In August, I was fortunate to attend the annual CFI Convention in Kansas City. I always look forward to this convention because it gives me a chance to meet many of our readers in person and discuss important issues facing the flooring installation industry.
With the current slowing of the
housing market, these are challenging times for everyone, particularly
installers. In order to survive, it is vital for installers to improve their
skills and knowledge with the most up-to-date products and techniques. This is
the main objective of CFI, and they continue to expand and improve their
training programs each year. A perfect example of this is the new hard surfaces
training program, which was announced at this year’s convention. Historically,
CFI was primarily focused on carpet installation, but have since expanded into
resilient flooring, and will now be including wood and laminate installation
training as well.
Countless new flooring and
installation products are introduced into the marketplace each year, and these
new products often have different installation requirements than the products
that installers have become accustomed to in the past. Recognizing that
additional training is necessary to install these new products correctly,
manufacturers are increasing their installation training efforts. This was
readily evident during the presentations at the CFI Convention, where many
leading manufacturers of installation products offered free demonstrations on
how to use their products correctly.
In addition to the installation
demonstrations, the Leadership Conference offered attendees a chance to improve
their business skills - yet another way to gain a competitive advantage in this
difficult business climate.
During the Leadership Conference,
several CFI members shared inspirational stories of how they have improved
their businesses since joining the organization. One installer explained how he
has used his certification to differentiate himself from his competitors, and
has now become the go-to person for high-end residential installations. A
leading retailer recounted that he is using CFI Certified Installers for all of
his jobs, residential and commercial, despite the higher installation costs,
because he knows that the work will be of the highest quality. These are just a
few examples of how training and certification can affect positive changes in
Ultimately, it is up to you, the installer, to improve the
future of the flooring installation trade. By getting involved with CFI and
other professional organizations, you not only improve your own skills and
knowledge as an installer, but you can also help these organizations to grow -
bringing new opportunities and improvements for everyone in our industry.