Are Certifications Helping or Hurting

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

  1. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    Most installers in this area live week to week. If they were forced to be certified, it would mean they couldn't pay bills while they were taking time off to go 100 miles one way to be certified and spending the money for certs. It would be a financial hardship and would not lead to a pay raise from the stores.
  2. Mike Sahli

    Mike Sahli Pro Member

    Interesting story about where we are today, I have a buddy that runs the crews out of a company in the Seattle market and they use pretty much all Hispanic and Ukrainian crews, They don't speak English well or at all and most don't have a very high level of installation knowledge so I asked him why he uses them.

    He said number one, they don't complain, no matter what I give them or where its at they do the job and come back for more. Two, if there is a problem with the installation I just send some one else to fix it and back charge the installer.

    He made an interesting point, He said really good installers are more demanding about the shop getting the labor right when the job is sold and he admitted that they don't have sales people that can do that and that they can't ask the customer for more.

    He would like to use us more but we complain to much about how bad they are at there job and they aren't going to change.:(
  3. nimrod

    nimrod Pro Member

    +100 ! this is the gist of this whole discussion to me.rg commented about being small price to pay to be certified. till u add in travel expenses (gas,food and lodging) and most important time off NOT MAKING money it can add up. just for jollies I checked CFI website for closest classes on schedule. Virginia was it...266 mi. one way from my location. Till I figured travel expenses and time off it would cost me another 4-500 dollars besides certification fees. that's a few dollars! And then to have to pay more every year to STAY certified....:rolleyes:Like I would forget what I learned from year to year.
    Now if I was REQUIRED to do so I would. But I am not so I don't. but that doesn't mean I don't try to learn more about our trade every day. That's why I am on this website!!!
  4. Tandy Reeves

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

    Rusty not picking on you, but I do not buy the poverty theory. This has been used by installers way too long. For some reason ALL other trades that require certification or licsens (sp) are able to do what they need to do.

    I agree installers need to be paid more, but there must exist within the individual the want to (desire) to better themselves in their chosen trade. You make ways to afford it. Also remember a lot of this free stuff is worth exactly what you paid for it.
  5. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    To me the saddest part about this is that it is working for them. :(
  6. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    Many installers in my area make $400 or less a week after expenses. They simply can't afford the cost of certs and being off. It would cost them 1/2 a month's wages and the retailers would not pay them a dime more. Most have a hard time saving enough to make it through the winter. From Dec thru April here, 2-3 days a week of work is normal. If you don't have the money, you can't pay it. As far as the other trades, the only ones here that have to be certified are electricians, plumbers and HVAC and they all make more money than floor guys.
  7. hookknife

    hookknife Hard Surface Installer Charter Member Senior Member

    Some of the installers think they already have it figured out and every time something goes wrong on one of their jobs "it has to be the material" ooooo I hate Armstrongs new adhesive, blah blah blah., there always seems to be one of those in each school/seminar I have attended, Yet I personally never have come away from a class without something I could try or even use, an open mind and like Tandy said a desire to better ones self in his chosen trade. Should certifications lead to more money???IMO yes, Do they ???? that is a point of view, like I said earlier if I'm working because im certified or something and your not then yes, If we are both working at the time for the same pricelist then NO. JMO:D
  8. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    To be honest, over the last 18 years, since I moved back to my home town, I could not afford certs.
  9. nimrod

    nimrod Pro Member

    sounds to me like the answer to all this is to REQUIRE all installers to be certified. Then we can all get big bucks like electricians, plumbers and such.

    just what we need...more rules and regulations in our lives:(
  10. Tandy Reeves

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

    More rules and regulations? Maybe if certification was required more money would be made by the installer. It looks like required certification will only come about when big brother requires it. When that happens you will hear the scream around the world and it won't be pretty. It will go something like this "there aint nobody going to tell me what I have to do."

