed-Ex samples to clients directly after we cut it off with a Makita. This was also costly but now at least we were progressing from hammer strikes to strategically cutting a 4″ x 4″ square off the corner. NOW…in 2015 we actually, upon delivery of every material. cut the left or right side of the slab, whichever has the most color variation, the height of the slab by 4″. Then once we have the 60″- 79″strip we cut it down into 4″ squares. You average 17-20 samples per slab.
WHAT’S THE SAMPLE EPIDEMIC?? Well….If I have 5 clients come in 1 day and everyone takes 3-4 samples then by the end of the week I am out of samples. This means I have to once again return to cutting the strip off the side and now I am really wasting money since I am cutting away from the total length of the material. By cutting 8″ off the side of a slab can mean a kitchen now getting seamed when it should have fit in 1 piece or a kitchen spilling into a second slab when if the samples weren’t cut it would have worked. This really cuts into our margins.
We are very very serious about a customer 100% knowing what they are choosing and how the color will look in their application. I love that I can give samples out and everyone finds them helpful when they get home to see what it looks like in the lighting of their personal space. Let’s be real…. the material is displayed in 100% natural light …I am pretty sure there is no such thing as a topless kitchen unless it’s for an outdoor cooking area or Vegas….get it…
The one thing that I still find baffling is what a customer will do with the samples once they make a decision or if they choose to shop around and keep all of our samples. There really is no need to not give them back. Even if you choose another fabricator, just leave them by the front door of the showroom after hours or drop them off to the showroom during 9-5!! I will be so grateful! During my lunch break today I brainstormed as to what I thought clients used the granite samples for other than just returning them and giving potential clients like themselves the same opportunity to see their color choice in their nest.