Our trade needs certifications.

Discussion in 'Industry News, Training & Organizations' started by Dave Garden, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. Incognito

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


    Ain't that America?
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btcqrPPEI-A]YouTube - AINT THAT AMERICA SONG BYJOHN COURAR MELLONCAMP FOR MEMORIAL[/ame]
     
  2. Tandy Reeves

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

    Peter, my source was Tim Smith. He said this was one reason he and Benny choose not to align with IICRC. He wanted his inspectors to be accountable for their work and IICRC could not do that.

    He and I have pulled certifications, and it is not easy nor fun.
     
  3. DJ

    DJ Charter Member

    how many joes check to see if one is licensed?:rolleyes: 0 with that said, would it viable to get certified?......NO:ohno:........... next subject:D :yesss:
     
  4. Tandy Reeves

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

    Why should they have to check. You should make it your business to see that they know it, and you are good, better, and best and can prove it.

    "Next subject": How does it feel to be in the same group as all the hacks?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010
  5. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    If you use your license and certifications as a marketing tool effectively, then your customers will be curious about the credentials of other installers. You can't count on anyone telling your customers the benefits of hiring you but you - that's part of your job.

    If you are a good businessman (in addition to being a good installer), then licensing and certification IS a viable achievement to work toward. If you think the display of a certification symbol is all it takes to market your credentials, you will be disappointed in the results. I doubt many customers will know that symbol from any other symbol. Most customers buy flooring only a couple times in their whole lives, so why would they go out of their way to become educated about certifications? It's up to the installer to go out of their way to educate the customer on their skills and accomplishments. It's a few extra sentences - or just one that sparks a question from your client for more information.

    None of us have the ultimate solution or the one and only answer. If you are happy with what works for you and have shared that with others, you are welcome to move on to the next subject. I have a feeling this topic isn't dead yet though. ;)

    Jim
     
  6. Peter Kodner

    Peter Kodner Inspector Floors Charter Member Senior Member

    Tandy I hope you know I was not arguing or challenging you but just looking for clarification. I believe IICRC won't provide regulation, not that they legally can't. I can only imagine what it must entail to yank someone's credentials and I don't envy you having had to do so.
     
  7. Daris Mulkin

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

    Jim says "Most customers buy flooring only a couple times in their whole lives, so why would they go out of their way to become educated about certifications? It's up to the installer to go out of their way to educate the customer on their skills and accomplishments. "
    In a way I disagree with this. Its not up to the installer to educate the customer. It is up to the installer to educate himself to give that customer the best job possible. When the customer buys something that is what they expect.
    Someone said earlier that a certification is only a piece of paper-so is a college diploma.

    Daris
     
  8. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    Here's a thought:
    Chris gave me some info about a cert that I have thought to exist (and it did) but I could not find a way to get it.
    The manufacturer several years ago did a big nationwide push to certify installers. The intention was to have a way for retailers to market the warranty provided to/for the certified installers. It was a genuine pass/fail cert. There was even a provision for 'insurance' for installation miscuts (3 times in the life of the certification)

    Long story short, it is not available any longer. Not because of misuse as some may logically assume, but for lack of use. The retailers did not market the product any more aggressively, they did not promote the certified installers, it ended up being a huge investment on the part of the manufacturer that had no ROI.

    I think this is a shame!!!!! :( I do believe in certifications for quality control in all areas of the industry. But it will require all areas of the industry to be on board. And sadly, as passionate as I am about this, I do not think it will really happen. :ohno:
     
  9. Tandy Reeves

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

    I agree with your conclusion Barry. It is so much easier to sit, bitch, moan, and talk about how bad we are being treated. I guarantee you it is/will not work because it might require we do something and the hacks won't let us.

    If our dads, moms, and grandparents had the attitude that exists today, we all would be speaking German or Japanese.
     
