CFI and their new vision

Discussion in 'Industry News, Training & Organizations' started by Mike Antonetti, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    A quick point of clarification, I am not opposed to the CFI having a training facility nor am I opposed to anything they choose to do or not do. The point of my chiming in is to simply add another dimension to the discussion. Does our industry need more leaders or more followers? You tell me.

    On a more personal level, I have always been a passionate believer that the only way the CFI would ever succeed or have credibility in the industry was for the organization to become financially self-sufficient and/or self-funded. To that extent I applaud the efforts.

    These are my thoughts, what are yours?


    David Hunt
  2. Rodney Henderson

    Rodney Henderson Pro Member

    This whole situation right here is the main reason I have actually contemplated a career change. I worked with a man for almost 8 years before his retirement and then went out on my own two years ago. I have no 'formal' floor covering education though it is in my near future. What really grinds my gears is that the stores around my neck of the woods pay $3.25/yard on basic residential carpet installation. Furniture, tear out, and other prep are extra. I do not know of but one onstaller in my area that has taken CFI courses, but say i go take the CFI course on carpet, these stores will not pay anything extra, even though I would clearly be more qualified than others in my area. So where is the incentive at to better yourself? I still plan to take the certification courses, dont get me wrong, it just seems that the stores only care about how much material they can ship and how cheaply.
  3. Incognito

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

    Why does everyone point at the "store" or "retailer" as a culprit in low rates/wages for installation?

    Every blue collar worker in America that works competitively in private industry has suffered the fate of his paycheck shrinking against the cost of home ownership, groceries, gasoline, insurance, health care and higher education costs.

    This is driven by global economic forces to some degree and the consumer to another degree, meaning ultimately it's a market driven phenomena. The store owner, salesman or manager has very limited power to affect his regional or local prices for his goods. Folks come in to a business for the most part already having some idea what they're going to pay for a car, computer, appliance...........flooring.

    I can't think of an exception of a protected industry of blue collar workers who've managed to maintain high relative income over my adult working life. (1978-2015). To whatever extent a union apprenticeship program or short term training courses can improve the skill set and education of the trade in general there's no doubt that those workers who've been exposed to training and education will be better off in competing for work. It's less likely that those who've gone through some formal training of any kind are going to be as aggressive a force in DEGRADING our wages as those with nothing going for them besides what they've scratched out for themselves on their hands and knees. Any education is better than no education.
  4. I think it's hard for retailers to acknowledge skill and pay extra for it. Our retailer would argue with us, eventually 1-3 years he came around, so I bought my first 4500$ vacuum, he said he'd never pay that much for a vacuum, that was so many thousands of dollars of prep ago.

    So just last week he threw us into a country club remodel, thinset, thick adhesive, skim coat etc. We charged fair price, didn't hear a peep back, he's just cutting the checks. I said he probably made 50K last month, my brother said probably more.

    With carpet it's hard to justify visually increased prices, unless you have some good training to jump the obstacles other fall from, it's hard to accel, maybe high end installations, somewhere find a niche to justify pricing, getting efficient, hard to do installing carpet, but that increases pay as well.
  5. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    And it would seem if enough of the good guys quit installing because of low pay the retailers, labor contractors would GET IT, and raise payment. Wrong......they simply go to the govt. and whine that there are not enough Americans to do the jobs available. The govt. then relaxes the standards for foreign labor. In our area we have Chinese and Brazilian wood crews, Russian tile crews and Central American carpet crews. Some are legal, many not so much, I know one crew that is illegal, but they have a tax ID so that they can cash checks. INS is cool with that since they are doing a job that many Americans don't/won't do.
  6. Incognito

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

    That's a commercial project where you wouldn't be able to compete without the investment in higher end equipment that sets you apart from the guy kicking carpet in bedrooms and living rooms.

    In the context of David Hunt's previous post you are no longer that grossly underpaid "entry level" installer with a minimal set of installation skills that industry prices accordingly. You and your brother solved the problem of low rates for carpet installation by leaving the kicker and power stretcher at home.
  7. Yes, we are lucky right now, but still I think it is a road to travel, a process of going through all of the motions of flooring, learning everything along the way.

    It's hard to skip learning processes without knowledge and experience along the way.

    Two examples- years ago in the navy, they leased a fast frigate to the Pakistani's, they sank it in 5 hours.

    I was buying the National 5700 scraper, Innovatech guy said you would not have been satisfied with it. But how would I know if I have not used it. If you don't experience the basics, learning process of most flooring, you will be void of answers, we understand what needs to be done, how carefully it needs to be done, etc. you can't just say, "I'll start a demo service"

    I always go back to basics as they are continually changing.
  8. JPfloor

    JPfloor Pro Member

    Precisely! And as your skill levels increase so shall you pay, even if you stick with the kicker and power stretcher. In my area high end carpet installers are in demand, and are compensated nicely for their skills....

    If you spend 20 years in the trade and all you learn how to do is a basic install how much do you expect to make?
  9. Darren Ramey

    Darren Ramey Charter Member I Support TFP

    I have worked guys that were never going to be capable of doing this on their own and I have worked guys that got it down pretty much out of the gate. A lifetime wouldn't be long enough to teach some of these people. On the other hand, five weeks is way too long for someone of moderate intellect and coordination.

