A Conversation With Lucky Perez
A Residential Installation Specialist
Since there’s nothing better than real life experience to evaluate a new program, WIA had a conversation with Lucky Perez, the first graduate from WIA’s online certification program for Residential Installation Specialist. Read our conversation below!
WIA: When did you get involved in wallcovering installation?
LP: Professionally, about two years ago. I papered the walls in my home and have been pretty handy with home renovation. I haven’t installed any super, high-end papers, but I welcome the challenge when that comes.
WIA: Why did you get involved in wallcovering installation as a career?
LP: It’s a mix of serendipity and design. My wife and I operated a preschool daycare in our home for eight years. It was starting to affect our relationship. When we put our house up for sale, the real estate agent commented on the wallpaper. I said that I’d installed it. I also painted and noticed that painting was more competitive and not as lucrative as paperhanging. Then I came across the Wallcovering Installation Association and things came together. Money’s not the driving factor, but if you get paid to do what you love to do, then that’s a benefit.
WIA: What motivated you to embark upon the certification program?
LP: I felt that my limited reputation could be improved and enhanced by the credibility of WIA certification. The certification distinguishes me from the competition.
WIA: Describe your experience with the RIS certification program.
LP: It was great. The program’s a bit of an investment and I had to think about it for a few days, but I’m glad I made the decision to do it. It’s well organized. I like that it allowed me to go at my own A Conversation With Lucky Perez, RIS pace. The classes are very user-friendly and the instructors are good. I was most interested in learning about the specialty technique subjects.
WIA: What did you like best about the program?
LP: It was asynchronous, so I could work at my own pace. I never needed to reach out to ask questions, but felt that help was available if I did. I didn’t realize that I was first to complete the RIS certification program, but being the “guinea pig” served its purpose. About 30 percent of the people I connect with want to try hanging wallpaper themselves. Then they discover it’s more involved than they expected. It’s all about educating people to make sure the final product will be a good one.
WIA: What, if any, parts of the program do you think need improvement?
LP: The login process is redundant and could be streamlined. When I registered for the program, I had a sink-or-swim mentality, because I’d have to ramp up business fast to recoup the cost of tuition. I do appreciate having continued access to the resources after completing the program.
WIA: What benefits have you found through the program?
LP: Credibility. I see value in being part of the WIA’s social media groups. WIA members have been very welcoming and I look forward to continued fellowship with them and access to likeminded people. Nancy is great; she’s made me feel welcomed and accepted. I like that my name now shows up in searches for paperhangers.
I like that my name now shows up in searches for paperhangers.
WIA: What do you expect RIS certification will do for you?
LP: It will allow me to market myself and my skill set better and provide access to different resources and opportunities. In short, it will open some doors.
WIA: Do you have plans to pursue additional certification and/or training?
LP: Yes. I’d like to become more familiar with commercial applications and specialty materials, like gold leaf. I want to explore more courses on specialty materials. Once I do that, I expect to expand my business and, since I’m a one-man operation, transition into hiring full-time help.
WIA: Would you encourage other installers to pursue RIS certification?
LP: Yes. I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t, especially if they’re serious about wallpaper installation. If anything, it’s a great networking opportunity. In my market, there’s a real opportunity for a residential installer.
WIA: Any further comments?
LP: It’s been great! Once my reputation is strengthened, I’ll be able to step away from the job apps. I think a lot of people are interested in doing it: the online certification program is a great idea and a great process. I think it’s wonderful that WIA recognized the need and filled it.