Over recent years, sales growth among Choices Flooring stores has increased strongly and continues to outperform the market.
IBISWorld estimates that Australia’s retail floor covering revenue for 2014-15 was 3.7% higher than the previous year, and is estimated to rise a further 2.7% in 2015-16.
A strong demand for flooring means a strong demand for installation services
Highly skilled, conscientious installers are a central component to the quality end-to-end service delivery that Choices Flooring takes pride in offering its customers.
A growth in the number of new Choices Flooring store openings and an increase in organic sales from existing stores mean the ongoing need for more installation services.
This trend looks set to continue, and compared to the industry average figures estimated by IBISWorld, will continue to outperform market expectations.
These poor results in apprenticeship completions have a flow-on effect among experienced floor covering installers. According to the Department of Industry, only 60% of flooring installers hold any form of Certificate III or higher qualification, even counting qualifications that are unrelated to flooring.
On current trends, this disparity between the availability of qualified installers and the increasing demand for their services is only going to get worse. The Department has estimated that the growth in flooring installers’ jobs over the five year period from 2012 to 2017 will be
four times higher than the overall growth rate of all jobs in the ‘trades and technicians’ category.
What effect does this lack of skilled labour have on your business? It drives up the costs of installations as you compete with other retailers for the subcontractors’ services. It also tends to reduce the quality of the installations as floor layers take short-cuts and rush to finish jobs. And it reduces the levels of customer satisfaction, which ultimately impacts on your business’s reputation and profitability.
the Choices Flooring solution
Choices Flooring has always been at the forefront of innovative thinking in the floor covering industry. Although we recognise that traditional models for training apprentices have served the industry well over the last few decades, we are not afraid to challenge conventional wisdoms when it becomes clear that these approaches are no longer hitting the mark.
Many store owners have told us that they see the looming skills shortage as a weak link in their business operation that urgently needs to be ‘future proofed’. But the training strategies currently on offer through government-funded apprenticeship programs are not attracting the best candidates for the job, and the apprentices who do sign up are not always learning the right mix of skills to adapt to the latest industry developments.
In response to these concerns, we have taken the initiative and formed a training division called the Newfurn Training Academy.
Over time, the Academy will roll out tailored programs in a wide range of areas, including Customer Service, Professional Sales, Interior Decoration, Business Management and Leadership. But at this stage of its development, the focus is on Flooring Installers and Apprentices.