David Zack understands flooring inspection. With a background that includes running two carpet cleaning businesses for about a decade, authoring a well-received guide about carpet claims and moving full-time into inspection, he knows both the highs and lows of the job. Through his website, FloorDetective.com, he translates the most common flooring failures into easily comprehensible summaries that users can access through a subscription. Inspectors can even drop the write-ups and photos from these summaries into their own reports.

Now, Zack is ready to branch out the Floor Detective brand. He’s relaunching the website to be even more user-friendly and turning Floor Detective into a franchise opportunity for inspectors. To incentivize them, he’s offering a tablet app exclusively to franchisees that will help them complete their inspection reports even faster.

Zack sees the growth of his brand as a natural evolution. “After I came out with The Carpet Book—Claims Guide in 2010, I started getting requests asking if I was going to come out with a similar book for hard surfaces. I decided against writing another book, and that’s when the idea for FloorDetective.com came about. I wanted to deal with the most common issues that we inspectors see on a daily basis. In 2012, we had our first version of the site available for subscription. Today, we have around 2,500 subscribers, including about 2,000 Flooring America, Carpet One and ProSource stores.”

He says the biggest draw of the site is the flooring claims encyclopedia where subscribers can access information including “the causes [of flooring failures], what the lab tests are, what the minimum industry standards say, and photos so they can visually match them up to what they’re seeing.” The information was developed over the last four years with input from industry experts including FCI Editorial Director Jon Namba, FCI columnist Roy Reichow, the International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association’s Robert Varden, Claudia Lezell of Inspections Too, and more.

Zack believes the claims encyclopedia is also a boon to flooring dealers. “Dealers don’t usually have good access to the problems, causes and cures out there. They see some of these problems maybe once or twice a year; I see them every week. We’re really able to help them understand what the cause of the issue is so they can talk intelligently to their customer about it. When they’re filing a claim with the manufacturer, they can really be part of the solution through their understanding of the issue.”

Additionally, anyone—whether homeowner, retailer or manufacturer—can access the site’s Find an Inspector search feature, which currently lists more than 700 inspectors from around the United States, Canada, England and Australia. “We give inspectors a free listing on the site. If they want a listing plus access to all the technical pages and enhancements, they can subscribe. This also gives them greater visibility in searches,” he says.

Becoming a franchise
Zack has two partners in the franchise part of his business: inspector Mike Harde of Harde Floorensics, as vice president of training and franchise development; and Frank Pierce, a financial professional with a manufacturing background, as vice president of finance. To train franchisees, Zack has been working with industry experts to develop a two-and-a-half week program that will cover the inspection of carpet, hardwood, laminate, resilient and the subfloor/substrate. “We’re working on a tile inspection training manual as well,” he adds.

He says the report writing app, which will be offered exclusively to franchisees, will make it even easier for them to perform their jobs. “They can go into a home with their iPad or tablet device, and touchscreen their choices from a list. Now, I still do 70 to 90 inspections a month. One of the biggest pet peeves of the job is working on Saturday and Sunday to write the reports for all those inspections. You never feel like you’re caught up. With this app, inspectors will be able to get their report writing done much more quickly.”

Zack notes that becoming a franchisee is designed to elevate professional inspectors above their competition. “When someone calls a Floor Detective inspector, whether that someone works for a mill, a retailer or is a consumer, they will know they’re getting a caliber of inspector that makes them the cream of the crop. There is nothing else in the industry like this.”

For more information, visit FloorDetective.com.