A Simple Recipe For Contractors Part Two:

Referrals, Websites, and Social Media, By: Bobby Parks

In part one  of “A Recipe For Contractors” I shared views on the importance of a contractor’s building philosophy, choice of project deliveries, and messaging.  In this second segment, I’ll share my thoughts on additional ingredients with referrals, websites, and social media. It’s a combination of what I did as a former contractor and what I’d be doing in today’s market.

Prior to entering the business I had no sales or marketing experience, but yet I was able to sell and build a lot of projects with an emphasis on margin growth versus traditional production growth. It involved an effort of maintaining an awareness of what was going on in my market, but also what was not being done and where I could gain an edge. It was an effort to help set the trend instead of following it. For me, it was about laying simple but effective groundwork and creating the layers of credibility with a business recipe that allowed for success. This included implementing a strategy that provided leads through a combination of a website, referrals, and later utilizing social media. 

Leads Equal Opportunity 

The upside potential for contractors is directly affected by leads generated, the profit contained in each job, and production capability. The better the lead, the better the opportunity.  It’s also a numbers game involving a balance of quantity and quality of leads along with closing ratios. Although some brag about high closing ratios, for design-build contractors this can be a bad thing in that you’re likely leaving money on the table. It also comes down to production as most contractors have a certain “buildout capacity” that’s based on their labor availability. No matter how much they sell they can only deliver so many jobs in a year’s time. Depending on how well these projects are priced from a profitability aspect determines how well they do each year. Some stay busy, some make wages, and some are operating profitable businesses. 

Referrals, Website, or Social Media?

When it comes to customer leads and jobs sold, what is your best source? Website, social media, referrals, or another source? Of the first three, referrals are typically the best quality because they’re coming from someone that you’ve already satisfied that provides an actual testimonial referral to a friend or coworker. The fact that you’ve proven yourself to this past customer means this referral carries more weight than any other source. This provides you credibility going in and lowers the sales resistance walls that most prospects have. It also raises the prospects confidence level in you earlier in the game. To an extent it can lessen the depth of this potential customer’s due diligence efforts if they trust the person that referred you as they consider part of that process already completed. On occasion you may be their only proposal. The closing ratio is generally higher so from a lead quality aspect, all of us prefer good referrals over any other lead type.

Good and Bad Referrals

The good referrals come from past customers that you charged in a way that provided good profit margins. These customers communicate to the new prospect that although they paid a premium they consider it a sound value investment. They verify that the quality of the project and the delivery experience made it worth the price. This new prospect understands they’re going to have to pay so they’re not expecting any type of discounted deal therefore allowing you the potential profits you should be striving for.  

The bad referrals come from those where you lowballed a price and profit was limited. Some contractors who count on referrals only may have several quotes out there and they need a job to move to. They have to keep people busy and cash flowing. In order to assure they’re not going to come to a stop they contact the prospects with quotes and offer a discounted deal. This means that not only will you not be profitable on this project but the referrals that come from this customer won’t allow for good profit as well. If this  customer refers you they’re likely to communicate that the contractor works cheap and they should call them. This new prospect expects a deal same as the first so there’s no upside potential for profit. It’s another job you have to give a deal on and the process repeats itself. 

Referrals Only Can Limit Upside Potential 

Even with good referrals your companies profits can be limited if you work off “referrals only”.

On average, most organized contracting businesses that produce significant volume get 30% of their leads and jobs from referrals. This means that 70% of the leads and jobs come from other sources most of which are website or internet based. It also means that those working off referrals only are working off a fraction of the lead and quote opportunities compared to those with effective websites and internet presence. Because the ones with websites have this lead surplus they can afford to quote at higher margins and work off a lower sales closing ratio compared to the referral only leads. If you’re running referrals only you have to have a higher closing ratio as opportunities are limited by two thirds or more. Because the opportunities are limited the built in margin is likely to be lower.

The effectiveness of referrals can depend on the types of projects you deliver. For example as discussed in “Part One” your building philosophy regarding the kinds of jobs you’re known for factors in. If they’re lower end wood deck jobs that have weathered, your effective referral rate weathers with them. Whereas higher end projects with better performing materials that stand the test of time allow for longer referrals periods. 

