Angelique Victor, Operations Manager at Florstore OnTrend, says that a few unique challenges that the flooring market currently faces are quality of service, tightening deadlines, pricing as well as undercutting in the industry.

“Being able to monitor the quality of service that our installers deliver is a huge focus for Florstore OnTrend,” says Angelique.

The company makes sure that they invest in quality manpower by hiring project managers who are on-site during the course of their installations. While many flooring companies face the challenge of finding quality installers, it’s equally difficult to find skilled, experienced project managers.

Project management is a unique skill and within the design context, you need to make sure that the project manager you are hiring understands the design process, the client’s vision as well as product manufacturer specifications. It is for this reason that we have full-time project managers and a quantity surveyor at Florstore,” says Angelique.

One of the other challenges that Angelique has identified is that designers are increasingly pressed to find the products that they need on time. Many times, says Angelique, a designer will find a distinctive and eye-catching product online, but sourcing the product and bringing it to South Africa isn’t always feasible in terms of deadlines.

“To import niche flooring products from overseas, you need a reasonable lead time. It often happens that designers start to source the products well in advance of their deadlines, but for reasons outside their control these deadlines change and they aren’t able to deliver. Unfortunately, this isn’t always a challenge that can be overcome because designers need to be flexible if their clients change deadlines,” adds Angelique.

Undercutting among flooring installers not only leads to inferior quality work, but it also impacts the industry as a whole.

“There is much undercutting in the flooring market and the result is that at times installations may seem unprofitable. The downturn in the economy means that people are willing to work at a lower rate, but you can only cut your costs so much before it starts to negatively impact your work and make your business model unsustainable,” says Angelique.

“At Florstore OnTrend, for example, we have higher overheads because of our well-positioned showroom and the additional services we offer our clients, but fortunately this also comes with a number of benefits. Thanks to our great relationships with suppliers, we are able to negotiate prices and are often able to obtain favourable discounts on larger projects. Our partners are also willing to become involved in projects, provide training and visit clients on-site. So while being a larger installer or supplier might come at a price, there are always definite advantages,” concludes Angelique.

For more information, contact Florstore OnTrend on +27 (21) 439 6685 or via www.florstore.co.za.