Are Certifications Helping or Hurting

Discussion in 'Industry News, Training & Organizations' started by Mike Sahli, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    I disagree. It might be nice if all training were open to whoever wants to attend, but that's not how business works. If a company wishes to arrange for exclusive training for its employees or subcontractors, they have the right to do that. CFI, as an organization, can refuse to provide training under these limitations, but they have no obligation to do so. As a matter of fact, opening a session like this to all, may create a "crowded classroom" situation where there are too many students and too few trainers. The training and the trained will both suffer.

    Perhaps an option would be for CFI to try to book 2 sessions back-to-back, one for Lowe's and the other for all other flooring professionals in the area. But this would subject the trainers, who are all volunteers, to an extended schedule of training. Less time for work and family.

    It's not a perfect world, even in floor covering. :(

  2. Isabella Flooring

    Isabella Flooring Pro Member

    Train my competition, isn't cfi like a brotherhood in ways. And if that one person is paying his own way, what's the difference.

    Also cfi claims 40 thousand trained,. Anyone know the break down, out of that 40k, how many where big box store, how many renewed. If 30 thousand renewed every year that would bring in approx. 3 million in 1 year, don't you think out of that there could be some free classes, besides the 20 man requirement.


    You are saying Lowes is different from all other training, andstill getting CFI cert.

    I would re think that post Daris,
    Their is not that many shops in California that employs 20 men, without including/inviting your competitors, correct me if I am wrong

    Hmmmmmm, that doesn't seem fair, or did someone see some quick dollars????
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010
  3. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    I don't speak for CFI, but I do believe more detailed statistics, as well as financial information is not available for public consumption. Although we do have one or two CFI officers/board members who participate on TFP regularly, even they don't have that information to provide. Your best bet would be to contact the CFI home office to ask about that.

    As one of the founding members and member of the board of directors of the Sierra-Nevada Chapter of CFI (I dropped out for health reasons before my term was up), I can say that we offered free training to all. We brought in volunteers from manufacturers and certified installers. The hat was passed, but there was no requirement to pay - our board discussed it heatedly. However, certifications did have a fee attached, as was the policy of CFI.

    I have also heard of installers receiving "scholarships" for certifications. It doesn't happen at every cert, but it does happen. I don't think it is something they announce or publicize though. It's more an individual CFI member thing - they may donate to send someone to a certification. I remember one in particular, several years ago, where even non-CFI members donated to send an individual to a certification.

  4. Mike Sahli

    Mike Sahli Pro Member

    Just to be clear, I like what CFI is doing for installation training long with a hand full of others out there offering education to installers that want it but the question is are you getting paid more because of the training, Are you getting more work ? do you get more respect ?

    Do you think organizations like CFI could / should do a better job of educating the people that sell the products we install. What about education for general contractors and architects on the importance of having a site thats ready for installation.

    Maybe they already do this but I just haven't noticed it.
  5. Isabella Flooring

    Isabella Flooring Pro Member

    All, don't get me wrong, as I do believe in what CFI teaches and what it is about.

    But as stated, a 20 man requirment, is hard to do.
    Ardex does training at WFCA main office, WFCA is close to CFI, don't you think a class their would help, think about the turn out. Think about this, when was the last class CFI had on their own in California, Please don't include Mohawk U class.

    Answer would be -0-

    To answer your other, 40 CFI installers within 250 mile radius, and that includes most of southern California and central california according to CFI zip code locator
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010
  6. Jon Scanlan

    Jon Scanlan That Kiwi Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Daris did you get to see that DVD I brought over with me and gave to Jane Walker, I think Roland got one as well? If you can get a copy you might be able to explain the idea. Its what NZ is trying to do about this problem. I would say its a very hard sell as most flooring salesmen here have this approach "we know it all" why bother? :) The layer will sort it out.
    I am sure Toni will get on board with this as she was one of the people that put the programme together
  7. hookknife

    hookknife Hard Surface Installer Charter Member Senior Member

    The problem in part I think, is no matter how much training or certifications installers get, the shops and consumers need to "want it" before there is any value to it (other than personal gains) So as an industry We have to educate the Consumer and then the Consumer will tell the shops what they are expecting, then it will be up to the "shops" to deliver this, then and only then will the Certs lead to more money/business. I feel that CFI has done as well as any entity can, but again it has to start somewhere. JMO :D
  8. Mike Sahli

    Mike Sahli Pro Member

    Excellent statement Hook ! Now, who will lead the way in educating the shops, contractors and consumers on the value of trained professional installation and the fact that it will cost more but it will be Worth more to them in the long run.

    Training installers is the easy part in my opinion and the thought process has been that the better trained installers will rise to the top and that the shops and customers will gladly pay more for them.