Of course there is an argument over quality versus quantity which applies here but counting on the phone to ring and run a business by “word of mouth” from referrals creates an unpredictable aspect of reliable leads. No doubt many operate this way and many “stay busy” while some actually hit good profit numbers. A lot depends on your desired volume and the amount of buildout capacity you have.

Website Provides More Opportunities 

A website is the gateway and billboard for a company that communicates what you do and the types of projects you deliver. It’s your online headquarters that allows a display and communications of everything your company is about.  If done properly it establishes a strong layer of credibility prior to having contact with a prospect. Because online searches have become a standard process for today’s customers, without one you can be overlooked and unknown. Again, it’s a numbers game that funnels potential customers your way that far exceeds the numbers referrals only bring. 

My website for my former company focused  on two main aspects which were first impressions created by photos and simple messaging. The interior behind the scenes aspect was on optimization. It’s kind of like looking at a sleek looking race car. As good as it looks it’s what’s under the hood that makes it competitive. So regardless of your company size its important that most invest in one and that you use a professional to build and manage it.  You’ll compete with others that do so to try and go cheap or manage this yourself will likely result in an ineffective site that won’t have potential to accomplish the objectives. 

I Stay Busy and Don’t Need a Website

In my opinion many contractors that “stay busy” and don’t see the need to have a website are missing out. Why not provide yourself more leads that allow you to quote at higher prices? Why not add the layers of credibility that separate you from others? When you’re quoting from word of mouth only,  you have to be careful with the price tag as you could exhaust all opportunities and not have enough work on the board. If you have a surplus of leads that allows you to add to the price tag you have a better chance of filling up your job schedule with more profitable jobs. Because you couldn’t build out everything you quote, you can afford to take 2 out of 10 or less compared to having to hit one or two out of three from referrals. It more than covers your website investment as well as adding to your annual earnings. It does require an efficiency in terms of creating quotes which I’ll cover in a future piece.  

There are always exceptions and it is true for some that realize their value, charge good margins and fill their job board with profitable jobs. But in many cases this approach imposes a limitation on upside potential. There’s also the time aspect of being able to run more leads and provide proposals. If you’re working within the crew every day, how do you find time to do both? I’ll cover this in more depth in another piece but a lot has to do with creating a quick quote system so you avoid doing takeoffs to quote every job. It requires models for expedited pricing that allows you to do several quotes in the same time period it may take to do one. This is a necessity to operate efficiently. 

Social Media

Although FB and Instagram can produce leads and can show up in searches, in my opinion these serve more as an expanded internet presence providing social media content and secondary branding purposes. They work in conjunction with a website which is the foundation and mothership for localized leads and prospects. Social media is an enhancement tool and pathway to a site and not the same as having a truly optimized website that shows up in local searches that displays your work and messaging. It’s more likely your peers and followers who are spread out across the rest of the world will see you on the social media platforms but it’s the website that provides you a set up that communicates with local prospects. It’s where your messaging and galleries are.  FB and IG can produce feathers in your cap and add another layer of credibility. It’s a way to directly communicate with others but at the end of the day it’s the prospects in your market that you must connect with and illustrate what your company is about.  

Many businesses such as millworks, subcontractors, and other trades can be connected with builders and remodelers as FB and IG serve as a networking portal. It’s an advertising platform within the building community. It’s like a national builders show compared to a local home show. For the most part they have different audiences. I’m sure some do obtain work through these outlets but counting on social media alone is likely to limit the upside potential. To grow and be selective with jobs and attach a premium price tag, the percentages are going to favor a website.

Work With a Blended Approach

There are exceptions for every aspect here. Some contractors can hit their numbers and maximize profit off referrals only. Some may actually do the same with only a social media presence. A lot depends on the volume required and an individual’s effort in each area,  but in most cases these two aspects alone won’t provide the necessary upside opportunities. Neither replaces an effective website that allows for a better sharing of messaging and photos with local search advantages. Even if you’re a one crew operation with limited buildout capacity you can benefit. It’s not about selling more but more about filling up your job board with more profitable jobs and providing the necessary opportunities to accomplish this. It’s about not operating on hope and prayer. Most will benefit from a balanced three pronged strategy because one day the referral leads that have always seemed to arrive in time to keep you busy may slow to a point that even staying busy is a challenge. Having this balanced plan will produce more opportunities with better predictability providing for a smoother operation and better profits. It’s an investment that some may believe they can’t afford but I would argue you can’t afford not to. It’s an investment in your business and should be part of the plan. For me it was a key ingredient of my recipe. 

