Keith Olson, a flooring contractor who operates Tandem Flooring in Algonquin, Ill., a northwest suburb of Chicago, recently wrote in to offer his two cents about how to address the installation crisis.

He stated:

“I am writing to add to the industry discussion about the installation crisis, and everyone agrees on two issues: 1) training and 2) pay. I am going to make some suggestions about pay. If the industry is serious about improving installations, then we have to start with pay.

“First, manufacturers and associations need to set guidelines for average production rates for various installations. Like the automotive industry has book times for repairs, this would be nationwide averages. Second, we should set up wage guidelines based off of these production rates using the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. This would have to be set up by region or by market as cost of living is different across the country.

“Starting with pay would be a good starting point, using actual facts rather than the notion that we just ‘have to do better.’ I know there will be pushback and not every retailer or contractor will be reached or will be on board with this; but doing something right for the industry, the customer and the installer is important. The unionized segment of the industry has finally headed in the right direction, and now the rest of the industry needs to figure it out.”

In other news, the World Floor Covering Association is launching a magnetic flooring system this month at The International Surfaces Show in Las Vegas. We had seen a sneak peek of it last summer, and we continue to see prototypes worked on by manufacturers.

WFCA President Scott Humphrey said it could help with the installation crisis by allowing flooring contractors to install more flooring faster and with less training. It could also help installers make more money than they can today with less wear and tear on their bodies, extending the life of their careers. If it’s everything it promises to be, this technology could be a game changer for the industry.

What do you think? Share your thoughts with me at