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Are you being served?

As the time for membership renewals approaches, Hamish MacGregor runs through some of the ways the CFA benefits contractors.

I’M very confident flooring contractors get great service from the CFA – and I speak as a flooring contractor myself – for 37 years. The flooring industry is actually very well served by the CFA on many levels, in terms of day-to-day business support and also when it comes to lobbying and support on specific issues – the kind of issues we’ve become all too familiar with over the past two years.

I mention this at this particular time because it’s around now that many members will be considering their membership renewals for the coming year. For many members, I imagine this decision will be a no-brainer, but that doesn’t mean we’re complacent here at the CFA. So when we spoke to both members and non-members at the end of last year, it was very reassuring to get a lot of positive feedback.

It’s worth reminding ourselves of some of the headline findings from that very thorough piece of work that involved speaking to 115 different businesses.

  • CFA members really value the CFA logo and many join for this. But they also really value being part of a key trade body.
  • Many members also value their listing in the CFA directories
  • 60% of members surveyed recognise that they gain business through CFA membership
  • Members feel business support helplines, free documents and templates, the networking and industry representation and monthly information updates are all important benefits we offer
  • 82% of CFA members feel CFA membership is good value for money. Currently £687 + VAT per year for a contractor.
  • 90% of members feel we represent the industry well and recognise us as the voice of the industry
  • A very high proportion of CFA members rely on us as their only trade body.

For contractors I think the CFA’s work on industry issues is particularly valuable. Running a flooring contractor business is undoubtedly becoming increasingly complex. If I think back to the regulatory environment when I started out in business, it was far removed from what we have today.

Being aware of the changes and requirements coming down the track towards us from government and other quarters is definitely one of the challenges of running a business in today’s climate.

Health & safety, sustainable sourcing, packaging directives, Covid-19 regs, employment regulations, waste management and recycling and a host of other things – it all adds up to a lot for a flooring contractor to take on board, when all you’re trying to do is get a floor laid!

I’ve always found the CFA to be an excellent source of information and advice about what is about to hit us – and I’d ask members to use the services of the fantastic CFA team more often – they’re there to help solve your issues, no matter how large or small.

Normally the new regs or client requirements that come along are manageable, and some of them actually make business better and run more efficiently, but it’s invaluable to be able to prepare for what is coming – and sometimes to carry out lobbying activity in support of the interests of the sector.

An example of this was the recognition of floorlaying as a skilled occupation under occupation code 5322. This allowed floorlaying to appear on the government skilled occupations list and therefore made it possible for prospective overseas employees to gain visas to work in the UK as floorlayers.

No individual company would have been able to achieve this. It was only made possible by the CFA, working with its partner Build UK to put pressure on government to reassess an earlier decision.
Another example during the past year related to training, when the CFA achieved a notable success in lobbying CITB to reinstate funding for textile and resilient apprenticeships in our sector, after this funding had been under threat following a review earlier in the year. Again securing a reverse of the earlier decision was only possible owing to the collective actions of the CFA and in particular our training manager Shaun Wadsworth.

It’s not surprising, in view of these and plenty of other examples, that industry representation scores so highly as a top benefit of CFA membership. This is something I’d urge all members to be mindful of when they are considering their membership renewals. Membership is partly about providing the business services to help your company run more profitably today. But it’s also about securing the future of our industry for tomorrow.
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