Bobby Parks / Instagram: @Bobbyparks007

Copyright Bobby Parks – March 11th, 2020


Are You Charging Enough for Deck Features?

By Bobby Parks

Today’s Outdoor Living Contractors

In today’s deck building market, radiuses, borders, inlays, outdoor lighting, and mitered stair tread details have become the trend.  I have friends that deliver amazing award-winning creations utilizing some or all these elements and most have figured out not only an efficient way to deliver these options, but also how to price them. I know from price tags I’ve seen on jobs and through conversations as I travel around the country that some could be charging more than they are for their projects and especially upgrade features. These operators are producing impressive work, but at compromised prices. In a best case scenario, this limits their profitability. In a worse case scenario, this weakens their financial health and lessens their chance of riding out the next economic downturn as there’s likely no buildup of reserves!

Reasons for Underpricing 

Many deck builders begin businesses with stronger building skills than sales abilities. While most  develop the balance with both, some don’t and often provide quotes without proper presentation or follow up which can handicap margin. They can sell jobs as long as the price is “low enough” but for varying reasons, they struggle to sell at needed margins. 

Underpricing or selling at minimal margins is often a result of one of the following: Not understanding the real cost of delivery. Not understanding the cost of overhead. Undervaluing ones worth. Underdeveloped people skills and sales ability. 

Generally, it  occurs with newer contractors that are trying to establish themselves, but lack confidence in their ability to sell or in the value of what they offer. It also occurs with many who worked as subcontractors that have not fully understood retail pricing or struggle to mentally overcome the “cost” aspect when quoting a customer. It even happens with veteran operators who undervalue their worth and lack the development of confidence to mentally overcome price. 

Motivation, ambition, and what’s considered as satisfactory profitability varies with contractors. At the end of the day it’s what you are satisfied with that matters. I’ve met with contractors that weren’t charging enough for basic jobs and I’ve met with some who charge appropriately for most jobs but don’t charge enough for added features.  Let’s touch on some of these.

Radiuses Are Premium Features with Premium Price Tags

Radius decks provide a great look and delivering them can separate you from competition as you’re offering options that many don’t. But as good as they look on website galleries and social media, it’s only a good option if they’re profitable deliveries. The process for layout, framing, jigs, material, heating and bending borders, and taping takes extra time and requires an investment in equipment. From a sales and production standpoint you’ll spend more time on the site compared to simpler designs, so the project should be priced to produce comparable margins as other jobs from a production aspect.  Giving a deal on the first couple of jobs to create projects to leverage off of makes sense, but otherwise these works of art are opportunities for added profit. 

Mitered Stair Detail Feature Options

Stairs are a necessity for function and can be a “feature” as well. When I built in Georgia most deck projects averaged being at 10’-12’ elevations with 15 or more treads a common occurrence.  Often a landing to redirect the stairs was needed, so by the time railing and lighting were added in, this was a pricey component costing the customer several thousand dollars before the deck dollars even factored in. This left less in the budget to create the usable space, so I kept it simple with stair systems that included riser boards, stair treads, and continuous pvc side skirt trim but not mitered surrounds. It was a clean and functional finish but not a “feature”. If I were operating today, I’d give the customer a choice for more deck space with “nice stairs”, or less deck space with really nice stairs”.

I discuss stairs here as I do for three reasons. One I know from conversations that some have been charging for custom treads similar to what I was charging for my standard ones five years ago. Secondly if the stringers are not stiffened and the treads not installed correctly, potential issues may show up as stairs are tested every time someone walks them.  The push off when weight is applied traveling upstairs and the downward impact pressures on tread nosings walking down is different than typical deck surface travel and can rock the miters over time. You must think about what these will look like 5-10 years down the road and not just for your one, three, or five 5-year warranty. And third, if flat blocking is used and not taped there’s potential for rot issues as well as framing swell which can open up the joints. So, if you’re installing them, take appropriate measures to ensure they’ll hold up and price accordingly. 

