Texan Floor started as a labor shop in 1987 doing work for other flooring contractors. A few years later, after another competitor purchased one of the companies Texan Floor was working for, our services were no longer needed and the decision was made to become a full-service dealer. At that time, the decision was extremely difficult. However, with very little capital and credit, the decision was the correct one. Our first year as a full-service commercial floor covering contractor, Texan Floor was named one of Houston’s 100 fastest growing companies. In fact, we made it two years in a row. Now in our 29th year, Texan Floor has continued to grow, selling and installing more than $175 million of commercial floor covering.
As a second-generation floor covering professional, I started sweeping floors at the age of 10 and learned the industry from the ground up. Most importantly, I learned one thing from my Father: your handshake always needs to be honored. After high school and until the age of 20, I worked installing floorcovering for the family business. But, with the severe recession of the early 70s, the business had close. So, with pride, I volunteered for the United States Air Force hoping to serve my country and afterwards use the GI Bill to return to college. After being honorably discharged, I applied and was accepted to the University of Cincinnati, eventually graduating with honors with a BA in economics and a master’s in industrial relations.
Guiding Principles at Texan Floor
It’s simple. Treat other people how you would like to be treated. The person who is entrusting me with their business most of the time reports to others. With schedules to meet, no one wants to hear why the project did not go as planned. With our clients’ reputations on the line, it is important that the project is completed efficiently, correctly and on schedule. It would be devastating to our team if a person lost his or her job because of the poor performance of our company. We take each and every project seriously—no matter how big or small. This might sound hokey, but when you come from nothing, you understand how hard it is to make it in today’s competitive workplace. You need to respect the personal struggle of others.
When I left college to come to Texas, I had $800 in my pocket towing my Ford Pinto behind my U-Haul truck. I understand how important a job is to those working hard. Doing our best to eliminate mistakes, putting ourselves in our client’s shoes and ensuring that we are doing our best at every step of the project continues to help our business grow. We live by this philosophy every day, with every client.
Approaching Business Today
At Texan Floor, our guiding principles are timeless. However, that doesn’t mean that these same principles do not need to be consistently emphasized each and every day. I encourage my team to complete a project and make certain that the customer is satisfied before moving onto the next project. More importantly, if a mistake is made, we correct it as quickly as possible with all the parties involved so that at the end of the day the client is satisfied with the results. We understand mistakes happen, no matter how carefully you approach the project. However, at the start of the process of resolving the problem, you want the client to think of you as an insurance policy and be glad that you are on the team rather than someone else. Building trust and having the client know you will be there to get the job done, or if necessary, take care of any problem or issue that may arise.
Bolstering Our Business Approach with Best Practices
Communication is first and foremost. We set the tone for clear communication by communicating to our clients that we understand the scope and requirements of the project. From there ongoing communication during the project with timely client updates is key.
Communication goals at Texan Floor are approached in several ways. First, we begin with a line-by-line detailed proposal with attached color-coded floor plans so that our clients can see exactly what we intend to install and where we intend to install it. Next, we use video email to introduce our salesmen to our clients along with our detailed bid proposal. This helps kick off a closer, more personal relationship with our clients.
During the life of the project, we communicate with the client through SiteFotos. This is a cloud-based app that allows us to share photos as the project progresses. SiteFotos also acts as a quality control tool to monitor each job on a daily basis. Each of our project managers, project quality control specialists and installers has this app on their mobile device to keep daily track of the project. Our project managers and project inspectors have Surface Pros, which are used at all job meetings. These are connected to our server via Outlook 365 and can access communication examples such as emails, proposals and project layouts. If questions arise, our team can immediately access the latest up-to-date information.
Recently we joined the Fuse Alliance network. This is another way we will be able to bolster our business and increase opportunities by expanding our relationships with other members and being exposed to new technologies and advancements in the flooring industry.
Texan Floor as an Employee-Owned Company
At Texan Floor, each employee is empowered to facilitate improvement. We ask each employee owner to be Engaged to Save. We take pride in promoting from within. For example, one of our younger, next-generation employees started with us as a receptionist. Today, she is being trained on Calladus, our computer estimation program. By giving her this professional opportunity, she can continue to do better for her family and future. We also presented an opportunity to one of our younger next-generation employees about advancing from an installer to being trained as a project manager. These are just some of the examples of engaging and empowering our employees so that they are vested in our business.
In addition to developing the career paths of our employees, we foster inspiration through communication and teamwork. We have three generations of people in our company; each generation has different approaches and ideas to contribute to the overall health and future of our company. To keep our team inspired and communication open, each generation is divided into three groups. They meet regularly to discuss the company’s future—by quarter, year and an overall five-year basis. Each group elects a spokesperson who meets on a quarterly basis to plan the path forward for Texan Floor. This has been a successful planning approach, which has resulted in fostering teamwork, relevant thinking and creates a platform for all of our employees to bring fresh idea, which ultimately helps to better serve our clients and other employees.
Earlier in the article, I explained I was just a high school graduate laying carpet for a living and looking for an opportunity to improve myself. This theme has always been one of the reasons that Texan Floor has had the sustained growth over these 29 years. Our guiding principles, opportunity advancements, highly engaged employees and meaningful customer relationships have resulted in the success and longevity of our business. In fact, in the last couple of years, we have had four people who have worked for me for over 25 years retire. I never thought that these amazing employees would retire before me.