Starting A Flooring Business

 
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Old 07-03-2006, 03:10 PM   #1
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Starting A Flooring Business


I am a college student with a unwavering interest in contracting and construction. I am seriously thinking of starting a flooring business providing contractors and the general public with flooring materials and installation. However, I am not sure how contractors purchase their flooring materials. I was wondering if you all could give any comments or pointers to keep in mind. All advice negative or positive is welcome.
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Old 07-03-2006, 07:08 PM   #2
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


if you're interested in contracting/construction --- why are you going into wholesale??

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Old 07-05-2006, 10:56 PM   #3
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


My advice is get a job. Your unwavering interest only goes so far as the fact that you have zero experience. Get a job at a lumber store, a carpet store or some similar place. Don't quit college. Get a business degree of some sort and take some classes on industry and pay your way through with a low level job within your area of interest.
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Old 07-06-2006, 04:34 PM   #4
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


Donedat has posted some outstanding advice for you. Interest, does not a business owner make. Education, experience, and the un-wavering ability to work hard are some of the necessary requirements.
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Old 07-21-2006, 11:23 PM   #5
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


I am opening a tile, laminate and hardwood store in august. I have been working in various trades(auto body, machinist,house framing, residential and commercial painting, drywall, finnish carpentry, cabinets, roofing, siding, etc.) for the past 20 years. For the past 2 years I have been doing complete renovations.

This kind of experience will help greatly in my latest venture. There is nothing more valuable than experience.
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Old 07-22-2006, 04:41 PM   #6
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


I get the biggest kick out of these salesman types who dont have a clue as to how to about laying a floor.All they know is the names of the product and the price they can sell it for and they think that they can continually make a profit out of cookie cutter estimates.things like i want u guys to geta thousand feet of vct on this cause that is what they did on the last one.the only problem with that is the last one was 30,000 open feet with very few cuts and no "hot" cuts and this one is cutting 3 walls in a classroom with 12 hot cuts including 3 different doorways to cut in and getting only 1500 feet a day with 1 journeyman and three cubs.AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHh! drives me nuts.
Listen to what these guys are tellin ya and get you a job as a flooring apprentice somewhere and work for a while in the trade you wanting set a fire with new and exciting ways of screwing people.Cause that is what is going to happen if you go into this thing blind.Regardless of what you and alot of other people think thise trade does require knowledge and experience to mkae these things last,otherwise it's like pissin in the wind
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Old 08-10-2006, 12:07 PM   #7
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


I'm interested in doing floor installation on a part time basis. I've done three houses so far (friends and relatives) and do very good work, but I'm not a licensed contractor. I don't plan to to this as a career, just for some extra cash. I'm a perfectionist and would guarantee all of my work.

Can someone suggest the best ways to go about getting some projects? Would I need to work under a contractor as a subcontractor? Or perhaps just placing an ad in the local Pennysaver? I'm aware that one needs to get insurance.

Last edited by mark755; 08-10-2006 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 08-10-2006, 09:16 PM   #8
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


You might want to work for a general contractor and just lay his floors and maybe do some finish carpentry here and there.
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Old 08-12-2006, 01:20 PM   #9
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


I was just wondering how easy/hard it is for flooring pros in general to get projects (this question relates more to the state of the industry and competition, than to your personal situation).

Do most of you have no problem filling up your schedules (assuming you have a good reputation and do effective marketing), or do you need to really hustle to find work? Is competition very stiff and the market oversaturated with flooring people?

Does most of your business come from word of mouth referrals, or do you also get a lot of business through advertising? If so, what are the best places to advertise? How much of your time is spent on marketing and drumming up business, vs. actually working on projects?

I live in Southern California, where housing is booming, but then again, the competition is probably stiffer as well. Thanks.

Last edited by mark755; 08-12-2006 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 08-13-2006, 06:51 AM   #10
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


Quote:
Originally Posted by mark755
I was just wondering how easy/hard it is for flooring pros in general to get projects (this question relates more to the state of the industry and competition, than to your personal situation).