Lighting Features 

 Because code requires stairs to be lit in some fashion, I always had a standard lighting package priced in and offered the customer an option to add more for the deck. I know some contractors that throw in a lighting package as a “special offer” effort to help sell the job. If you have priced the project where you believe you can absorb this without affecting your real desired margins or you’re willing to take a hit on some jobs, then I see the rationale. I realize some basic packages can be done at a low cost, but in my opinion, contractors should see “lighting” as an opportunity to add to profits, and not provide for free. Why give something away that most will pay for and that could potentially create callbacks? 

Price it so the Customer Pays Now and You Don’t Pay Later

I’ve learned from over 30 years as a builder that products don’t always perform as advertised. Wood rots, fasteners corrode, and manufactured products can fail. Years fly by and not everything stands the test of time. Incorporating high building standards with pricing that guard against problems is a good approach. Taping pressure treated lumber in certain applications is a good example. But charge for your work and educate the customer why it’s a good idea to do it. If you’re going to experience rot, it’s likely to show up on cut stair stringers, planed down joists, and flat blocking areas used for inlays and borders, so taping is a wise investment. Even if your structural warranty has expired, your reputation can still be harmed with wood or product failures. And if you didn’t follow exact installation guidelines and set the customer up to be “in compliance” and a failure occurs as a result, regardless of your warranty; you may very well be liable. 

In Summary

So, understand my efforts here are not to offend anyone because of how they operate. I know some markets are more challenging than others and there are always low-ball contractors that factor in. The points I’m trying to make are: Value your gifted abilities and worth and charge accordingly. Have confidence in what you do and require customers to pay for the skill you bring to the table and the art you create when it comes to upgrades or don’t do them. Limit the deals you give and only award that “upgrade discount card” for those rare projects where it will be worth the investment. Leverage off those jobs and off the reputation and brand you build and maintain because you possess the skill for such offerings. Create sales models and track cost of delivery so you’ll be able to accurately charge moving forward.  Give your customers options with an upgraded price tag so they see the difference and value, so you come out ahead either way. Realizing markets vary most can charge their worth. It’s a builder’s market in most regions and if you’re a quality operator, you are in the driver’s seat. And although profit margins vary slightly from job to job when job-costing is done what’s important is that it averages out at the end of the year. 

Selling jobs at the right price will always be challenging and requires several aspects working together.

The key is to separate yourself from others by creating layers of credibility. Gain confidence in who you are and what you offer along with generating the right kind of leads that provide the opportunities needed to hit your numbers. There are ways to position your company to increase success in sales and increased margins and I’ll share my thoughts on that in upcoming pieces. 

Bobby Parks / Instagram: @Bobbyparks007

Copyright February 12th, 2020 – Bobby Parks





NADRA Provides Deck Safety Marketing Resources to Help the Industry Boost Business this Spring

Contact: Michael Beaudry
Phone: 215-679-4884
Email: Info@NADRA.org

In honor of Deck Safety Month®, the North American Decking and Railing Association reminds professionals to take advantage of exclusive Deck Safety Marketing Resources along with press release templates, graphics, ads, social media content, flyers, and more.

Quakertown, PA  (May 1st, 2019) – With more than 50 million decks in the U.S., it is estimated that 25 million decks are past their useful life and need to be replaced or repaired. This means big business opportunities for deck builders, remodelers, inspectors and contractors to promote deck inspections, ensuring homeowner safety while simultaneously building their own brand. The North American Decking and Railing Association (NADRA) offers industry professionals and inspectors a breadth of resources, including a comprehensive toolkit, marketing materials, and inspection checklists.

