Efficiency is key as everyone prepares to enter a new year filled with uncertainty. Due to a lack of skilled labor, manufacturers are finding ways to innovate flooring that goes down faster and easier; technology developers are helping you work smarter, not harder; and digital marketing professionals can help you attract more customers. Let’s take a look at the technology that will be available in 2024 to help you be more successful.
Ballin Knows Best
Ken Ballin, owner, Skyro Floors, and Jason Potts, owner, RIC Flooring, developed the first-ever AI-driven flooring installation chatbot called “Ballin Knows Best.” The chatbot was designed with the beginning flooring installer in mind to answer any question related to flooring installation, flooring products, flooring standards, tools and equipment on the jobsite. However, it can be used by anyone—retailers, specifiers, contractors, inspectors—anywhere.
The inspiration for the chatbot was born out of the need for quick but accurate installation information, regarding products, tools, application methods, testing requirements, etc. by both Ballin and Potts when they first started their businesses.
How It Works
“Ballin Knows Best” is available online and through an app. When accessing the online version, you are given a chat box in the lower right-hand corner where you can type in your question. The app version simply opens directly to a chat box. Once you have entered your question, hit enter and wait for a response.
An example of a question might be, “What trowel do I need to apply Taylor Adhesives’ Dynamic under resilient sheet?” Perhaps you need to know what relative humidity is acceptable in the substrate you are working with. Maybe a specific tool is required that you do not have in your toolbox. All you have to do is ask.
“Ballin Knows Best” now offers a mentor feature where flooring installation pros are available to offer advice based on their knowledge and years of experience. On the site, click on the “mentors” button at the top of the page. Scroll through the list to find the expert you need to answer your technical questions and allow for direct interaction.
This app-based solution provides end users with 3D interactive digital instructions, offering detailed, visual guidance through every step of the installation or repair process. The platform is available to anyone—architects, designers, installers, contractors, retailers and DIYers. For the flooring industry specifically, flooring manufacturers can utilize it to update instruction manuals that are used to inform employees or contractors about new processes and products, providing content to Bilt’s database of information.
How It Works
End users simply login to the app and search the Bilt database for the product instructions needed. They are then able to manipulate the 3D images in the same way you would a photo image on your phone by using your fingers to zoom, rotate and pinch the image to see different parts of the 3D image in detail. The platform is designed to reduce wasted time on the jobsite searching for instructions or thumbing through paper versions that aren’t very detailed. It could be a valuable tool for a flooring installer helper and/or apprentice to complete tasks that you don’t have the time to explain.
Blitzz is app-free video support software that allows project managers, sales and field service teams, customer service, inspectors and support techs to remotely evaluate on-site progress, troubleshoot problems and share updates in real-time. It helps cut operating costs by reducing travel back and forth to the jobsite. It allows for early site preview for installations and consultations. Sales teams can utilize it to assess a prospective customer’s space, provide more accurate quotes and share ideas.
Blitzz can be used as a standalone platform or integrated into your call center platforms or CRMS or Field Service Management Software. It currently offers native integration with Salesforce, Genesys, ServiceNow, Zendesk and Guidewire.
How It Works
A project manager sends an on-site worker a link via a SMS text message. Once clicked, the project manager can see live video streaming through the worker’s camera, allowing them to visually assess the worksite and collaborate via an interactive video call.
Tools are built into the software that allow the user to point to specific areas that are visible within the video frame. For example, the user, in this case the project manager, through the use of the pointer tool, can request that the on-site worker get closer to an area on the subfloor.
The user has full control of the live video call and can take screenshots and extract text from product labels and use that to make notes within the call. Others can be added to the call to collaborate. A chat feature is also available. Blitzz features geotagging so the user can track an inspection in real time.
Flooring Pros Marketing
Flooring Pros Marketing (FPM) works with residential and commercial flooring businesses to help scale the business through a tailored digital marketing plan. FPM leverages proven strategies and technology to drive more leads and sales to their flooring partners.
FPM can create modern websites, lead generation ad campaigns and SEO campaigns and has developed a custom lead management and marketing automation platform for flooring stores to help convert more leads into customers and increase the value from existing customers.
How It Works
Reach out to FPM to schedule a discovery call to see if you're a right fit. Next, you will work with FPM to determine your growth goals. Once the goals are established, FPM will then present a solution for your business. Then, they will create a custom strategy to bring you return-on-investment (ROI) based on where you are and where you want to be. Finally, they will help you launch campaigns and customize your marketing automation artificial intelligence (AI) pipeline.
Geared toward flooring installers, contractors and retailers, Go Carrera’s cloud-based labor management platform is designed to match each with the right job or contractor, simplify the bidding and payment process, and now users can access Go Carrera’s latest feature, Private Connections.
