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The long climb to the top

CFJ interviews Dave Wilson about how he established himself in the flooring industry and founded Midlands Flooring Limited.

DAVE Wilson fell into the flooring industry through his dad after working with him from the age of 15. His dad worked all his life in the tool industry by trade and wanted to market floor-sanders to his clients, so he sent Dave to complete the Bona course in Milton Keynes.

Dave learned how to sand a floor and service the machines on the course which he enjoyed and when he was back on the tool line counter, many customers asked him how to use the machines.
They saw how young Dave was and offered to hire out the machinery for him to do the work in return for experience.

One early job Dave completed was for a local church in Lutterworth where the photos of the finished job were posted in the local newspaper. This inspired him to get into the industry because he was talented and there was more money in it.

Dave noticed there weren’t many sanders and sealers, so he studied a few courses in timber flooring and installation. During the timber boom in 2004, 2005 and 2006, everyone was having laminate flooring fitted and an advert in the job centre asked for laminate floorlayers for an agency.

Dave applied and met the director of the company in West Bromwich but discovered the agency had made an error and mistakenly left an advert up for a laminate fitter rather than a commercial floorlayer. The director saw how young Dave was and offered to train him up to be an apprentice commercial floorlayer.

The most interesting thing he learned, which many fitters struggle with, is the cap-and-cove work. One colleague he worked with was a talented floorlayer and taught him how to weld and cap-and-cove correctly. Dave is glad he learned that aspect of flooring because the skill is needed more in the industry. He’s seen many floorlayers install the flooring, but they don’t know the technical requirements that must be met.

When Dave started, he trained with a flooring company in West Bromwich. After he learned everything and was declined a pay rise from his boss, he saw an advert on the trade counter for more money, so he applied for the job.

The company struggled and went out of business, so his girlfriend at the time (now his wife and joint business partner) suggested he go self-employed and bought him a van. Because his dad owned the tool line company, he knew many builders and they contacted Dave when they were looking for a floorlayer because they were let down.

Dave installed the flooring and started to supply fitters for the builders.

Only a young lad at the time, Dave worked all hours, and hired two people to help and because he did a good job for his customers, they passed on his name on to other surveyors. Suddenly he was working directly for 10 builders, doing supply-and-fit.

He had to hire more people and the company grew from there. One company in his hometown went out of business so all the floorlayers rang Dave for work, which was good because it kept them in work, and he needed employees.

Dave used to market himself as D W Flooring (Dave Wilson Flooring), but because the company was growing, the accountant told him to become a limited company. Dave wanted to change the name to D W Flooring Limited, but the name was already taken so the accountant suggested MIDLANDS FLOORING LIMITED and Dave agreed.

Today, he wishes he never called his business that owing to there being many companies with similar names. The company has sometimes been subject to negative incorrect rumours/incorrect information owing to confusion with other companies of similar names. Dave has for that reason been contemplating a rebrand in the near future.

The company travels for the right job nationwide and to Northern Ireland but most of its work is in Birmingham and surrounding cities.

It provides everything from subfloor prep, LVT, carpets, vinyl, cap-and-cove, rubber, tiling, and hygiene wall cladding but 85% of its business is commercial flooring. The company has recently completed many LVT and carpet tile jobs in the industry and they mainly carry out work in offices, shopfitting, schools, hospitals, newbuild care-homes and industrial locations such as Jaguar and Land Rover plants.

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