“May is Deck Safety Month®-along with prime outdoor living season-and that presents a perfect chance for savvy pros to market their business,” says NADRA executive vice president Michael Beaudry. “NADRA has created an array of tools to help you take advantage of this marketing opportunity. Whatever you do-even if it means simply rechecking your own deck-be sure to pay special attention to deck safety”

NADRA offers the following resources for building professionals & inspector members to leverage during Deck Safety Month® and throughout the year, including:

  • Deck Safety Month® Toolkit. This NADRA-member benefits include:
    • Deck Safety Month® Logo
    • Check Your Deck® Logo
    • 2019 Deck Safety Ambassador Logo (for official ambassadors only) learn more here about the ambassador program
    • 10-point consumer checklist
    • Link to online deck inspection form
    • Social media content for your use
    • Customizable press release templates
    • Customizable flyer all about deck safety
    • Customizable social media, infographics, and web graphics
    • Tips and guidelines to make the most out of Deck Safety Month®
  • Deck Evaluation Form: A step-by-step guide to evaluating the integrity of the deck structure, stairs, surface, and railings. A downloadable form and online form (BETA) are available to members and non-members.
  • Certified inspector program: NADRA has partnered with the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) to create the NADRA Deck Inspection Certification Course, an ASHI-approved continuing education program. Having certification can not only improve a contractor’s skill-set, but make them more marketable to consumers.
  • Deck Safety Ambassadors: Help spread the word about deck safety by becoming a Deck Safety Ambassador. Sponsors gain access to an exclusive Ambassador logo and marketing benefits to further promote their businesses.
  • Homeowner resources: Builders can download the 10-Point Deck Safety Consumer Checklist to pass along to customers. Though not a replacement for a professional deck inspection, the checklist can assist homeowners and provide reference during other times of the year.

“Communicating safe decking standards remains a top priority for NADRA,” Beaudry says. “We continue to focus our efforts on educating both pros and consumers on proper deck installation practices as well as on consistent deck inspections. At the same time, we know that deck safety offers professionals in the industry a great opportunity to market their business, so we’ve provided all of the tools to help them do just that.”

Visit NADRA.org to access all of NADRA’s Deck Safety resources for industry  professionals. *You must be a current NADRA member to access the “toolkit”. Join NADRA today.

About NADRA:

The North American Decking and Railing Association is the voice of the decking industry, representing the interests of deck builders, inspectors, and manufacturers alike. NADRA’s mission is to provide a unified source for the professional development, promotion, growth, and sustenance of the deck and railing building industry in North America so that members can exceed the expectations of their customers. www.NADRA.org

© Copyright 2019 North American Deck and Railing Association. All rights reserved.

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NADRA Member Spotlight

Company Name: Holloway Company
Member Name:   Ted Tidmore
Company Name: Holloway Company
Position:  Owner
Member Category:  Builder
Location:  Sterling, VA
What inspired you to join NADRA? We have a passion for designing and creating unique decks and integrating them into an overall outdoor oasis. We are well-known in our area for custom projects.
When did you first get involved with this industry?  1994
What was the first thing you ever built?  Patio with a small retaining wall and some landscaping. I always had a vision of doing what I’m doing now with outdoor projects.
We want to get to know you, please tell us a little about your business:   I started this company in 1994. I began mowing lawns, then added patios, and then small, basic carpentry items. I am now building large, custom and unique projects. Our specialty is custom, one-of-a-kind projects including hardscaping, carpentry, pools, and more.  We build approx. 50 decks per year.
 
How do you define success?  When the client sees their project come to life and it’s even more than they could have imagined. I am fortunate to have long-standing and loyal staff who are a large part of our success.
What advice would you like to share with fellow members that you have learned in your career?  Be selective in accepting new clients. Taking on new and exciting projects and integrating the industry’s latest innovations is what will continue to put you ahead.
If you could ask your fellow industry professionals one question, what might it be? What is the biggest obstacle you face in continued growth?
What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing this?   Ski instructor in Colorado
A little more about Ted:  I have 4 children, three dogs and a wonderful wife. We enjoy spending time together attending football games, camping, and skiing.

Connect with Holloway Company:

 Website:  HollowayCompany.com

Facebook:  Facebook.com/HollowayCompany/

*A Member Spotlight winner will be chosen each month. For a chance to win, please fill out the questionnaire found  here .

