Lately it’s really difficult to find a safe investment; the stock market is more volatile than ever, and even traditionally safe investments such as CDs and mutual funds are not yielding the types of returns they used to. So, where do you find a safe and guaranteed investment? Gold, you say? While it certainly can’t hurt to diversify your portfolio with precious metals, I would argue that if you want to find the best place to put those extra hard-earned dollars, simply look in the mirror. As an installation contractor, you are the most important investment you have. Think of all the time and money you have spent to get where you are today; the education, the installation training and certification, not to mention the tools and equipment you use every day. All these things pay constant dividends, every time you complete an installation of the highest quality. In order to stay on top of the latest installation products and techniques, even experienced installers should attend training and certification classes whenever possible. As installation techniques become more product specific, manufacturers are investing more than ever before to offer training and certification events specifically for their products. If you cannot find events in your area, contact the flooring manufacturer and ask them if they can organize an event at your local distributor.

To protect your most valuable investment, you should pay close attention to proper safety procedures at all times. Even seemingly minor details such as use of safety goggles when using power tools could prevent a major accident that could cost you your vision, or worse, your livelihood. In this issue of FCI, Jon Namba addresses the important issue of tool safety, with plenty of eye-opening examples of what NOT to do with your tools.

Also in this issue of FCI, Sam Allman, a respected retail expert and columnist for our sister publication, National Floor Trends, addresses the important subject of how to run your business more effectively. He argues that most installers, who consider themselves installers first and businessmen second, have got the equation backwards. They should consider themselves businessmen first and make the necessary changes to run their installation businesses as effectively as possible. Rounding out this issue, we have a Web-exclusive article from CFI’s Allen Ellis, who explains how professionalism can help installers to improve their bottom line.

These articles are intended to inspire you to improve your installation business, and we hope the ideas will help you to get a higher return from your most valuable investment, you.