Our trade needs certifications.

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

  1. Isabella Flooring

    Isabella Flooring Pro Member


    How about this, When going to a doctor do you want to see a MD or a P.A. Who's mor qualified and why??????

    RN vs LVN, Most of the Doctors out their now a days are getting Phd's in another country, as we all know the CRI 104 and 105 DOES NOT exsist anymore, As of
    October 1, 2009 it is ref. as CRI CARPET INSTALLATION STANDARDS, and them are MIN. Standards in the industry untill the S 600 with the ansi spec comes into play. And Once again that is Just Bare Min.
  2. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    Being certified doesn't mean you are more qualified. It just means you took a test and passed. There are many very good installers who aren't certified.
  3. Isabella Flooring

    Isabella Flooring Pro Member

    Here another way to look at it,

    A true Journeyman would go thru a 4 year appreticship (excuse the spelling) Just because you have 4 or more years does not consider you being a Journeyman,

    If you call yourself a Journeyman, I would ask you for your card.....

    Their are other programs out their, INSTALL is one. These program and Certs. all good for everyone, Mills Retailors and Installer, As I have said before, Here in Central and southern Calif. there are people installing rug (carpet for $1.65 $1.75) a yard, and they are heading eastward do to no work.
  4. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    Journeyman is a union term. There are no carpet installation unions in this part of the U.S.
  5. FlooringGirl

    FlooringGirl Senior Member

    My two cents, for what it's worth these days :)

    Certification is a very interesting topic, and there are all sorts of ways to look at it (as we have seen).

    Personally, I think there many different ways to learn something and also to show how well you've learned it. We all know people with a college degree who aren't really familiar with any of the hands-on work they are expected to perform by having that diploma, and in addition we're all familiar with those who are talented enough to do a great job at something with little or no formal training.

    It was mentioned that there are still some installers who don't seam seal or power-stretch, and that is a fact. A certification will not make them do these things if they don't take pride in the end result of their workmanship. I think it's more important to be able to say you "follow the CFI guidelines" than to say you have CFI certification. There is a big difference between showing you know them and doing them.

    Educating customers about the installation process isn't realistic. Consumers are usually so overwhelmed by the major purchase they are making, that just knowing you are sending good installers with proven track records is enough. People tune out when things are brought up that they don't understand about the installation process - they just want to know it will be done well, not the details of how.

    There have been mentions about certifying salespeople and retailers not knowing about or understanding things. Although there is a valid point there, the latter statement seems rather stereotypical. In any case, what kind of certification would you suggest the salespeople have? Floor covering, sales, installation, all of the above?

    Long before before becoming a flooring salesperson, I studied interior design (in a silly little home study course when the kids were little), which certainly didn't prepare me for this profession, just helped me land the job ... it was learned on the fly after starting, with no one to train me. If anyone looked at my grades from the school, they would see that I did great, but was terrible at mixing paint to make specific colors. Does this mean I'm bad with colors? No, it means I was bad at mixing paint! My current portfolio has certifications for training about carpet cushion, Stainmaster, Mohawk, on and on. All those really mean is that a class was attended.

    My coworker has a college degree in marketing and sales, but she has no ability to read a customer. She says the same thing to everybody. On the other hand, I get along with all realms of people and treat every one in a different way, in a manner they relate to. Some things can't be replaced by an education.

    Lastly, but most importantly, most of you know that my husband is an installer. Tommy left school in the 8th grade to become one. That does not mean he isn't very intelligent. He does complex flooring calculations in his head, it's amazing. And, he follows all the CFI guidelines. He does have certification from Milliken in laying carpet tiles from years ago, but says the weekend was a blur because of all the free booze. Fact - he is a pro who doesn't need a paper to prove it.

    He has worked alongside some of our other "really good" installers and comes home to tell me what they don't do that they should be doing. So yes, I do believe it is a retailer's responsibility to make sure certain things are being done by their subs, or at least that they are both buying and using certain supplies.

    Off to another forum, I have a question ...

  6. Nick Arrera

    Nick Arrera Resting In Peace

    For a buck sixty five i wouldn't be in the trade . :eek:
  7. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    The retailers here wouldn't use anyone who would work for $1.65.
  8. Isabella Flooring

    Isabella Flooring Pro Member

    Let me tell you, a retailor is looking at bottom line......If a CFI certified installer felt he could make it on $1.65, and the Installer had a great track record with Great references,

    YES, the retailor would use them, I have read in alot of fourms(postings) pricing has been going down on installation part.....

    Alot of the Mills are doing their own Installation seminars, Shaw is one, Mohawk with Mohawk U. I even beleive blowyou is even starting.

    Being on several Consensus Boards, I beleive it will be a Standard to have a Certain type of Certifacation, Being from a Mill or some type of program.