Strategy – Alignment – Execution! By Kevin Jackson

Strategy – Alignment – Execution! #letsgo

 

Okay friends, raise your hand if you are tired of hearing all the business buzzwords that relate to an organization’s strategy. While the mission, vision, values, quality policy and purpose statements of organizations are critical, they are often misaligned when compared closely with the consumer’s reality.

How can this be? Well, I read this on the internet, so it must be true (Ha!). According to Larry Myler, in his article Strategy 101: It’s All About Alignment, Larry quoted the following statistic:

Wow! Who knew? Let’s be honest with ourselves, we all know this to be relatively true. However, as leaders, the real question we must ask ourselves is, “How do we obtain proper alignment and remain properly aligned?”

I’d like to challenge you to think about the following C’s as it relates to alignment:

Character

We all say we have it! We all say we do it! But, we are all human, and by the very nature of admitting such, we often fall short on delivering consistently on character. Before you get upset with me, let me clarify my position. It is easier for an individual to have character, versus the organizations that we work in and work with on a daily basis to have character.

Is it impossible for an organization to align its character with what is plastered all over the corporate office and its website? Of course not, but that is where true leadership comes in. Yes, leaders must have authority to develop strategy, but they must also work tirelessly to gain influence and buy-in with all constituents who are both front-facing to the consumer as well as those who support the organization behind the scenes. An organization without a consistent alignment of character will find themselves only as good as its weakest touch point.

Culture

You’ve heard it! “We must all be on the same page.” “We must all row in the same direction.” This is 100% true, however you must first pull back the covers on the real culture of your organization. What do you mean Kevin? I mean you must realize that your company’s traits can change your company’s atmosphere, which ultimately can and will change the outcomes of your strategy. To tackle this, you must be totally honest with yourself about how well you communicate, accept change, break down silos, embrace diversity and create an environment conducive to winning. Your consumer will see and feel your culture before you do! Take time to work on your culture. It’s not a set-it and forget-it discipline!

Capability

Once you have the strategy figured out and you have the culture to support it, you must execute. Execution requires capability. Capability requires passion and care for your craft and for the entire progress of the organization.

Before you stop reading this article, let me clear something up. I’m not saying that everyone in your organization must be great at strategy, but I am saying that everyone must be capable of moving the organization forward in their own way. Not by passing the buck, or saying “that’s not my job”, alignment requires leadership, understanding and collaboration of everyone to achieve what you said you were going to do in the first place.

So, why the disconnect? It’s strictly due to alignment! If one of your four wheels is pulling to the left or right – guess what? – the entire car will pull to the left or right, even when the strategy clearly says to stay straight ahead.

Alignment is the bread and butter of business success. Give it its proper attention if you really want to succeed! #letsgo

 

Kevin Jackson

Positivity Guru, Value Adder, Keynote Speaker & SVP

http://thepositivityguru.com/

CAMO supports Deck Safety Month® in May

Contractors Mark NADRA’s Deck Safety Month® in May with CAMO Edge Fastening for Safer, Barefoot-Friendly Deck Surfaces

CAMO Edge Fastening teams with the North American Deck and Railing Association, Inc. (NADRA) to promote “Deck Safety Month®” with ways to improve the safety of your deck using better installation techniques and materials.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (PRWEB) MAY 18, 2017

CAMO Edge Fastening joined forces with the North American Deck and Railing Association, Inc. (NADRA), in supporting Deck Safety Month® in May to help increase public awareness of the necessity for regular inspection and maintenance of existing decks, and proper installation of new decks. National Nail’s CAMO Edge Fastening is one technology that can help contractors make decks safer for homeowners.

Unlike traditional fasteners that are nailed or screwed through the top or face of the deck board, the proprietary Edge Fastening system guides the unique CAMO® screws through the edge of the boards. Applying the screws in this manner eliminates the safety issues normally associated with traditional face fastening. Edge fastening greatly reduces the cracking and splitting of deck boards that leads to splinters while also eliminating the common issue of nails and screws working themselves out of the deck board surface. Scott Baker, CEO and President of National Nail states, “Splinters, nails and screw pops find their way into the feet of unsuspecting guests. Families don’t want to turn their fun, outdoor event into a first aid lesson. That’s why we say CAMO® is barefoot approved™.”

