60 Second Interview: Martin Murray from Period Flooring, Surrey

Quick fire questions with Martin Murray from Period Flooring, Surrey

Name: Martin Murray
Age: 50
Company: Period Flooring, Surrey
Job Title: Managing Director

How did you get into the flooring industry?

I started off about 30 years ago as a van driver for one of the best carpet fitters in London. We fitted the first roll of sisal carpet in 1987 – that was my claim to fame at the time.

What’s been the biggest change in the industry in the past 10 years/since you started?

Well the obvious answer is the internet, which has definitely changed shopping habits. Aside from that, I’ve witnessed the rise and fall of big flooring companies like Carpet Right, which were very popular for a long time because of the “bargains” they had on offer, such as 50% off or free fittings when you bought their products. Lately though, I’ve noticed a regrowth in business for small independent companies. Perhaps customers are realising that jobs by independents are often done to a higher standard!

Looking forwards, what do you think will be the biggest change in the next 10 years?

I believe that the future is bright for small independent companies, and that the big companies will eventually die out. More and more independents have already began to pop up, and with any luck, the demand will continue to grow.

What’s the worst job you’ve been on?

There have been loads! I can’t go into too much detail in case I get in trouble, but the wife of a celebrity once hired us to surprise her famous husband by fitting new floors in their swanky London apartment, which we were told would be empty. Up we went to the master bedroom on the third floor, opened the door, and there was said-celebrity in a very compromising position with a much younger woman. He was furious, but once we explained why we were there, he was suddenly very agreeable!

And what’s the best?

We recently had a job in the palace of a Russian oligarch. They gave us a three-course meal every day, drinks, iced towels while we worked – we wanted for nothing during our time there.

Do you have go-to-products for certain jobs?

F. Ball’s Styccobond F3 adhesive and Styccobond F41 Carpet Tile Tackifier are used very often at Period Flooring, along with Styccobond F47 pressure sensitive adhesive. As natural flooring specialists, you only have one chance to get the job right, so you need reliable products to make it perfect. We’ve used F. Ball products for years; no other brand has come close to their high standards.

What do you like best about the job?

The job satisfaction is a definite perk. Natural flooring like sisal, coir and seagrass can sometimes get bad press because they’re very easy to get wrong, so when a formerly hesitant customer comes out smiling, we know we’ve done our job well.

What is your least favourite thing about the job?

Sometimes I think there’s an awful lot of negativity from people in the flooring trade. The customers we deal with can wear you down, it’s true, but I see it a lot where contractors sit around feeling grumpy and unmotivated. Flooring is recession-proof to an extent; people will always need it, so keeping that in mind is a good way to keep positive.