Do most of you have no problem filling up your schedules (assuming you have a good reputation and do effective marketing), or do you need to really hustle to find work? Is competition very stiff and the market oversaturated with flooring people?

Does most of your business come from word of mouth referrals, or do you also get a lot of business through advertising? If so, what are the best places to advertise? How much of your time is spent on marketing and drumming up business, vs. actually working on projects?

I live in Southern California, where housing is booming, but then again, the competition is probably stiffer as well. Thanks.
The first thing you want to do if you live in California is get a license- otherwise you're breaking the law, and just making it more difficult for the legitimate, licensed contractors to make a living. They already have to compete with the rest of the fly-by-nighters who hire Mexicans off the street corner for $10/day- isn't that enough?

To get licensed, you'll need 4 years of experience working in the trades, so my advice would be to get a job with a local flooring installer. The experience will go a long way in making you a strong business owner.

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Old 08-13-2006, 01:17 PM   #11
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


Well, I certainly don't want to do anything illegal. I have a college degree, so my work requirement would only be two years, not four. Does anyone know if there's a "total hours" requirement as well (e.g. is four years of part time experience sufficient, or does it require a 40 hrs/week full time job?). Can I work independently and have a supervising contractor just inspect my work and sign off on it for two years?

Also, I noticed the following exemption on the CA licensing board's website : "Sale or installation of finished products that do not become a fixed part of the structure;"

Since I would specialize in floating, laminate flooring and would not do hardwood, vinyl or other types of flooring, I might be exempt, since floating floors might not be considered to be a "fixed part of the structure" (aside from the mouldings). In fact, one advantage of these floors is that they can be removed and installed into a new home when the owners move (not that anyone actually does this). This is often mentioned in the flooring marketing materials.

If someone can reply to my original questions, that would be great.

Last edited by mark755; 08-13-2006 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 08-13-2006, 07:38 PM   #12
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


So your business plan is to install only laminate floors? Good luck with that. I am in agreement with everyone else above....GET SOME EXPERIENCE....no offense, but coming from someone who has quite a bit in the field of question, it sounds as if you have none. A Saturday afternoon "class" at Home Depot does not qualify you...nor does installing a few rooms for some friends or family. They are not going to pick your work apart or expect the same results as a paying customer who doesn't know you from Adam....if they wanted "homeowner" results, they woulda done it themselves.

Since you are a Pro and ready to accept paying customers I have a few questions for you.

1 Do you own or have access to a moisture meter? Do you know what one is and how to use it?

2 Whats the difference between Direct Pressure and High Pressure laminates.

3 What are the maximum substrate flatness specifications for installing laminate flooring?

4 What is the longest run or greatest installed area before an expansion break must be used?

5 What are the expansion space requirements? Do they change depending on installation time relavent to season? Area?

6 What precautions or extra steps should be used when installing in "wet" areas?

I'm not trying to be condescending, just giving you food for thought. When you begin accepting payment for a service, you better know what the heck you're doing....sometimes we don't know what we don't know. Good luck, hope you got some answers here.
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Old 08-13-2006, 07:44 PM   #13
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


For what it's worth... I've observed that most of the floor installation subcontractors in my area seem to be unofficially "connected" to one flooring store or another. Sure, you can hire them directly to install your floor if you know who they are, but they seem to mostly do the work for a particular flooring store.
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Old 08-13-2006, 08:25 PM   #14
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


Thanks for the input. I can understand some defensiveness...perhaps it reflects a harsh competitive environment. I do plan to get the necessary experience before putting myself out there. Just trying to get an idea of the business prospects of starting a flooring business.

Any idea what a fair hourly wage would be to work as a journeyman/apprentice for a contractor?

Last edited by mark755; 08-13-2006 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 08-13-2006, 08:29 PM   #15
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


I am an independent flooring contractor. I advertise and do all my work based on that and word-of-mouth. I actually shy away from flooring stores because they ultimately want to control me so they can get rich. I don't play that game.

