At TISE 2019, I had the opportunity to moderate a panel on finding and maintaining qualified installers. I was joined by Julie Judd of Master Craft Floors, a commercial installation firm with locations in Detroit and Las Vegas; Joe Madden of Carpet World, a retailer in Paramas, N.J.; and John McGrath of INSTALL.

Each panelist had their own take on what has caused the installation crisis and how to fix it, and I came away from this panel feeling uplifted that there are solutions available—it’s just going to take a lot of grassroots networking. The industry will have to continue to band together to promote installation as a valuable trade to our future workforce. 

“Years ago, all of our installers were our employees and we supplied the vans and the insurance and the gas and all that,” Madden said. “These types of installers have now gotten much older. The installers that we have today, they are people that moved into the country. They’re younger, they’re bringing their kids because there’s a value to it. Years ago, we used to pay our installers on Friday, and we wouldn’t see them until Tuesday. These guys aren’t like that anymore. The trend has been talented young men that don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t curse and show up to work—and work really hard at their trade.”

Madden has come up with a unique approach to developing his installation crews. He teamed up with two other “friendly competitors” in his area to share talent. 

“We all came together, and we share all of our guys,” he said. “They run a successful business, they treat their employees right, they want their installers to treat their customers correctly. And because of that, we’ve got a constant flow of business, whether it’s through me or the other two.” 

A highlight of the situation is watching a younger generation hone their craft. 

“A lot of these guys are bringing their children into what they’re doing and they’re craftsman, not just installers,” Madden said. “They are teaching their kids how to hand seam very high-end materials. It’s not just kicking carpet in or slapping down wood. It’s the higher end of the spectrum that these kids are really proud of and I’m more than happy and willing to bring their children in and teach. I just don’t know how long that will last.”

Read more about the insights these experts shared on, and tell us, where are you finding qualified installers? How are you keeping them? Drop me a line at