    Do you have a non-cert. plumper do your plumbing, what about a electrition which one do you prefer Lic. Certified or Jack of all trades......,

    TIA, That is the biggest problem in the Industry, Retailor not educating the consumer, Just like P.E.T with smartstrand and Dupont Smartstrand, Their is a BIG difference, if you know what I am saying.....
  9. Jackreed

    Jackreed jackreed Charter Member

    I disagree with camparing the medical field to floorcovering. It's like comparing apples and eggs. I do see both PA. and DRs. One no more than the other. I have an old 2002 manual that calls the CRI installation " standards". This brings up the question if they are just that standards how can you certif installers by them. How can flooring inspectors call a flooring faliure installer error if not followed. If maufacturers specs overide CRI what good are they. If you have one certifing organization what good is it. If each manufactures specs "rule" wouldn't you need to be certified by each manufactrer. When Duraceramic first came out a customer asked me to install. I told them I wouldn't do it till I went to a seminar on it. They waited a month for me to go. No certifaction came with it can a DR or Pa do that. No they need a piece of paper saying they passed. That's why I think the only good certifacation should come from a manufacturer.
  10. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    Actually, I replumbed and rewired my own house. Completely legal here. And outside the city limits, there are no codes. I am the only licensed installer in my area. Dosn't make a bit of difference when it comes to working.
  11. Isabella Flooring

    Isabella Flooring Pro Member

    Okay I agree, How about this,

    I sit on a Board For the California Contractors Board as a Subject Matter Expert their was a Quardriplegic that past the C-15 flooring exam last month, In all eyes in Calif. he's is Lic. to Install floor covering, Is he certified???? CFI, INSTALL and other programs are not just a test with question and answer, you must show you are capable with hands on training....

    Who would you choose CFI installer or The Quardriplegic and way, Or Lets get back to the Medical feild,

    MD, LVN or RN, who would you have inject a medication in you, The MD RN or LVN, they are all Certified, would it be the One that you could afford???????

    In all, what I am saying is Certifacations keep the ball feild level and pricing in the ball park
  12. David Hunt

    David Hunt Charter Member Senior Member Published

    There is a huge difference between being licensed by a governmental agency, as with a plumber or electrician who must practice their trade in compliance with established building codes / standards, not to mention the coupling of associated insurances and a floor covering installer. A better trade to compare with a floor installer would be a paper hanger or painter.

    Come on folks, no one is at risk for bodily injury or extensive property damage if a seam is not sealed or the tack strip is too far away from the wall. But wire a home improperly and the consequence can be deadly. Improperly install plumbing and the property damage can easily be in the tens of thousands of dollars. The comparison is a stretch even a power stretcher couldn't make.

    The only comparison more laughable is comparing floor certification to holding a medical license. I was certified as a CFI Master Installer in a single day. That hardly compares with four years of college preparation, plus three years of medical school, plus a year or more of internship and this does not even include specialization in specific areas. All this, on top of the potential life altering damage that can occur when a medical error occurs hardly compares with the damage realized from an improper or inferior floor installation.

    Whether you are for certification or not, proper installation is important. But please, let's at least be a little bit realistic about the comparisons.


  13. Isabella Flooring

    Isabella Flooring Pro Member

    I will agree Dobby comparing, But I would like to Correct you about the govermental agency here in Calif. is the same be it Doctor. beautician lawyer, We all in Calif. have to test with the Consumers Affairs. With education in mind I will let you know, that it is faster cheaper to receive a PHd in another country then it is here in the United States, It is happing everyday here.

    I apologize for going to far in comparing
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010
  14. FlooringGirl

    FlooringGirl Senior Member

    We bought and remodeled our home two years ago and had a wonderful jack-of-all-trades redo the plumbing and electrical, he also gutted and rebuilt the entire main bath, took out a supporting wall between the kitchen and laundry and restructured it to make one big room, etc. We trusted him and he did not fail us. The only time a license came into play was when my insurance agent said I could get a homeowner's discount for certain things if they were done by a licensed person. Being honest, I had to say that wasn't the case. But, it's all done right, and saved us lots of money. We paid him $15 an hour for almost 7 months of full weeks. He was happy, so are we.

    Not to say I would ever hire a carpet installer for $1.65, because if that's all he thinks he's worth, then that shows a mindframe. And for that price, that's probably just the value you'll get.

    You missed my point on educating the customer - I educate them about the flooring all day long, but they don't want educated on the installation, they just want to know it will be done right.

  15. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    I am not advocating mandatory certification and I hope that idea doesn't get much momentum. There are plenty of pros in situations that certification isn't either necessary or wanted. I don't want to take choices away from an installer, I want them to have more choices. I do, however, think it's short-sighted of any independent installer with credentials of any kind to think they don't have to use those credentials as a sales tool in their business. Too many relegate their certifications to nothing more than decorations to hang on a wall or uniform.

    Sorry, this topic is about certifications, not pricing. I'd love to discuss that in a different topic, if you or someone else will start it.

