I formed Daniels Floors [Roswell, Georgia] in 2007. I had flooring contractors and their helpers use vans and equipment that I purchased. It took time to weed out the people whose work wasn’t up to par with my expectations. Eventually, I had a core group of people who were dependable craftsmen. I want to hang on to these people. I had to make employment at Daniels Floors desirable. We no longer did new builds or production work. I set my sights on high-end residential renovations. I’m able to charge more and pay more. The crews are never rushed. They know they have time to focus on the minor details. Early on, I set firm hours. The work day ends at 6 p.m. Some other flooring companies were working their crews like beasts. I don’t want “workers.” I want craftsmen who take pride in their floors. I want people to have plenty of time to spend with their families.

Laura Mireles' daughter on a flooring installation job
Photo: Laura Mireles.

Over time, my business model changed. I decided to have sub-contractors instead of employees. Everyone purchased tools and vans. All of the people I have working for me now have been with me for nearly the entire 16 years. They started as helpers, then became crew members and then crew leaders. Eventually, they became business owners who work for me and for other companies in the area when I don’t have enough work for all of the crews. They are paid per square foot rather than being paid for their time. This means, if they make a mistake, they go and correct it on their dime, not mine. Additionally, they care for and maintain the equipment much better now that they own the equipment. They have each learned to run their own businesses. As my business grows, their businesses grow. We are all working toward the success of Daniels Floors. 

I have six daughters. They have all been involved in the business in one way or another. My daughter Evelyn and Matt, her husband, worked their way through college selling flooring. My other daughters have all gone to work with me from time to time. Regardless of what careers they choose for themselves, the experience they’ve gained from working in the flooring industry will benefit them. They’ve each done some light construction. Working with power tools builds self confidence. So does assembling flooring displays. These aren’t skills that are normally taught to girls. Jobs in construction pay really well, and I would like to see more females enter the flooring industry or other construction careers. I have another daughter who will be going to college in a couple of years. While she is in college, she can earn more money working with me than she would working in retail or waiting tables. My girls can do minor home repairs as well.

Laura Mireles' family in the work truck
Photo: Laura Mireles.

How are you passing your trade legacy?
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