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HomeCFA CommentI know our company benefits from CFA membership – so should yours!

I know our company benefits from CFA membership – so should yours!

If you’re considering becoming a CFA member or are considering renewing your CFA membership this month, please remember – and you’re probably aware anyway – that CFA membership will help your business in a number of very real ways, says Carl Harper.

ONE of the reasons why I am proud to be involved with the CFA is that I believe we achieve more together than we do in isolation, acting as individual businesses. Amongst other things the CFA influences training and apprenticeships, is working on the skills and labour crisis, develops standards and best practices for installations, leads the industry in our understanding of sustainability and plays a positive role lobbying with Government and other bodies on issues that are of concern to the industry as a whole. So, it is a good thing to be involved in and I am happy to support it – and have been since I joined Westcotes Flooring as the MD of the London arm of our business five years ago.

This type of consideration will I imagine be among the thoughts going through many members’ minds as they consider their membership renewals this month.

But at the end of the day we all run businesses, and the decisions we make day-in day-out have to be firmly rooted in the financial needs of our businesses. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be running businesses for very long.

So if you are a member considering your CFA membership renewal this month please remember – and you are probably aware anyway – that CFA membership will help your business in a number of very real ways. Although currently President I am primarily a member of the CFA and I have a great enthusiasm for it mainly because of the way it helps our business to create a better pipeline, generate more leads and in turn win more business.

We use the CFA technical documents and the excellent Guide to Contract Flooring to help my clients understand the specifications we are giving them. The separate sections of the Guide are a members’ benefit and available in the members area of the website. To give an example, we had a very specific case concerning underfloor heating with a particular client, and these documents were absolutely critical to helping make our case for commissioning the heating before we laid some very expensive timber. In such situations, if things go really pear-shaped then members also have the confidence of the CFA legal helpline.

Just recently, over the past winter, we have used the Winter Warning Campaign to great effect and we’ve improved site conditions for our fitters and other trades working on site. I know this initiative has been well-received by the trade, as I’ve seen the CFA signs posted on notice boards on site, where we have not even secured the project yet.

It’s probably just worth being reminded of some of the key membership benefits. With all these on offer, filling in that renewal form has really got to be a self-evident advantage for any flooring contractor:0

  • FREE use of the CFA logo in all your marketing, including stationery, vehicles, premises and website, forming a visible presence which has been shown to open doors and lead to increased business.
  • FREE CFA website directory listing – again leading to increased business in the experience of many members.
  • FREE credit checks – up to 20 per month.
  • FREE dispute resolution services – site inspection and report to assist members in negotiating a resolution to installation related complaints.
  • FREE guidance notes and industry templates.
  • FREE technical and business support helplines.
  • FREE business listing in the CFA Members’ Handbook, which is circulated annually with CFJ magazine to over 7,000 readers.
  • Advice on all aspects of training, including qualifications and apprenticeships.
  • Support in gaining accreditations, including H&S accreditations, as well as ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001 certification.
  • Discounted insurance.
  • Various FREE CFA publications, including the Members’ Handbook, Guide to Contract Flooring, Training Guide, Sustainability Guide.
  • FREE annual subscription to CFJ magazine.

The social side of CFA membership has also been very important, not just because it’s enjoyable, but because events such as the Autumn Ball and the Annual Golf Days have also helped us as a business to strengthen and expand our supply chains. There have been a number of instances where we have been able to set up some really good relationships for the CFA that have even included bringing on a number of new members – both contractors and manufacturers.

These types of relationships have often been formed on the back of conversations where I have been able to show to my contact some benefits that the CFA offers, and which apply to the work that we are doing together. Without everything that CFA does on training and apprenticeships, our industry would be much poorer. Along with courses from FITA and CFA apprenticeship delivery, these are benefits that companies can access and as members they can gain a 15% discount.

Because I am a big supporter of training and apprenticeships, I have become a judge for the CFA’s Apprentice of the Year Competition and I am also happy to sit on the committee that is reviewing the Apprenticeship Standard. Recently I became a STEM Ambassador to support CFA in helping to bring more floor layers into the industry.

The CFA helps with best practice in pretty much all areas of operation in the contract flooring sector. It is easy to see how CFA membership becomes a virtuous circle of clear financial and operational benefit to member companies and how we then get involved to help develop this support even further for the benefit of others and the industry as a whole.

It was very pleasingly summed up for me on a job recently where we worked hard to win a significant contract. When we asked the client where they had initially identified Westcotes, they immediately said it was through the CFA directory – a powerful win for us made possible by our CFA membership!

These are all good reasons to renew or join the CFA – why not follow the President’s lead!
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