Like most visionary leaders, Tom Wood, President and CEO of Floor Coverings International, had a plan that he was convinced would lead the company to excel. He knew there would be pivots along the way, but he had a vision for what needed to be done to make the company No. 1 in the industry of mobile flooring and was excited to share that vision with his whole team and the franchisees when he took the reins 16 years ago. Then in his very first presentation to the whole group, a franchisee piped up respectfully, “Tom, how do we even know you’ll be here next year to lead us? You’re the 7th president in the last 7 years and everyone says the same thing.”
FirstService Brands, one of North America’s largest providers of essential property services to residential and commercial customers, bought Floor Coverings International in 2003 and installed Tom Wood, one of the top performing leaders in the FirstService Brands family, to lead and “disrupt” the flooring brand to bring it to its current position as No. 1 in its category. The stability brought to the company and its franchisees by FirstService Brands and Wood made all the difference in the coming years.
Disrupting the Norm
After his wake-up call presentation, Wood realized that the two keys to moving the company forward were Trust and Success. Like the culture of trust, this focus on success has organically filtered its way to customers as well. The unique in-home design process and careful product selection provided by franchisees and their Design Associates to the customer, ensures the customer gets the result they want. Design Associates are trained to listen closely to hear the customer’s goals. They then recommend the right products for the home to achieve success.
To Tom Wood, that’s what real service is all about – helping people achieve their goals. “That ‘success-driven’ approach has separated us in an industry not known for great service,” he said.
Customer First Even in Challenging Times
Floor Coverings International has challenged the brick and mortar concept and changed the game of the flooring industry. That change could not have come at a better time. While it seemed that their model provided major convenience for the customer who does not want to get lost browsing in a big box store waiting for service, having to book an appointment after they get service with a possible design specialist, now the stay-at-home times have almost made their business model a necessity. Bringing your floor to your door is the new mantra. And customers are loving their experiences.
By relying on customer purchasing preferences and articulated choices, the corporate model, development potential, promotion, and publicity and merchandising, Floor Coverings International has transformed into a company that operates with superior efficacy. Its products include carpets, hardwood, laminates, stylish vinyl, ceramic tiles, floor rugs etc.
Driving Change for Better
The first mobile, shop-at-home, floor covering franchise, Floor Coverings International, was founded in 1988. It is the oldest and largest mobile floor covering franchise with franchises throughout the United States and Canada.
In 2003, FirstService Brands purchased Floor Coverings International, set up new leadership, and transformed the organization into a world-class floor product retailer whose franchises, while mobile, also operate from commercial locations and have a scalable business model. Tom Wood took over the reins of Floor Coverings International as the President and CEO in 2004.
By focusing on residences, personalized flooring, preference, design, and installation, in-house customer consulting, this business has made a significant difference from the other floor covering firms.
In the United States and Canada, Floor Coverings International has presence in over 142 locations and several prospects for ongoing growth. New units have developed during the last two years in Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio, Austin, and several other North American strategic markets. Floor Coverings International’s focus is on attracting successful owners who will take the initiative in marketing and implementing systems to grow a multimillion-dollar business.
A Floor Coverings International franchise is suitable for both major metropolitan areas as well as secondary markets. Apart from ranking #1 in the Entrepreneur 500 list, Floor Coverings International has been listed in the Bond Top 100 franchise ranking. Franchise Update Media recently presented the company with the Franchise Innovation Award for the Most Creative Customer Self-service Tool that has resulted in a 25% rise in the lead closing rate with customers.
Mitigating Challenges during the Pandemic
Floor Coverings International has undergone slow and steady franchise development per year of 12-14% for 16 years. On March 1, 2020, the company’s sales were up by 26% compared to March 2019. This came just before the pandemic hit and was followed by subsequent lockdowns. Very proactively, the Floor Coverings International leadership team studied similar models in China and Europe and took a step back to design a program that helped franchisees to slash costs during the coming tough times.
As a forward thinking and proactive franchisor whose first goal in a challenging time such as this is to help and protect their franchisees, the organization built a revolutionary CRM platform that helped the franchisees handle their client interactions, developments, and promotions in just eight weeks. And the Discovery Days event, where prospective franchisers from around the world visit Floor Coverings International’s corporate head office to learn about the franchise market opportunity, was shifted to virtual sessions.
Surpassing all the hurdles, the organization announced two months of strongest franchise growth in the last ten years! The team mastered how to interact succinctly and consistently by recognizing the best use of time and resources. Floor Coverings International has covered franchisees and their livelihoods and has set up a reinforcing framework as they look ahead to the next six months.
In the coming years Floor Coverings International will continue to grow and perfect what is now a necessary model, one that seems to be preferred by customers eager to replace or buy flooring. People have been home and are eager to re-decorate, and Floor Coverings International has perfected the method of delivering the beauty, and the advice with their Design Associates, right to the customer’s door. Everyone fully adheres to the safety measures and practices the proper hygiene steps such as regular hand-washing, social distancing, disinfecting materials, and wearing personal protective equipment.
“We foresee the next six months of the pandemic recovery as very busy and very progressive for our franchisees. We want people in our system who are sworn to put the customer first and that’s who we award our franchises to,” concluded Tom Wood.
Read full issue : The 10 Disruptive Franchises of 2020