Help Available To Members Of The CFA “Absolutely Priceless”
SINCE I became CFA President nearly two years ago, I’ve covered quite a lot of ground, though I should probably say ‘we have covered quite a lot of ground’ as my tenure started with us, as an industry, still deep in recession.
Today there is the emergence of those ‘green shoots of recovery’. Whilst the green shoots may be exaggerated in height by some quarters for political gain, they are there and although fragile, I have to carry some optimism for the future, but accept also that my business will never truly be the same again.
Despite it being a challenging period, the fact that we are still here today means we must have being doing something right in the first place. I do recognise, however, that my business has also evolved and adapted to a new trading environment.
Who’d have thought we’d be confident when asking for up-front payment from some customers and better still, who’d have thought those customers would have said yes?
Well, like many CFA companies, we now credit-check all potential customers and if anything is flagged up, we ask for payment in advance.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we carry the mantra that ‘it’s better to not have the work than to work and not get paid.’ How many of us have also examined overhead expenditure and genuinely sought out ways to save money?
Whilst most of us do consider this to be a day-to-day part of doing business, there’s nothing like a recession to make you really apply a microscope and come up with some inventive ways to make savings.
Of course it’s not about cutting corners, it’s about being lean for the fight, and that means being competitive yet not compromising on the quality or service expected on which we are proud to have built our reputation.
As a business we are certainly much stronger than ever and probably a lot more resilient too – and this is also a good thing going forward as perhaps the most important lesson we have learnt is not to be complacent.
One of the goals I set myself during my presidency was to do as much as I could to promote the benefits of CFA membership and help to grow membership. Of course this was never going to be an easy sell when so many companies were finding times difficult, but I am pleased that despite the economic climate, membership has held up.
The introduction of an Associate Membership category has also been welcomed and is growing steadily.
I find this encouraging as it clearly shows that there is value in becoming a member of the CFA and given the way the economy is going and where it has been, more maybe realising that such benefits can bring stability too.
Being President of the CFA has opened my eyes to the many companies and manufacturers we have as members and just how difficult recent years’ trading has been for everyone.
Somehow you think problems are all yours, but it has actually been difficult for the majority of our sector. Stability, above all else is what our industry needs and the CFA is pivotal to this now more than ever.
CFA membership is more than just a logo – it is being part of a collective voice for us as an industry and one that can really make a difference. The benefits alone it offers can genuinely support your business as you seek stability and growth in the coming years.
The CFA offers help with contract law and other legal matters; it can even carry out credit checks for you, which trust me, can mean the difference between getting paid and not.
The CFA offers help with health and safety issues, insurance, tax and training as well as discounts on FITA training courses and on the purchase of British Standards.
There are loads of publications available to members from Service Contracts to Disclaimer Notices and there are policy documents on the environment. You also get a free subscription to this fine publication, Contract Flooring Journal.
At the risk of turning this column into a sales promotion, the CFA really does offer something for you. Often though, it is the elements that are not obvious that make the biggest impact.
The CFA lobbies at government level on all issues flooring-related either alone or as part of the lobbying of the wider construction sector. Whatever legislation emerges, you can bet good or bad, it would always have been a lot worse without the input of the CFA.
One area often overlooked is the work the CFA does promoting the use of CFA member companies to contractors.
There is good evidence being promoted of the benefits to customers, such as quality, reduction in floor failures and cost-savings – and consequently the number of contractors and clients insisting only CFA members may undertake their work, is growing. Membership therefore makes good business sense too.
I could go on, but one thing is certain – it is a privilege to be elected President of the CFA and I hope I have been able to represent the Association and its member’s well.
As I hand the baton over to the next President, it leaves me with only a big thank you to all for your support and I know I will continue promoting the flooring industry and the dedicated people working within it.
I hope to see many of you at the CFA annual general meeting at 2pm on June 3 at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull. That is when my successor as President of the CFA will be elected.
After that perhaps, in the words that once referred to Elvis Presley, people can say: Alan Gayle has left the building…
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.