    I think big brother stepping in is the only way certification will work and be meaningful.
  11. Daris Mulkin

    Daris Mulkin The One and Only Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    The difference though between electricians and plumbers and flooring people is that they have to be state licensed. At least in Michigan they do and pass a state test. Same with car mechanics in Michigan. I'm sure those type of testing are much harder. You still have to fork out the bucks to take the test.
    Regulations=are there to protect be it you or the consumer.

  12. Jackreed

    Jackreed jackreed Charter Member

    Tandy I understand what your saying. As I stated in my other post certifacation does give you more confidence in what your doing. But I have to agree with Rusty it's a expense I cain't afford exspecially in this economy. I'm only working 3 to 4 days a week at this time. Even being told I'm a little higher then others in my area the money is not there. I know of two different instalers in my area that have full time jobs and do flooring on the side. Most likely no insurance and no sales tax lisence. Their health benefits are paid by their full time employer. Not getting political but with the new taxes starting after the first of the year it makes certifactions a dream not a reality.
  13. nimrod

    nimrod Pro Member

    so are you implying you can not learn anything without paying for it???
  14. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    Nimrod, nobody in my union would pay their dues if it was optional. Very few voluntarily attend and complete the apprenticeship program. It's done practically at gunpoint----------meaning we have to kick you out if you don't play nice. So "the union" are the bad guys to these folks when the only RATIONAL way to think about a union is that it's US and not THEM.

    We flooring installers are the onliest ones who really care about our wages, benefits and working conditions. Where we slack off and allow others to define the terms..................well we get what we deserve.

    So my point is that all certification programs would have as an end goal to become universal and somewhat mandatory-------to the extent that your employer or store that you sub from wouldn't be able to find customers willing to risk their expensive flooring with someone who couldn't pass a basic test of skills and was unwilling to follow a reasonable routine of continuing education. The industry is headed the wrong way-----away from any safeguards to the consumer in the way of strict installer standards.

    It's safe to assume that if CFI or any organization could grow to a large enough scale there would be enormous cost efficiencies--------savings from the sheer volume of participation. For example, relating to our union as it's influence shrinks and members fall off the roles our dues HAVE to rise to cover the skeleton crew and facilities that are left. When there were many, many more paying in we all had to cover a much smaller percentage of the overalll costs.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2010
  15. Tandy Reeves

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

    Great post Brian and extremely well said. Nimrod I was not at all implying that. You know the old saying that a blind hog can occasionaly find an acorn.

    How many training sessions have you seen that have snacks and beer, and the place is full until the beer and food are gone. Then have the same training session and charge a very small fee and no food or beer and see how many show up. We are all human and most always find a way to get it done or go to what we want.

    We all are in this boat together, therefore, for us to succeed we must work together.

    I realize things are very difficult right now, and just getting by is very, very hard. However, once things get better (and it will) how many will use any of the money for classes and self improvement?
  16. inspect1

    inspect1 Pro Member

    And here is why so many refuse to join CFI, MONEY!!!! The originators of CFI have become wealthy off CFI. I have heard that only 20-25% of those trained renew, that would be 10,000 but still $1,000,000 a year. How much is spent running CFI? 1 or 2 office staff, a website (broken much of the time). and a little bit of advertising. What's left for KC???? 500K, Oh Yeah!!!

    Remember the training is paid for by the ones being certified and the certifiers are donating their time. Even a certification is a money maker. 20 people at $295 minimum is $6K. Shipping the equipment does not cost near that, rooms and flight for 2-3 trainers, the site is donated, the carpet and supplies are donated. Total cost $3K, leaving 3K for Jim, I meant CFI!! Times 10-12 certs a year

    The highly publicized convention is paid for by those that attend, yes some prizes are given away (donated by the suppliers), Is a profit made on that also??

    Bottom line CFI is a business trying to tell those in the trade that their interest is in training. If it did not make a profit it would not be in business, Period.