Private Connections was developed to allow flooring retailers and commercial flooring contractors to work exclusively with their installers and crews without the need to utilize the Go Carrera Public Network.
How It Works
Flooring Installers and subcontractors create a free account where they are then assigned a “Hammer Rating.” This is GoCarrera’s proprietary rating system that factors in years of experience, trainings and certifications to then assign flooring installers a value from zero to five, providing a flooring contractor or retailer a snapshot of that installer’s abilities and qualifications.
Users can access the Work Order Management System that matches installers with jobs where they can accept, decline or negotiate each work order. Retailers can create an account and search for contractors in their area or across the country.
Ad hoc invoicing allows installers to create an invoice and accept credit card payments without a work order. Once the invoice is created, the customer receives an email notification where they can pay with Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
Private Connections is available to all Plus Private and Premium subscribers. This allows existing retailer and contractor relationships to continue doing business without participating in the public network all while allowing a company and their installation crews to use the digital labor management and install action workflow tools within Go Carrera.
CeraGrout is designed to look like real grout without the installation and maintenance challenges of real tile. CeraGrout requires minimal tools, eliminates the need for grout and ultimately, reduces installation time.
How It Works
Flooring installers simply click the planks together in the desired pattern. The CeraGrout comes pre-attached to the flooring, and no special materials are required to install it. The product is available in any color.
Kojo is an all-in-one procurement system designed for commercial contractors. Users can view product availability, pricing, specifications and photos of specific building materials, including flooring, from preferred vendors, request quotes, issue purchase orders (PO), bill vendors along with a myriad of other functions to help your project move along smoothly.
Kojo launched two major products that can help flooring installers/contractors:
Kojo Tool Tracking: This product provides field, warehouse and purchasing teams clear visibility into a tool’s condition, location and current assignee, which is critical for getting projects built on time and on budget.
AI-powered Kojo Intelligence Layer: This helps contractors efficiently find project-appropriate materials at optimal prices, identify American-made products and easily find more sustainable alternatives.
How It Works
First, you select the product needed. You are then guided through the specifications like dimensions, color, thickness. Add the product or products to your cart. You have now opened a requisition document where you can convert it to a request for quotes. Vendors enter their pricing details and through Kojo, purchasing can review the quotes. Kojo compares each line item’s price and availability.
Next, you select the vendors you are going to go with and issue a PO directly in Kojo. During this process, those in the field can monitor the status of the order any time using the Kojo app and even receive the order when it comes in.
Kojo uses the vendor’s PDF to auto-fill the billing data. It is capable of identifying any billing errors by matching the invoice, PO and delivery. Any identified issues can be sent back to the vendor with one click.
The system offers direct integrations for the most common contractor accounting systems like QuickBooks.
One Click Contractor
One Click Contractor (OCC) is home remodeling estimating software developed to help contractors streamline the sales process with everything from bidding to estimating to contracts to payment. The all-in-one platform is available in an app.
How It Works
Use the built-in measurement tool to upload accurate measurements. Create a digital job folder and gather images and documents for that specific project in one place. You can then use OCC to create an estimate quickly.
Users can utilize the two-way video conferencing feature within the app to discuss the project as well as the presentation feature to showcase your design ideas with the homeowners.
Create proposals utilizing the quote information with literally one click. Clients can sign within the app or via email. Payments can be made through the app, and if you offer financing, you can include that as well.
Välinge 5G NXT
Välinge took their 5G Fold Down technology and developed 5G NXT that features a more sustainable insert, making it easier to install, remove and reinstall flooring. The upgraded insert is made from biomass-balanced materials with a 75% lower carbon footprint. The flooring can be installed, removed and reinstalled elsewhere, reducing the environmental impact of wood flooring.
How It Works
The flooring planks can now be dismantled piece-by-piece without the need to remove an entire row. Now, you simply tap the panels you wish to remove and pull them out one at a time.
Wagner Meters Smart Logger V2
Wagner Meters has released an upgraded version of its Smart Logger. The Smart Logger V2, used in conjunction with the Wagner Sentry app, allows users to set custom time intervals to capture ambient readings, enabling them to monitor trends and fluctuations. Users can set alerts for any readings that surpass predefined thresholds.
How It Works
The V2, like the original Smart Logger, monitors ambient temperature and humidity conditions, sending data to the Wagner Sentry app via BlueTooth connectivity. This allows users to proactively identify and address issues before they become costly. Using the data, you can generate reports within the app that you can share with your clients.
The upgraded V2 offers an improved user-friendly interface that makes setup and accessing the app easier. It is much more accurate with faster equilibration. The V2 can be paired with the Floor Sentry, the embedded wood floor data logger, allowing you to view the ambient and in-floor conditions simultaneously in the app.