I work mainly for homeowners. I do work for a handfull of contractors throughout the year though.
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:49 PM   #16
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


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Donedat has posted some outstanding advice for you. Interest, does not a business owner make. Education, experience, and the un-wavering ability to work hard are some of the necessary requirements.
Experience I have, about 8 or 9 months as a floorin insstaller for a family member who subcontracted for Empire. Work hard, I believe in it and I'm willing to do that. Education I finished highschool no trades just started flooring because I needed a job, didn't really think I'd last long at this type of work because I was a factory type of man. Now that I have tried laying floor I love it, and of course the money it could bring in. So what I'm asking is how does a guy like myself get in to this business for himself?
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:21 PM   #17
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


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So your business plan is to install only laminate floors? Good luck with that. I am in agreement with everyone else above....GET SOME EXPERIENCE....no offense, but coming from someone who has quite a bit in the field of question, it sounds as if you have none. A Saturday afternoon "class" at Home Depot does not qualify you...nor does installing a few rooms for some friends or family. They are not going to pick your work apart or expect the same results as a paying customer who doesn't know you from Adam....if they wanted "homeowner" results, they woulda done it themselves.

Since you are a Pro and ready to accept paying customers I have a few questions for you.

1 Do you own or have access to a moisture meter? Do you know what one is and how to use it?

2 Whats the difference between Direct Pressure and High Pressure laminates.

3 What are the maximum substrate flatness specifications for installing laminate flooring?

4 What is the longest run or greatest installed area before an expansion break must be used?

5 What are the expansion space requirements? Do they change depending on installation time relavent to season? Area?

6 What precautions or extra steps should be used when installing in "wet" areas?

I'm not trying to be condescending, just giving you food for thought. When you begin accepting payment for a service, you better know what the heck you're doing....sometimes we don't know what we don't know. Good luck, hope you got some answers here.
Thanks alot man you know how to shadder a mans dreams, just kidding. Actually I can't tell you the answer to any of your questions, but I'm willing to learn and I learn fast. I know it can't be learned over night or even in a matter of months. Look all the text book stuff is good and all and I'll admit I'm gonna need it, but at the same time you show me how to do it and I can I actually pretty good haven't had any complaints and again I have worked for Empire.
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:12 PM   #18
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


Working for Empire is not a great reference. They have installers bid on jobs and so the customer gets low bidder. Low bidder is not usually the best installer. Right now is not a good time to open a flooring store. I've never seen business this slow in my 36 years in this trade. If you don't know how to use the testing equipment and don't know how to use all the flooring tools, you aren't ready.
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:04 PM   #19
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


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Thanks alot man you know how to shadder a mans dreams, just kidding. Actually I can't tell you the answer to any of your questions, but I'm willing to learn and I learn fast. I know it can't be learned over night or even in a matter of months. Look all the text book stuff is good and all and I'll admit I'm gonna need it, but at the same time you show me how to do it and I can I actually pretty good haven't had any complaints and again I have worked for Empire.
'Tis better your dreams get shattered now, than the h.o's who saved up for three years just so you could come in and hack their investment in

I'm all for hitting the ground running, but you gotta have the right shoes on first. Flip flops don't cut it in a marathon.

The best thing you could do if you really want to learn this trade, is to get a job with a GOOD established flooring contractor, as a helper...and LEARN the trade. If you are, at this point, already thinking "man I cold make some good scratch in this flooring gig" STOP.

I'll tell you right now. You ain't gonna make **** for 2-3 years. If you do it right. After that you can start to make some money, and after 5-7 you can make good money (depending on the economy lol).

Just a thought for you..I have over 20K invested in tools and equipment,...and I don't do carpet and do very little sand and finish work. Some guys have double or even triple that. The first couple years damned near all the profit I made went right back into trying to make more profit...get it?

Still interested?
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:00 PM   #20
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Re: Starting A Flooring Business


Maybe you're right I'm not ready, I think I'll take your advise and try and find myself another job helping someone until I'm ready. After all as they say you gotta crawl before you can walk. I really appreciate your input and this is not the last you'll here from me I'm determined to make it and I'll check in on you from time to time just to see how its going out there in the world of flooring. Good luck to ya!!!

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