    Sorry this is my opinion.
  17. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    It's this kind of innuendo that has made discussions of these kinds of topics difficult to have. Let's all bash someone for trying to make a living doing something they love and feel passionate about. At least you point out some inconsistencies in your claim:

    Are these facts you have actual statistics for, or just the repeating of hearsay? I was a member of the organization at one time, as a board of directors member in a chapter, and we didn't have this information. As far as the website goes, I've been visiting the site off and on for years and have never once found it to be down.

    I think your numbers leave a lot to be desired. Unfortunately like so many members of our industry running their own business, you have not accounted for all the overhead. I imagine an organization as large as CFI would have accounting and tax filing and incorporation fees, high insurance costs, attorney fees, office equipment and supplies, the costs associated with having employees, rent, utilities and other business expenses so many of us forget to add into the cost of running a successful business.

    One would hope a business could make a profit on something you invest in financially. Isn't that why you're in business? You mention "highly publicized" - doesn't that mean advertising costs? Is the meeting facility, transportation expenses, logistics, phone calls and the work of the employees who register and manage all of that free ya think?

    This is actually the most accurate thing you said. And not really just an opinion either. A mere fact of life. If you didn't make a profit, would you still be in business?

    This discussion is not going to turn into a bash fest against any organization. If you have facts that can be backed up, then please offer them in the appropriate topic. You don't like a particular organization? Fine. You're entitled. But don't pass on rumors you can't prove. You are welcome to share your opinion, but don't present unsubstantiated data as opinion. If you think Jim is ugly and Jane dresses him funny, fine, you can certainly share that kind of information. But unless you have copies of his balance sheet or tax filings, don't try to make people believe your numbers are even close to being accurate. "What you have heard" over and over doesn't make a rumor the truth. Put a little actual research into it.

    Just my opinion.

  18. Tandy Reeves

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

    Jim thank you for saying in a nice way what I so much wanted to do, but did not because I would have said too much.
  19. Roland Thompson

    Roland Thompson Charter Member Senior Member

    Inspect I, It sure looks to me that you at one time belonged to CFI. For you to asume some of the things you said you would have had to be involed.
    Now with that said I can say as far as making money from doing any CFI certifications I have not, but meeting some great installers and seeing some young installers want to improve is priceless.
    All I will say is every year the tax forms and bookeeping is completly gone over with the baord members, and any member that wants to see them can go to head quarters and the books can be gone over.
    Then again I would hope CFI can make some money, that is the only way it can keep going.
    Have I benifited from being CFI and other certifications ? That is a big yes, Just right now I am recieving a big job that came from being certifyied, The mill told the designer that a certifyed installer had to do their product and gave them my name. It is starting out with 2,800 yds at the first property with 4 more property's following behind that one. First one is a 40,000.00 contract and that is just labor.

    Nimrod I see you are from PA. I am working on having one in the MD area if that would work for you.I also would see you got put up for free if you wanted to stay the night so you did not have to travel back and forth.

  20. TwoStar

    TwoStar Maybe Three

    I apologize...I haven't read the whole discussion.

    Question: Does anyone know the history of certification in the Electrical or Plumbing fields? I am assuming that it happened alot like this...There were a few dedicated individuals that wanted to "clean up" their trade. They probably had to invest in education on their own until their group became substantial and widespread enough to be recognized as another option to the consumer. Better workmanship, more dedication, insurance. Someone from on high finally decided that people were getting screwed because there were too many of the un-educated plumbers/electricians running around. That's when regulations started. It became mandatory for them to go to school. They had to have insurance. THEY GOT PAID MORE. (I need the smily of the angel choir singing):)

    Are we afraid of regulations? Are we afraid that we would have to learn the "right" way to do it? Are we afraid of teamwork? Discussion? Criticism? Well...YEAH! Get over it and let's create something great! Let's show them stuck up plumbers and electricians how to run a respectable trade. Get out there and be a trendsetter in your community. Sell your education! We will all benefit!:dance::dance::yesss: :dance::dance:

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