Another safety advantage to CAMO Edge Fastening is the holding power of the deck board is greatly improved due to the angle which the screws enter the deck board and attach directly to the sub-structure. This system virtually eliminates deck board movement which is a common problem with deck clips. “With CAMO, you get a solid, stable board. If there is ever an issue with a board I can back the screws out to replace it where I can’t with typical hidden clips,” said Billy Lecorchick, owner of Legends Home Improvements in Monroe, NJ.

“Contractors or homeowners using wood, composites or PVC are fastening their decks with CAMO Edge Fastening for safer, fastener-free surfaces,” said Greg Palmer, Director of Marketing, National Nail/CAMO. “Edge-fastened decks prevent fastener caused splitting or cracking that increases weather and moisture access to the deck material– which can add to and increase degradation of the deck board. The deck surface is also safer for bare feet with no raised screw heads, which can also get hot in the sun. These are all important safety factors for homeowners. “

Chris Warren of Warren Builders, State College, PA, agrees and said, “With the new wave of composites and pvcs, no one screws deck boards the old-fashioned way anymore. The edge-fastened decks do not allow water seepage into exposed openings around face-screws or into cracks or splits.”

To learn more about deck safety, visit NADRA’s website at http://www.NADRA.org for their video and Check Your Deck® – 10-Point Safety Checklist. For more information about CAMO Edge Fastening visit http://www.camofasteners.com.

About CAMO Edge Fastening
CAMO Edge Fastening™ from National Nail delivers beautiful, fastener-free, Barefoot Approved™ results with virtually any wood, composite or PVC decking. CAMO® offers a variety of guides, fasteners, and accessories, as well as a collated system to suit project requirements. For more information or to locate a dealer, visit CAMO Fasteners or call 1-800-968-6245. Be sure to “Like” CAMO® Fasteners on Facebook.

Positivity To Profit, by Kevin D. Jackson

Our mindset and our actions directly affect our customer’s experience.

 

Every waking moment, either consciously or unconsciously, we make decisions that affect our lives, our families, our work, our customer’s experiences and ultimately our take home pay. A major choice, with residual impact, is whether we decide to have a positive outlook or a negative demeanor.

Okay, I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this. However, let’s stack hands and agree on something. Every day is not going to be a sun-shiny day, but our emotions and our reactions to these emotions can and will add to our success or contribute to our demise. Taking this a step further, I’m going to suggest that positivity could eventually lead to profit. If you don’t believe me, check out these five domino effect principles:

Limiting our intake of negative influences

In the era of always being plugged in, there is a gem in finding some personal time to prepare for the day ahead of us without the news, newspaper, social media and the like. Often our days are started with the weight of the world on our shoulders before we even have the opportunity to deal with our own issues. Being intentional and deliberate about limiting negative influences open a pathway to a more thoughtful and calculated day. Our families, friends, co-workers and customers will notice something very different about us if we implement this. Try it!

Not selling, but letting others see our passion and the value we bring

Everyone has a blue widget and a red widget to sell. However, what consumers are looking for is value. If we are not providing value, we are not providing anything. Quality customer care requires a quality attitude from those who are providing the service. As a result, organizations are only as strong as their weakest link and their weakest link may actually be on a consecutive streak of bad days! To consistently turn a profit, we must consistently show our passion to solve our customer’s needs and consistently do this all with a smile.

Staying poised under pressure

We are all under a tremendous amount of pressure. That’s the way of the world we live in. However, those who consistently remain poised in the time of trial are those who are rehired, referred and remembered. It’s so easy to lose our cool if we get up on the wrong side of the bed. However, losing our cool could mean losing a client and ultimately losing profit.

Following up, following-through and following up again

Communication is key in all relationships. However, there is a major difference between communication ending in a positive experience and miscommunication ending in an “I’ll never do business with them again” experience. Gold medal communicators understand the importance of anticipating and addressing customer grievances before they become an issue. They constantly think as if they were the consumer and try to stay one step ahead of the customer’s expectations throughout the entire process. Regardless of what’s happening in their personal lives, they are pleasant, prepared, responsive and grateful for the business. In addition, when the work is completed, they follow up again to give a sincere thank you and to ensure all customer requirements have been met and/or have been exceeded.

