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Reading this, you are likely thinking I’m going to tell you a few machine maneuvers to do or what papers to use where, but no, not in this article. As you read this, you might even think this is a plug for training. Well, it is, because training is and has been an underutilized tool most floor technicians have access to, installation side as well, but don’t take advantage of it.

If you only install, you are missing a lucrative segment of our industry: sanding and finishing. Eventually, any hardwood floor, whether unfinished solid or engineered (some can’t be, and we might get into that in the future) or factory finished, will at least need a recoating/maintenance service, which by chance is the last phase of any sand and finish project. So, you might as well dive into this whole sand and finish thing, service past and present clients, and make some good money at it.

Not to scare you off, but there is much more to know about sanding and finishing floors than turning machines on and moving them to and fro, changing papers and rolling out finish. All too often though, equipment is purchased without any technical training on machine operations or maintenance. Or you learned from someone who learned from someone, and no one had any technical training on anything.

So, whether you are new at this or you have been “at it” for a while and have yet to seek formal training on your equipment or products, please do! As soon as possible! Every job you do before getting formal training has lost profits in it. Guaranteed!  

From personal experience as a National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) Regional Instructor, I have seen “experienced” technicians attend classes, usually with a dash of skepticism on the lines of “I’m doing ok, probably not going to get much out of this.” Yet, they came. After the second to third hour, their reactions to seeing the proper and more efficient procedures taught is priceless, really. To some degree, all remember years of jobs done with what they knew. Now reevaluated with new knowledge, they see the loss of time, money and reputation building they could have retained had they known what was being covered. The dollars can be huge by any accounting and dwarfs the investment made of going to a proper sand and finish training school.

The NWFA, who’s unbiased training programs are solely focused on educating the attendees on technically proficient skills, are the hallmark of the industry’s skills training. Go to nwfa.org/hands-on-training/ and sign up. You won’t regret it; I promise!!

To give you an example of how these schools benefit attendees, this email was sent to an assistant instructor, Willie Short out of Greenwell Springs, Louisiana, from one of the students at a recent NWFA Sand and Finish school and well… read the email for yourself:

sand and finish school e-mail

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Tune in next month for a deeper dive into sanding and finishing hardwood floors.