    Give me someone that really wants to learn, a couple brain cells to rub together, half a conscience and the ability to improvise? I could teach him the basics in a couple days. The basics aren't that hard. The problem is the aforementioned skills aren't teachable, and those that measure up use those abilities to make real money in other jobs/trades.

    I understand that the materials involve in teaching this trade aren't cheap, but 5K to be a rug humper? Who is going to sign up for that?
  10. Incognito

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

    I've only worked in New England, Mid-Atlantic States and Southern California but I think your experience is fairly universal for most regional markets--------meaning that there ARE higher priced mechanics who can command a middle class wage+ even when they are doing basic installs because shops need to keep them busy or they'll fall off the radar. Worst case scenario is that elite installer goes to work for the competition and as a store you are kind of assed out on more difficult materials or installations.

    But I expect there's will always----in the foreseeable future be a sliding scale for carpet, wood, ceramic and resilient where low end installation will fetch relatively dirt poor rates. I can't imagine anything the unions or CFI can do to affect the installation prices for stuff like cheap hotels, apartments, "builder grade" track housing carpet installations where from my perspective its the CONSUMER driving down price

    no different than everyone lamenting the demise of the Main Street/Mom and Pop local businesses on their ride home from Walmart.
  11. Daris Mulkin

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

    Another thing that is hurting pricing is sites like Craig's list, Angie list and so on.


  12. Incognito

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

    That's the consumer I'm talking about finding ways around paying the kinds of money the industry could demand when there were far fewer choices for the customer to play off one another.

    This won't turn around. It's a one way street. You need to get on another road to success.
  13. Nate Hall

    Nate Hall Types With toes I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    I was at the certification team meeting and also helped to start the curriculum creation process for carpet installation. The basics will be covered with sufficient hands on to get a guy ready for basic installation. then there will be follow up educational opportunities for more advanced skills if one chooses to move upward in this field. certification is available after 2 years of experience in the field.
    To Davids point (great talking point...AGAIN!) I believe the industry does need entry level installers. All trades have been slacking on this front for the last 5 years, or more. But there is a scary statistic out there stating that 80% of the installers out there now are 50+ years old and just 10% have less than 5 years experience.:eek: (10% were in between or ignored the survey) So in ten years, or so, the industry is likely going to face a crunch that makes present conditions look like a walk in the park. That's why CFI built a school. (there are 2 more in the works)
  14. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    If they need 2 years in the trade, they'll be trained and getting their own work. They won't need certified.

    PS. I just re read your post and see that's after the school.
  15. Nate Hall

    Nate Hall Types With toes I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    There are many with 2 decades of experience that need certification. Guys who keep doing the same thing over and over because "that's what I was trained to do". Experience doesn't mean much when it's poor craftsmanship repeated ad nauseum.
  16. Floored by Newman

    Floored by Newman Floored by Newman

    Hope package come with business management. I see most get burnt out within first ten years...program could be good. Something has to happen :blink:
  17. JPfloor

    JPfloor Pro Member

    As previously mentioned in this thread these schools are primarily geared towards employees of larger shops, and not peace workers going into buissness for themselves but your point is an excellent one. Some of the most abused people in this trade are the young entrpenaures who start out thinking they are actually making money.... It took me a while to figure out how little of my gross income I actually got to keep...:eek:
  18. Nate Hall

    Nate Hall Types With toes I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    It will be offered but so will jobs and most will go to work to try to pay off tuition.
  19. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    I don't know about you guys, but carpet is the last of the flooring trades that I'd look to for making money. A skilled hard surface installer is going to make considerably more than a skilled carpet installer.

    Light row/Dark row. He got two lights next to each other. Probably straight edged the seam when he should have row found it. Carpet made like this is incredibly easy to get a near invisible seam in when cut properly. I know, it's practically all I install. The power streching thing is a whole different story...
  20. Incognito

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

    Depending on where you live and what part of the trade you're working in we're not always able to avoid areas of work that are dirty, dangerous, lower paying and less desirable altogether. To stay busy a man does what he has to do working for the shops that furnish the paycheck or piece work.

    In a VERY strong economy and a VERY heavily populated area a man can turn down carpet, demo, furniture, night shift, out of town gigs.

    Ah..........those were the days!

    But back to the point of this CFI program it's a great idea for someone entering this racket to get CLASSROOM training from a professional organization. If a union apprenticeship isn't available just going it alone isn't good for the installer, employer or customer.

    Nothing says this "kid" who takes the 5 week training doesn't go on and do ceramic, resilient and wood classes as well. That's kind of how the union works although ours is only carpet, resilient and pre-finished wood. Ceramic and nail-down site finished wood is considered a different trade for very good reasons in my opinion.

    There's a fine line between specialization where you focus on a set of skills to become expert on both skill and efficiency to maximize profit and trying to learn everything you can keeping all the other options open.

    In my eyes the biggest drawback to spreading yourself thin------becoming the jack of all trades is the requirement to carry so many tools and so much equipment. The more you learn about any given trade the more you'll want to be using the best gear available. Whether you piece work or work hourly your personal tools are overhead-----------coming off the top line and deducting from your take home pay. That's money you could have used for a vacation to Hawaii or Europe.

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