    This may be true for some but not for the majority of installers, there are enough of us here at TFP to prove the point.
  9. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    This discussion has been going on for at least 20 years with nothing being accomplished. Probably never will.
  10. hookknife

    hookknife Hard Surface Installer Charter Member Senior Member

    I agree, I feel it is going to be the consumer that will need to want it. from there it will grow. CFI and others are doing well with installers, but how much are they doing to teach the consumers that they need to look for this stuff, and in reality how much can they do???
  11. Jackreed

    Jackreed jackreed Charter Member

    I've held back on commenting on this because I'm not good on putting my thoughts in words. But here it goes. 99% of my work is residential carpet, vinyl, laminite and LVT tile. I live in a farming area. The customers I have are very conservative. In 36 years of being in this trade I've never been asked for any certifacation. When I started I attended Congoleums 3 day installation class and have went to every seminar they have had in my area. Oh they did give me a piece of paper when I passed the class. But again no one has asked to see it. I have to admit Congoleum's class has given me the confidence I need to continue what I love to do.
  12. polestretch

    polestretch Senior Member

    Jack, your story sounds a lot like mine, I've been installing for almost 27 years almost all residential in a conservative area. No one asks if I'm certified, although they do return to the shop because of reputation the 2 installers have. When you you do quality work, the customers will return and some even tell their friends. A few years ago there was a third installer that only did what was necessary to get the job done, not get the job done well. Some customers actually asked for someone other than him. IMO you do not need to be certified to do great work.:yesss:Repeat customers is what my ego needs, not necessarily certification.
    Around 10 years ago, a local shop paid for their installers to be certified. They advertised their installers were certified. I knew one of the installers and they said they did what they had to do to be certified, but went right back to their old way of slapping it in. This shop no longer has any certified installers. Big surprise. Just because you have the knowledge to do something right, it doesn't mean you will. It is what's in your heart.
  13. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    Exactly, how I feel.
  14. Tandy Reeves

    Tandy Reeves Resting In Peace Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    As Rusty said this discussion has been going on for 20 years and will continue. How long will it continue? No one really knows and for the most part cares. However, the door to perfection by installers has been opened a tiny crack. You guys and gals that really care are not fighting a loosing battle (even though it seems that way). CFI and other certifying groups dare to take the lumps and licks from the nay sayers, but refuse to crumble from the outside pressure.

    One of these days certified installers will be in demand and not looked down on. They will demand and get their just wage. How long will it take? I have no idea, but you have started something that will trickle down the the consumer who will demand trouble free floor covering.

    Our thread on vacuuming carpet and no vacuum seem to work, indicates very little or no R&D has been done and it will be up the the installer to put the product down so it will work, and this will only come with education.

    Most of us may not live to see the day come, just as other seemling impossible trade work has come about so will the professional trained certified installers prevail.

    Call me crazy, but prove me wrong. The old over the hill ex.
  15. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    IMO, the quality of installations has declined over the last 20 years, but so has carpet. None of the current carpets are an improvement over jute-backed nylon. And none are as installer-friendly. I can't see any of the current vinyls being better than Corlon or Solarian either. I still see vinyls in homes that are 30+ years old that are great condition, just out of style. I still take up jute-backed carpet that is in good condition. I find it hard to believe that the current carpets, pet, ptt. etc. with mystery backings will last 30 years. And does anyone think that IVC backed vinyls will last 30 years?
  16. Jon Scanlan

    Jon Scanlan That Kiwi Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Awhile ago here different Associations were advertising on TV that people should employ people that belonged to an association as most had a resolution service. The builders Assoc, plumbers. mechanics etc used to do a lot of TV advertising and I was told by homeowners the reason was they went with the retailer I contract to was because they had Member of Flooring Assoc on their letterheads. Nobody really new what that meant because they would ask me. The flooring assoc was sitting on all this free advertising by the other associations. This worked for the flooring people as long as their price was similar. I would like to think CFI would be in the same position if they were members as compared to non members
  17. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    Pardon my bluntness, but this is how I see part of the problem with the lack of compensation for better education and improved skill levels:

    Independent installers and many retailers do not know how to market themselves. They don't use their own assets to up-sell the customer - the "customer," meaning the person who pays their invoice. That would be the consumer or the retailer that they work for or the consumer they sell products and services to. I see it here on TFP and I see it in my relationships with flooring professionals in the real world.

    Look how many topics we get about the lack of work, the poor economy and the complaints of poor compensation. Compare the participants in those discussions with the TFP Business Directory. The directory doesn't guarantee work or sales, but it has been effective for others. Too many complainers don't take advantage of a free feature that could make a difference.

    I visit one of my old suppliers occasionally. He complains about the slow business and reduced traffic, but his competition hasn't experienced the same decline he has. I don't know how much a difference it would make, but he doesn't have a website, doesn't send out fliers and doesn't open his shop up to seminars or offer any training - the other supplier does all of that.

    The local installer has decided to go into cleaning to get more work. He hasn't taken any training in installations or cleaning. He doesn't answer the phone when I am there just visiting. He does no advertising and does not provide any community good will. All of these things could help him, I'm positive. He got a friend to invest in his business by buying all the cleaning equipment (all used stuff), but both of them are slowly going broke because there's no marketing plan.

    Too many of our brothers and sisters in this industry fail to learn about basic business principles. Great installers with no business experience can go broke faster than poor installers with business education. I have seen so many people go into the retail business with no experience at all, let alone any business sense.

    For years I have seen sharp businessmen and women offer their support on this and other forums, only to be rebuffed by those who think these basic principles don't or can't apply to them (sadly, I've done that myself). Yet we heap praise on them for their contributions that we refuse to try to implement in our own businesses.

    All this completely baffles me.

    [​IMG]Sorry, I should get off my soap box now.

    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  18. cproader

    cproader All over T's last nerve Senior Member

  19. cproader

    cproader All over T's last nerve Senior Member

    I'm not a certs guy, but how could they be hurtin anything......:hmmm:
  20. mcurrin

    mcurrin Charter Member Published

    Certs can tilt the playing field to less qualified people.


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