Updated: Nov 12, 2021
It’s easier to make a mess than it is to clean it up. That’s been especially true in the supply chain mess we’ve seen over the past year—especially in recent months.
Turning overseas operations back on has affected manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers in every industry across the U.S. and internationally. The flooring industry is no exception. Everyone knows someone who tried to build or remodel a home during the pandemic, and for most, it has been a frustrating waiting game. That problem has only been magnified in the case of institutional investors and management companies dealing with hundreds of homes at a time. Materials are still backed up for months.
The Beginning of Flooring Delays
Freight delays started in February of 2020 in response to the Covid chaos. Carpet and vinyl flooring were among the millions of materials and products moving in slow motion—or not moving at all. Heading into 2021, overseas LVP manufacturers were met with shipping issues stemming from labor and shipping container shortages, Texas had an unprecedented freeze that threw a wrench in the supply chain for the raw materials needed to make carpet, a major U.S. carpet pad manufacturing plant burned to the ground, and the American workforce has been slow to respond to the labor demand. These supply challenges were matched by an equally impressive surge in demand in the housing market. In 2021, institutional investors have been looking to make up for lost time as much of the world was on pause during 2020 and private homeowner remodel numbers have gone through the roof. Now we know that when you tell millions of Americans to stay home indefinitely, they’ll jump right on their home to-do list.
Needless to say, flooring pros, including RMI, were swamped with work. Demand for flooring materials was increasing while manufacturing and shipping was slowing down. The construction, housing, and building supply industries have been drowning and will continue to play catch up well into 2022.
The 5 Primary Pain Points Of Purchasing Flooring Heading Into The New Year
1. Delays are costly. Properties that can’t be renovated can’t be rented out or resold. Each home that can’t be leased costs owners between $60-$100 a day. This is especially problematic for management companies and investors who flip hundreds of apartments, homes, and work spaces a month.
2. It’s hard to find workers. The labor shortage is a problem almost every industry is facing. News reports state there are 10 million jobs up for grabs while millions of people are leaving their jobs. According to The Wall Street Journal, the reasons this is happening are interrelated. Workers with low wages are holding out for better opportunities. Childcare is more difficult to secure. Workers are taking early retirement. Workers are becoming self-employed. Additionally, federal relief dollars have provided a cushion that makes many less eager to return to work.
That means fewer people working in factories, at ports, and in construction. As a result, many remodels and new builds are moving at a snail’s pace.
3. The price of goods has skyrocketed. The price of flooring materials in the U.S. has increased an average of 63% in 2021. RMI Flooring products costs have increased by 15-30% due to higher costs of raw materials, labor, and transportation.
4. Port congestion is everywhere. Consumer demand coupled with a lack of labor, Covid restrictions, storage capacity, and more, are contributing to cargo getting stuck in ports on the East Coast, West Coast, and internationally.
5. Transportation is slow going. On average, deliveries from manufacturers to warehouses is five weeks behind. Anyone ordering home supplies or goods, from lumber to tile to furniture, has to expect that it may not arrive for a few months. It’s the new normal.
We’ll Help You Make The Best Out Of A Tough Situation
More than anything, RMI Flooring wants to give you the exact product you want when you want it. Unfortunately, there are a number of factors out of our control. However, we are committed to working closely with you to get you the best product for your project. Here are two things to keep in mind when sourcing flooring for the rest of 2021 and into 2022.
1. Be flexible. To make sure you get flooring sooner rather than later, open yourself to a number of options. We may not have your LVP in the exact color you hoped for right now, but chances are we have something of the same quality that’s very similar. We help customers every day selecting products and colors that are in-stock and similarly priced for their projects.
2. Think ahead. Planning well ahead of your deadline is the name of the game. Have projects lined up in 2022? Get your measurements done and order the flooring you have your eye on today. We’ll help you find products you’re excited about that will arrive on time.
Partner with RMI Flooring’s team of flooring experts to help you not only navigate the frustrations of today’s supply chain issues, but find affordable, high-quality products. With RMI, you can meet your project deadlines and keep your standard of quality where it should be.