Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to know, work with, and sell products to many floor covering installers. Today, I count many of them among my friends. As I’ve had the opportunity to be associated with so many installers from all over the country, I feel I’m at least a little qualified to point out some of the things I’ve noticed about these generally hard working individuals.
First and foremost, I would point out that they have by far the toughest job in the industry. Second, they are, on average, the lowest paid people in the game. Finally, they are expected to install everything manufacturers can produce, even if the manufacturer has no idea how to install it.
Each installation brings with it a new set of challenges for the installer. If the installation is successful and the customer is happy, the installer seldom gets the credit, and yet without the installer there is no installation.
On the other hand, if the installation is not satisfactory, regardless of the reasons, even those completely out of his control, the installer gets the blame. Fair? Absolutely not.
The installers who want to know how to do their job better have virtually no place to go for training that is comprehensive and affordable. Over the years I’ve attended literally hundreds of evening training seminars. I have even put on a lot of them myself. The one constant I’ve always found is that most of those who attend are the best in the region, and are there looking to get better. The majority of those who really need the help, the installers who need to learn to do their job better, usually don’t show up.
We, as an industry, just stick our head in the sand like an ostrich and hope the age-old problem will just go away. I assure you that it won’t. It has not in more than 40 years, and it won’t in the next 40 either, unless and until WE as an industry take it upon ourselves to solve it TOGETHER.
You installers out there take my advice. The smarter you become at your job, the easier and better paying it will be. Attend seminars. Ask your employer for manufacturer installation pamphlets. Read everything you can. Take a day each quarter and go work with someone installing a product you are unfamiliar with, but on which they have been trained. Four days a year and a few evening seminars is not much of an investment of your time for the potential rewards.