The days of cash-and-carry lumberyard success are long past. Today, it's knowing what to build–and, often, installing it yourself–that wins customers. Our two new publications can lend a hand.

Craig Webb, Editor Photo: James Kegley Builders aren't always as smart about home construction as they pretend. Some care more about developing land and selling home plans than actually building the house, often preferring to hire LBM dealers to install products in the home or even put up the entire frame. Others may call themselves green builders, but question some of them further, and they'll reveal they haven't done much "green" beyond putting Energy Star appliances in their kitchens.

Increasingly across America, it's at the lumberyard where you find a community's deepest knowledge of construction products and techniques. You know what products work best in your area. You know which builders can wield a hammer. And you know how challenging it is to keep up with the developments of building better, safer, and greener homes.

The regular pages of ProSales, along with our Web site and weekly e-mail, attempt to help you stay current. But for a while, we've short-changed you in one key area: installed sales. Starting this month, we aim to correct that by introducing a new supplement to the magazine, the ProSales Installed Sales Guide.

This quarterly feature aims to serve dealers that have taken the plunge into installed sales and could use help managing this important–but quite different–part of the LBM business. It will examine the issues that affect installed sales management, such as building a team, along with a feature called "Good-Better-Best" that examines three ways to tackle a thorny issue, such as keeping track of operations. The Installed Sales Guide also provides guru Mike Butts more room to give his advice. We'll feature news briefs as well, along with a quick look at interesting people in installed sales.

As at many of your operations, we're starting modestly here. But we foresee this guide becoming a big part of what we do. Likewise, throughout my travels, I've noticed a sharp increase in the desire to learn about green construction. Several regional LBM groups, as well as the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, are staging seminars on this topic. We've contributed already with a series of articles in the past year on topics such as chain-of-custody certification, and ProSales' February issue focused exclusively on green operations. But there's more.

A survey by ProSales' corporate parent, Hanley Wood LLC, found that nearly two-thirds of the builders and remodelers surveyed said they lack sufficient information about green products and construction techniques. This means you have a new opportunity to deepen your relationship with builders by advising them on how to build better, healthier, and now greener homes.

The April issue of ProSales, our annual product review, will help you on that count by pointing out stuff on the market that uses less energy and is kind to the Earth. In addition, Hanley Wood has unveiled a new magazine, Green Products & Technology, that focuses exclusively on this topic. You can access its articles at

Finally, did your company sell $40 million or more worth of goods in 2007? If so, there's a good chance your operation belongs in the ProSales 100. Earn recognition for your company's performance, as well as help the entire industry get a better sense of how it's doing, by filling out the ProSales 100 information form.

If you haven't received one yet, you can get a copy from senior editor Andy Carlo at or call 847.337.4345.

–Craig Webb, Editor