Welcome to a very special issue of Floor Covering Installer, our first-ever “How to” issue. In this issue, we focus on practical information and skills that installers can use in their everyday work. In today’s difficult economy, it is this kind of proficiency that can help installers differentiate themselves from their competition. Despite many negative aspects of the economy, there is an ongoing shortage of proficient installers, which means that there is still plentiful work for the most able installers. It might seem hard to believe, given the avalanche of gloom and doom we’re all exposed to everyday, but there are some installation businesses that can’t keep up with all the work they have piling up. If you’re one of these lucky installers who’s managing to stay busy in this difficult period, we’d love to hear from you, so please take a moment to write or e-mail us with your success stories. We’ll share them with our readers in an upcoming issue of FCI. Reading about others’ successes can be an inspiration for those who are struggling to survive the recession. If you’re not among the lucky ones, you owe it to yourself to make an investment in your future by improving your skills through study, training and certification. While it may seem difficult to justify the expense of training and certification when you’re struggling to make ends meet, it’s an investment that will pay for itself many times over in the long run.

As installation failures continue to be a serious problem in our industry, flooring manufacturers are increasing their support of installation certification, and increasingly are suggesting to their customers to use only certified installers. For example, the vice president of a major carpet manufacturer recently sent a letter to members of the industry urging that only certified installers be used to install their products. 

Another important way that installers can improve their abilities and make valuable connections is through attending industry tradeshows. One of the most important installation tradeshows, the annual CFI Convention, will be held August 20-22 in Kansas City, MO. This show will feature a variety of hands-on workshops from some of the industry’s top installation experts, including FCI columnist Jon Namba. Having attended many of these conventions, I can attest that they offer an outstanding opportunity for installers to improve their installation skills and technical knowledge, and to network with some of the country’s finest installers.

Speaking of networking, Floor Covering Installer is now on Facebook. If you’re already a Facebook member, simply visit www.facebook.com/pages/FCI-Magazine/77550264295 to keep up with the latest news in the industry and interact with other flooring professionals. If you’re not a member, creating a profile is simple and free, so what are you waiting for?