Recently, a topic on The Floor Pro Community forums was started, seeking installation information and tips about a specific product sold by a popular flooring franchise. I searched several of the franchise websites and pages looking for actual installation instructions for the product. I found nothing more than marketspeak – no instructions. I called their corporate offices and, after being shuffled around a little, spoke to a woman who didn’t seem to understand the concept of a website that offers support to flooring professionals, consumers and DIYers. She seemed confused about our desire to provide links to installation instructions.
This is discouraging. I feel like I have totally failed in the mission of The Floor Pro Community. I understand that many people and organizations haven’t heard of us. To not even understand that vital information, like installation instructions, should be easily available just baffles me. These products must be properly installed to prevent problems, reduce customer complaints and claims, which erode profits. TFP is here to offer support to flooring professionals and consumers and to guide them to successful product selection and installation – along the guidelines set forth by the manufacturers themselves. We are a conduit and we charge nothing for the service.
That topic and many more like it will get traffic from Google and other search engines when people looking for information on branded vinyl, or a specific franchise, or just vinyl plank flooring. We are popular with search engines and get a good share of first-page results. The Floor Pro Community becomes a resource that could produce sales – support that we offer for free.
In talking with the franchise corporate representative, I got the feeling she was wondering what my motive was – what was Jim McClain trying to get out of this? My guess is that it seemed unfathomable that all I would want is to help consumers, DIYers and flooring professionals to find the information and resources that they need to make good decisions. That has been my goal since we started in May, 2006.
…we’re all huge admirers of your TFP community. Nothing else like it online – and trust me – we’ve searched.
I was recently told, by a flooring tool manufacturer and distributor, “…we’re all huge admirers of your TFP community. Nothing else like it online – and trust me – we’ve searched.” It was a private conversation, so I can’t tell you their name (although it would be cool if they replied to take ownership of that comment), but it was so gratifying to know we have that kind of impact on some people in this industry. Unfortunately, it’s not enough.
It’s not the end of the world that some people don’t know about TFP. But for people to not even know there are websites that support world-wide communities of consumers and professionals in niche areas of consumer/contract products and services… maybe the whole Internet concept has failed. Flooring is just one niche. I’m active in several others, including health, automotive, photography, computers. All of these forums provide a virtual community atmosphere at no cost to its participants and are responsible, either directly or indirectly, for the sales of billions of dollars in products and services around the globe.
I sometimes wonder if our participating members, 99% of which are dedicated professionals active in the flooring industry, realize they are responsible for their own share of those billions by the support they give to each other and to the thousands of DIY and consumer visitors we get every day. Just this past week we heard of one member spending $20,000+ on a floor scraper he learned about here at TFP. Consumers join TFP all the time just to ask us what products to buy and what services and preparations they need to do to their new floors. We help make these sales and we do it because we want our industry as a whole to succeed. And we ask for no compensation for the service we provide. We do it for pride and because we want each other to be successful.
Help is needed to promote our goals and the mission of TFP. I’m asking for help from our regular and semi-regular members. Tell 3 people you know in the industry about The Floor Pro Community. Then tell one person you don’t know. Email your associates. Put a post on your facebook timeline, mention us on Twitter or LinkedIn. The next time you find yourself on the phone with an industry representative – someone in distribution, cleaning, sales, inspections, manufacturing, technical services – tell them to take a few minutes to visit THE Floor Pro dot com (you have to emphasize “the”) and see what we are about. Maybe we can help them. Maybe they can help us. That would be the best support you can offer me and the rest of us who hope to see more articles, new posts and more new members here every time we surf to the site.
Jim McClain grew up in rural Plumas County, CA. After a short, but exciting stint in the US Army, where he dodged work in Germany and incoming rounds in Vietnam, he settled back into country living and took a part-time job as an installer’s helper to work his way through college. He fell in love with the business and turned it into a career. Retiring from sales & installations in 2006, he still carries on his love affair with the industry through the use of a computer, a digital camera and a little space in “teh Ether”.