BNP Media’s Market Research Division, in conjunction with Floor Trends, recently conducted a Salary and Benefits Study in order to get a little insight about the salary structure of flooring professionals, to better understand the current salary and benefits being received by people in the business and how they may have changed in the past year. Specifically, the study seeks to identify:
• Estimated annual salaries of flooring professionals.
• Benefits received as part of their compensation package and if the benefits are fully or partially paid by the employer.
• Percentage of individuals in the industry who hold professional certifications/designations, and
• The types of projects that industry professionals work on.
The study went out to a little more than 8,100 active and qualified Floor Trendssubscribers. Some of the questions requested respondents to enter a response; other than minor editing for readability, the responses are presented as entered.
Before we get into it, let’s put some commonsense items out there to build from. Money is all relative; a dollar is a dollar anywhere, but where you happen to be at any given moment will go a long way in determining how much that dollar is worth. Someone making, say, $50,000 a year who lives in Fort Smith, Ark. will have a much different take on the value of that figure than a resident of Manhattan. Just as with real estate, it’s all about location, location, location.
Something else to keep in mind: the study wasn’t developed with the intention of telling anyone what they shouldbe making. Unless you know for certain that he’s got a really, really good sense of humor, strolling into your boss’s office and proclaiming, “Hey, Floor Trendssays I should be getting paid 30 percent more a year!” ranks somewhere between chainsaw juggling and whitening your teeth with Clorox on the list of really bad ideas.
Alright then, let’s get this party started. Regionally speaking, the study’s respondents break down as follows: 10 percent reside in the Northeast; 35 percent in the South; 37 percent in the Midwest and 18 percent out West. When asked to describe their business, 64 percent said “Flooring Dealer” while 36 percent answered “Flooring Contractor.” A whopping 70 percent say they do both commercial and residential – primarily residential – work; only 3 percent say they work exclusively in one segment or the other.
A third of respondents service areas with populations over 1 million, while 45 percent work in areas with between 25,000 and 500,000 residents. More than half are the president/owner of their company, with a mean age of 54. Fifty-six percent work in operations with between two and nine employees full-time employees; only 11 percent have 25 or more full-time employees (Chart 1). Forty-three percent claim to have more than 30 years’ experience in the floor covering industry (just 3 percent have been in the business less than 5 years.)
Educationally speaking, respondents are rather evenly spread out: 33 percent have a bachelor’s degree, 24 percent attained an associate’s degree, and 39 percent a high school diploma; only 4 percent claim a master’s degree or higher.
Professional certifications and affiliations, though, are much more lopsided: 82 percent of respondents do not hold any industry-specific certifications, and just 31 percent are members of one or more industry associations (Chart 2).
So what does all this mean, as far as the bottom line goes? Don’t know. But what we do know is that the mean salary for study respondents is $97,092, with a median of $65,000. A full third of respondents fall into the $25,001-$50,000 range, with another 25 percent fitting into the $50,001-$75,000 category (Chart 3).
The economic challenges of the past few years have not let the industry slip by unscathed. Fifty-five percent of respondents said that, compared to their annual gross salary in 2010, their 2011 salary stayed pretty much the same; 27 percent answered “lower” or “much lower.” When asked why, the no. 1 answer was “the economy.” Debts, budget cuts and increasing insurance costs were also cited.
Speaking of insurance, taking a quick look at the benefits being doled out in the business, the range is far and wide. Benefits are often overlooked or outright ignored when a comprehensive compensation package is being considered (Chart 4), but that shouldn’t be the case; skyrocketing insurance costs and other factors make a solid benefits package quite attractive to potential employees. Sixty-three percent of respondents say their company offers fully or partially paid vacation time. Forty-five percent are offered health insurance, and 39 percent receive some form of paid sick leave. At the other end of the spectrum, just 19 percent are offered vision insurance, while dental insurance is a company option for 20 percent.
The Floor Trends Market Study Series is intended to help manufacturers, retailers and other industry professionals better understand their markets and, more importantly, each other. This article is a snapshot of a comprehensive study examining trends and opinions in and of the floor covering industry. The conclusions are based on the opinions, preferences and behaviors of professionals who agreed to participate in the survey.
The survey was conducted and findings were compiled by BNP Market Research, a division of BNP Media.
Jeffrey Stouffer is editor in chief of Floor Trends.
You can reach him at