Owners Katie and Jim Fitzgerald are a “Miami Merger,” a term bestowed upon students of Miami University who meet at the school and then go off and get married, to each other. After graduating from Miami with master’s degrees, the two built a life in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area.
Katie joined Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati as an executive, where she worked for the next 22 years, first in Information Technology and then in Human Resources. Jim continued on as a technical writer, documenting computer interfaces and formalizing various IT consultant methodologies. In 2004, Jim left the workforce to care for the couple’s two sons.
By 2011, Katie was ready for a new challenge. She had always enjoyed upgrading her living spaces and after a careful search, decided to use her design interest to help homeowners find the floor of their dreams. A major reason for choosing flooring is the outstanding nature of Floor Coverings International, Inc.
Floor Coverings International is rated by Bond’s rating agency as one of the top 100 franchises in the country. With more than 24 years in business, the franchise has a broad and deep knowledge of flooring, excellent relationships with the best flooring manufacturers, and an unparalleled collection of the best choices in every major flooring category. With over 100 franchise units across the United States and Canada, the franchise has serviced more than a quarter million customers.
Floor Coverings International is owned by FirstService Brands, which owns nine franchise chains, all in the home services industry.
Entering business for the first time, Katie and Jim were convinced that the long-term track record and demonstrated expertise of the two parent franchise organizations would give them the knowledge they needed to achieve success in her new business.
Katie and Jim believe it is important to give back to the communities they serve. As part of that effort, the franchise partners with Shaw Industries Group to donate a portion of proceeds from the sale of carpet pad to St Jude’s Hospital. To date, more than $640,000 has been donated to the hospital by this initiative. In addition, franchisees donate excess materials to Habitat for Humanity. Katie and Jim have also donated their time to help build a Habitat home in Cincinnati.
Katie and Jim’s Success
The Cincinnati franchise unit is receiving accolades. The business has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. They have received the Angie’s List Super Service Award every year they’ve been eligible.
The only way to achieve such recognition is by providing superior service, and that’s a key focus for Katie and Jim. Achieving such success rests on three primary elements:
- Installers: The quality of the installers is key. They are in the client’s home for an extended period of time, and it’s their work that produces the finished product: a beautiful new floor. Katie and Jim carefully select each installer, and then hold them to high standards. Each installer signs a contract that specifies expectations and duties.
- Products: The franchise sells quality materials, made by the best manufacturers. More than 95% of their offerings are American made, and that’s important because the United States has a stable government that enforces manufacturing regulations.
- Integrity: Pricing is one area that Katie and Jim strive to make transparent and fair. Their proposals are detailed, specifying materials and install work in detail. And the price is not an “estimate.” The price given in a proposal is the final price. There are no surprises or sudden price increases at the end. The only time the price might change is if there are subfloor issues (such problems can’t be detected until the floor covering is removed). You can sign the contract and feel confident you know what the cost will be.