  10. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    One thing not to forget, there will always be those in and around where we live that will be willing to trust and rely on those with proper training and proof of such. With a little effort we can align ourselves with those who value the time and effort such training and certifications entail. These alignments usually are the ones that will survive economic downturns, and also are the ones willing to pay for the professionalism and quality that the efforts to demonstrate our passion, and pride of our skills and education.

    It is interesting that the person I was talking to fully believes in certifications also.

    He thinks it should take another route.....it theory a truly independent route......govt. (I know, I know). But this comes from a manufacturer's spokesman (off the record of course)
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010
  11. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Daris, most customers do not know what they want other than a color or style. And they know they want that color and style to last forever. But you have to understand that the consumer does not understand anything about the installation of the floor - they don't know the difference in stretching or kicking carpet, they don't understand the difference or choices to have a hardwood nailed or glued, they don't know about expansion, acclimation, modified and unmodified thinsets, acrylic as opposed to silicone sealers, flatness tolerances - none of that. Hell, many retailers don't understand that stuff, so you can be pretty sure the consumer doesn't.

    Although a lot of uncertified, unlicensed installers do know about those things, the consumer can take comfort in knowing that an installer that is licensed or certified is guaranteed to know. But the consumer won't know the difference between a certified installer and a hack installer unless someone educates them.

    Who do you think is going to do that? You think the retailer is going to do that? Prob'ly not. You think the manufacturer is going to use a significant portion of their million dollar advertising budgets to tell the consumer about certified installers? Unlikely. It's going to have to be the independent installer, who is in the business of selling their service to consumers, that educates those who are shopping for installation.

    You are certified and operate an installation business. You sell yourself for 95 cents per square foot to install basic cut pile carpet. You have to charge that because you have overhead, insurance, you seal seams and use a power stretcher among other reasons.

    Your competitor offers basic carpet installation for 55 cents per square foot. He isn't certified and takes a lot of shortcuts because the economy is bad and he wants to beat you to the job.

    Neither of you tell the customer the advantages of sealing, stretching, etc. You both just say you will do a better job than the other guy. Well, if it appears all is equal except for the price, who do you think the customer is going to hire?

    Unless you tell that customer that you have the training and certification to install that material so that it will last and your expertise and professionalism allows you to guarantee that work for X number of years... unless you convince the customer that your higher price is a better value, you will not be doing that job. The lower priced guy will because manufacturers and retailers of all types of products have been telling consumers for years that PRICE is the most important consideration.

    The professional installer cannot afford to be complacent. He cannot sit idle while expecting the retailer or manufacturer to sell you as the better choice. He dare not expect the consumer to learn all that's necessary to have the materials installed to any kind of standards. It's your job because no on can help you succeed like you can.

    Jim
     
  12. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Now I'm wondering... Don't these orgainizations and manufacturers that train and certify installers also educate them about marketing that certification or training? Do they offer any coop advertising like they do to retailers for advertising their brands? Do we ever see something like "We recommend this product be installed by certified craftsmen displaying the ABC Professional Assurance label" or some such, even in small print?

    Any of you guys with certifications from the various agencies care to fill us in on this?

    Jim
     
  13. Elmer Fudd

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



    This is the problem that I am facing right now!! I have a couple of dealers who know me and trust me, they call all the time to get information!!! BUT they never commission any inspections. They are polite, say Please, and Thank You, then go there merry way.
    I have found out through the grapevine that after I recommended Rh testing of a concrete floor they went and purchased the Wagner plugs and tried to do it themselves. They bought a case for $1200, used 5 and then wanted to return the rest!! LOL!!!:D
    Another one asks "Is this something that a mill would honor?" After a discussion they say "Thanks", and call the mill to have another inspector look at it! Then when not happy with the call asked if I would go for $50 and give a verbal opinion! NOT!!!
    So I have made a promise to myself, shut up when they call, repeat after me "I would need to see the floor to offer ANY advice." And yes, this is why sometimes as inspectors we are not very forthcoming with advice. When we talk, it often is talking $$ right out of our pockets.
     