    I can only offer my opinion of what a professional is or isn't. You'll find there are many different opinions in this regard, so mine carries no more or less weight that the next guy. But my experience happens to be that I felt I ran a very professional business for a long time, yet I was not licensed. It was required and I should have renewed my license, which may make me somewhat less than professional. But I had a few minor certifications over the 35 years of my career and I conducted myself with professionalism and provided my customers with quality work and backed it by always taking care of problems. I'm not against self-taught or OJT, but I also believe that organized certification, training and professional associations should be a definite advantage and if the industry worked the way it should, consumers would learn that their best value comes from an installer who is well trained, accountable and professional.

    If you are referring to what I suggested, you should read it again. I did not suggest that the installer explain or educate the consumer on installation procedures. I suggested that the installer should use their face time to sell their service as a trained and certified professional. As a retailer/consultant, you don't have to explain to the customer how material is manufactured, just that it meets their needs, is warranted for specific performance standards and is styled an/or colored in a way that is better/worse than the alternative. The installer has similar requirements to close their sale, but they certainly don't have to provide more information than is necessary. As you know, this is something that isn't always easy to determine. But far too many installers rest on their laurels. They don't know how to sell their craft to their customer, whether that's the end user or a retailer or a workroom. That's why I asked if marketing was a part of any training or certification for the installer. I know it is for retailers, but I never found that kind of instruction in any installation related class I ever took. That to me is a serious omission.

  16. FlooringGirl

    FlooringGirl Senior Member

    No Jim, I was referring to a comment from someone else. I'm feeling a big difference from installers who are presold and those who sell themselves. Of course if you aren't working through someone else, you need to be able to market your craft. That is a very good word, "craft" - if I design and make someone a piece of jewelry, are they going to ask me if I'm certified? There is an automatic qualification to having a skill and a talent and the ability to perform a craft. In my opinion.

    And yes, installers should learn business skills. It would really help them deal with retailers and customers. Some are way too rough around the edges on that, and it's good they work through a store and have a buffer.

  17. Jon Scanlan

    Jon Scanlan That Kiwi Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    I can really only talk about New Zealand but I do know what has happened here and I would presume other countries are very similar. When I started laying flooring 43 years ago not many actually went through an apprenticeship. Later on the Master Flooring Federation was worried that there were not many qualified layers so they arranged with the Labour Dept to get the layers that had been flooring for at least 5 years to become qualified. It was something they were doing to help their members. Most layers rubbished this qualification with the approach of she will be right. One had to get references and pay a fee. This then went through the NZ Master Flooring Assoc for approval. Most layers where known by people on the committee so if any hacks applied they would be rejected. The NZM Assoc could see the way things were heading with people having to attend Site Safe courses, you now have to wear hard hats, all sorts of safety gear, the talk of having to be qualified, or be an apprentice to be able to work on sites, etc, etc The whole country was stating to become over regulated. Now days the NZ flooring Industrial organization is pushing for training and more are getting qualified each year as the employers of the layers can see the merits of being qualified as business sense to them to survive. If the layers were happy doing smaller jobs directly to the customer it was fine to just carry one the same old way but if they wanted to do any commercial work all these rules regulations start coming in. I reckon that the same thing is going to happen in other countries as what is happening here if it isn't already happening.
  18. Dave Garden

    Dave Garden CFI and Proud

    It's amazing that some people in our trade can make twice what others even think about charging. Selling yourself is huge and you should be using whatever advantage you have to market yourself. One of the problems our trade has is the competitive nature of the independent contractor. Or the young sub who doesn't have a clue on how to run his business. Knowledge equals money no matter what you do for a living.

    In my own utopian world I would like to work with these so called underskilled guys, and show them the proper way. Most of them were never trained right to begin with and just need a gentle nudge.

    It's a shame that on one hand we want to charge a decent rate and on the other we do not consider ourselves worthy of that rate. I have an electrician living next door to me. He makes good money I guess. The amazing thing is that he has to go to seminars in order keep his liscensing up. Every type of floor that we install has changed in the past 10 years. New vinyls, laminates are different, and you no longer need to mud all your ceramic. The only way to learn new installation systems is by learning about them. That is why I like the training classes.

    In my state flooring is not considered a trade. That to me is appalling. It takes alot of skill to do the things we do to make peoples homes what they are. In most cases the first thing people see when they enter a house is the floor. By raising the standards of those we work along side we can increase our bottom line.
  19. FlooringGirl

    FlooringGirl Senior Member

    My husband partnered up several months ago with an installer who has been at it about 10 years. He told me that the guy has learned many things from him, as he was pretty much self-taught. Although this guy has always done pretty good work, there is always something to be learned from and old pro who was taught by other old pros. A couple years ago, I met the man who trained my husband all those years ago, and he's hard core! No wonder it gets done right ... I still believe talent plays a certain part, though.

    That is disgusting. It isn't considered a trade here either. It is an extremely skilled trade and should be considered as such. What I worry about the most is a short number years from now, when there aren't any qualified young people to step into the shoes of the good ones who retire ... my husband just doesn't have the patience to train anyone new, and most of the other old-timers don't either.

  20. rusty baker

    rusty baker Well-Known Member

    I would consider training someone, but to be honest, most of the young men around here are lazy and don't have any pride in what they do.

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