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Here’s How Contractors Can Save Thousands

WELL what can I say, it’s an honour to be elected President of the Contract Flooring Association (CFA) and first of all I would like to express my thanks to Alan Gayle, the out-going President, for his tireless efforts over the last couple of years.
Secondly, I know it is customary to use this first article to set-out my thoughts and objectives that I would like to achieve during my tenure as President, and whilst my challenges are many – which I will come on to later – the theme I would like to base my goals around is one of growing CFA membership.
We [the CFA] have the opportunity to do this now as the flooring sector has turned a corner economically and dare I say it, there is a little more optimism out there.
However, coming out of recession is also a very dangerous time – it is very easy to over trade and not be in the strong stable position before it all went horribly wrong and not just financially.
Membership on the whole has been very resilient through the recession, which is testimony to the strength of a CFA member and their business model. It also demonstrates to some degree the benefits of CFA membership and it is on these benefits we should see membership growth.
There are many good reasons to be a CFA member. On a tangible level there is of course the things like guidance, employment help, the ability to talk to the CFA’s legal helpline, loads of business templates and such, but also, so much that is intangible.
Specifically, there is strength in numbers, a greater or stronger voice that challenges issues such as fair payment terms, health and safety, the lobbying, retentions and British Standards as well as giving mass to a construction industry sector that is skilled and a craft.
The new associate membership category is welcomed and it’s great to be presiding over its continuing growth as amongst others, it brings aspiring companies into the fold and which is hopefully a stepping stone for them to contractor membership at a later date. Good small companies have no choice really than to become bigger companies if only because good working practises brings in business and can mean contractor rather than associate contractor membership status.
The CFA is a stamp of quality and if nothing else says you meet the criteria, the high standards required to carry the logo may also win you some business – especially when more large clients such as M&S and SpecSavers are committing to only use CFA members – and what does it cost?
I sat with Richard Catt and tried to work out the benefits you would get as a CFA member, in monetary terms, and what this might cost if you sourced them independently – it proved difficult as an exact science and being extremely conservative, we looked at the raw cost of things like:
l Company details on the CFA website (and in the handbook);
Use of the CFA logo (stationary, vans, website, etc.);
Training & accreditation support;
Training & industry accreditation through FITA (discounts through membership);
Helplines (Employment, taxation, contractual, legal, health & safety, marketing);
Free credit checks;
Technical support;
Dispute resolution service;
Networking events (regional events, CFA summer ball);
Monthly email updates and regular newsletter all containing industry intelligence
Members website zone (documents & templates, Guide to Contract Flooring etc.)
Representation and lobbying at Government level
Marketing – promotion of members to the wider industry: CFJ – Our journal and industry voice (complimentary copy).
It really does run into the thousands – several thousands, in fact — and whilst I accept not all of these maybe of use to all members, there are plenty of benefits there to make membership worthwhile and more than value-for-money.
There’s a lot of other key issues out there I’d like to tackle, but as I sit here it strikes me that I’m actually preaching to the converted. The majority of readers of the CFJ and of this article will already be professional in the true sense of the word and will be individuals and companies that place quality and excellence of service above all else.
I would like to take the message wider to be heard by those sectors that impact on ours – such as tackling site conditions with main contractors. I fear this will be the biggest challenge for my CFA Presidency.
Issue wise, I am sure there are many more subjects that I’ll get my teeth into over the next couple of years, but one thing I am sure of – there really hasn’t ever been a better time than now to be a CFA member. Please get in touch if you’d like more information about joining us!

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.