  14. Isabella Flooring

    Isabella Flooring Pro Member

    I would like to say,

    As being a Mohawk ColorCenter Owner, Lic. Calif. Contractor, CFI certified We here at my store educate the consumer (1) Fiber (2) Face weight (3) Backings, (4) Competent Installations with Certs. we then suggest them to shop, 95% of all consumers shop 2 to 3 stores before making a purchase. I retain 90% of my bids put out there.

    I will also add, I have been over seeing some spec. manuals for some commercial floor covering going into some large commercial settings and they are asking for ICFI certs on Installers, ICFI is finally comming into play alot more here on the west coast, Even Mills are stating in their Warranties That carpet must be installed by a COMPETANT Installer.

    What is a Compentant installer with out some type of cert. or varifacation from somewhere someone.

    Keep in mind people, Installers here on the west coast are installing rug for $1.65s/y and they are travelling eastward.

    Just ny Dimes worth for you all.....

    Brad
     
  15. Chris Mha

    Chris Mha Charter Member Senior Member

    Jim, very well said. Barry did not mention who the company was but I will. It is Mannington. It's a shame that they had to discontinue the program but I still use it as a marketing tool when selling or installing a Mannington vinyl floor. Sure there are some that only care about price but I use it anyway in my sales pitch. I have to admit that once I start talking to them about it, it usually works to my advantage.

    I think that it will be difficult to control and monitor. Just because someone is certified does not necessarily mean anything if they do not have the passion and discipline to apply what they have learned and in their heart want to continue their education.

    I know who the inspectors are that Tandy speaks of that had to have their credentials pulled. Although, I have not had to do it yet but I have taken one complaint on an inspector. I spoke with the inspector and I spoke with the person that lodged the complaint. I got both sides of the story and the inspector now has a file with his name on it. I know this inspector and he can be a little abrasive at times. If another complaint comes in on the same inspector then a meeting will take place with the officers and the inspector to review what has taken place and to decide if disciplinary action needs to be taken.

    I will be the first to admit that as an installer 15-20 years ago, I saw no benefit for me to join CFI. Back then, I don't think that a single retailer cared if you were certified. I see that changing here in Detroit a little bit. Especially the C-1 dealer that I install for. He truly believes in education and sends his guys as often as possible to different workshops. As a matter a fact we are going to a seminar tomorrow. I don't think that this one will result in a certificate for my portfolio but none the less, it is education.

    Since I became an inspector I have truly changed my way of thinking on education. Not only in the inspection field but the installation field as well. I told Daris a while back that I do intend on going through the CFI courses. Even at 48 years old. I don't know that I will get to the master level that he and Dave Garden are at but you never know. Just a matter of this economy back on track so that I can get caught up on bills, before I spend the money.
     
  16. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    I'm not familiar with ICFI. Can you give us more info?

    Jim
     
  17. Isabella Flooring

    Isabella Flooring Pro Member

    Hmmmm, ICFI is CFI Jim

    International floorcovering Installers Association.

    Known in the Industry as CFI
     
  18. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    [​IMG]Oh, okay. I thought you were talking about another organization. Yeah, Certified Floorcovering Installers only use the initials CFI.
     
  19. Isabella Flooring

    Isabella Flooring Pro Member

    Thats weird I have 2 Jackets from them and decals that say ICFI on them that came from the CFI CONVENTIONS.
     
  20. Jackreed

    Jackreed jackreed Charter Member

    Where does this put the uncertifiedied installer that follows all the standards and tries every chance to sell himself that way. Is he a certified installer or a hack installer? Where does that put the uncertified installer who follows the standards and only gets the .55 cents per square ft (like other installers in his area)? Define professional? Does a professional installer need to be certified? Can he be self educated by going to classes that offer no certifacation, or by reading manufactuers specs and following CRI standards. My Wife just read my post and says I am certified. Certifiable for being in this business For 36 years. But it has been fun.:yesss:
     
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