Installers from across the country will be heading to Kansas City, MO, later this month for the annual CFI Convention, one of the most important installation-related events of the year. Despite the difficult economic conditions, these installers are spending hundreds of their hard-earned dollars for the chance to improve their skills and network with other installers and manufacturers. If you’re not one of those who will be in attendance, perhaps you’re wondering, “Why would they spend that money, when the economy is in such bad shape?” Why? Because these installers understand that they need to invest in their most important asset, themselves. Good times or bad, those who take the time to improve their knowledge and skills will find themselves ahead of the pack when the economy picks up steam, which it inevitably will.

Another important reason to seek out training and certification is to prevent costly installation failures. Although not all failures are the installer’s fault, too often the installer ends up being held accountable for them. Whether an installation is due to improperly cured concrete or the wrong adhesive being specified, ultimately it is the installer’s responsibility to either correct these mistakes before beginning the installation, or to turn down the job if the mistakes are not corrected. While walking away from a job might seem crazy in today’s difficult economy, being liable for thousands of dollars of repair costs is undoubtedly much worse.

Many experienced installers forgo installation training and certification because they think they already know enough to get the job done. In today’s rapidly changing market, what worked a few years ago may not work today. Installers who do not stay on top of the latest installation technology may find themselves at a disadvantage when required to install products they are unfamiliar with. In this issue of Floor Covering Installer, Jon Namba discusses these and other issues in his column, “Why should I get Certified?” If you’ve been avoiding certification because you don’t think you need it, or can’t afford it, you really need to read this column and reconsider your decision. While it may be difficult to afford certification at this time, the potential benefits far outweigh the costs, as certified installers can command much higher rates. Rather than asking, “Can I afford to get training now?” perhaps you should be asking whether you can afford not to.