Working tirelessly to establish and maintain the “Wow Factor”

Optimistic value-providers never rest on their laurels. Every day is an opportunity to be better than they were yesterday. Positivity, passion, action and follow up create the “Wow Factor.” The “Wow Factor” contributes to the building of the brand. The brand promise and its delivery ultimately leads to sustainable success, and of course, profit!

Boom! Drop the mic! Now, do you believe me? A positive attitude drives positive actions. Positive actions drive positive results and a positive bottom line. Got it? Let’s do this!

Love Spending Time Outdoors? Check Your Deck®

MEDIA CONTACT

Michael Beaudry
Executive Vice President
Phone: 215-679-4884
Email address: Info@NADRA.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Love Spending Time Outdoors? Check Your Deck®  

During Deck Safety Month® and throughout the year, homeowners can take advantage of resources and tools from the North American Decking and Railing Association to ensure the security and longevity of their decks.

Quakertown, PA  (May 1st, 2017) –  May is Deck Safety Month ® , the perfect time for homeowners to ensure their decks are in top condition for the season ahead. The North American Decking and Railing Association (NADRA) invites consumers to Check Your Deck ®  using resources such as the 10-Point Consumer Checklist.

“Of the 40 million residential decks in the U.S., it’s estimated that half of them are more than 25 years old. It’s crucial for homeowners to verify the integrity of their deck to ensure user safety as well as help extend the deck’s life-span, improve appearance, and increase livability,” says Michael Beaudry, executive vice president of NADRA. “We’re proud to offer an array of tools to help consumers check their decks as well as connect with building professionals with the know-how to identify and remedy potential problems.”
Consumers can visit www.NADRA.org  to take advantage of resources to Check Your Deck ® , including:

  • 10-Point Checklist: Homeowners can download the 10-Point Deck Safety Consumer Checklist , a step-by-step guide to visually inspecting the deck for safety concerns such as corroding fasteners, decaying materials, loose railings, inadequate lighting, and more. Though not a replacement for a professional deck inspection, the checklist is a helpful tool to assist homeowners.
  • Find an Inspector: NADRA and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) offer building professionals the NADRA Deck Inspection Certification Course, which certifies the recipient has undergone training specific to conducting proper, thorough deck inspections. Consumers can search for a certified inspector in their area by browsing the Inspectors Directory at www.NADRA.org.
  • Find a Builder: NADRA deck builders adhere to a strict code of ethics and are required to submit proof of licensing and insurance as required by their state. Homeowners can search for qualified deck builders at www.NADRA.org.

Learn More: Consumers can watch videos and read more about deck safety on NADRA’s consumer Deck Safety page and on the NADRA blog.

“We encourage homeowners to reach out to ASHI-certified home inspectors and NADRA-member deck builders to conduct an inspection of their older deck,” says Beaudry. “NADRA members follow a code of ethics and comply with state licensing and insurance requirements, providing peace of mind.”

Visit www.NADRA.org to access all of NADRA’s Deck Safety Month® resources.

About NADRA
The North American Decking and Railing Association is the voice of the decking industry, representing the interests of deck builders, inspectors, and manufacturers alike. NADRA’s mission is to provide a unified source for the professional development, promotion, growth, and sustenance of the deck and railing building industry in North America so that members can exceed the expectations of their customers. www.NADRA.org

© Copyright 2017 North American Deck and Railing Association. All rights reserved.

CHECK YOUR DECK® THIS MAY

CHECK YOUR DECK® THIS MAY

 

BY WOLF HOME PRODUCTS | 05.01.2017

Wolf Home Products is proud to partner with NADRA, the North American Deck and Railing Association, this month to recognize Deck Safety Month® to promote outdoor living in a beautiful and safe environment.

For many, May marks the unofficial start to summer. This means it’s time to get outside to work in the garden and start cleaning up the deck for summer BBQs. In addition to having a clean deck, it’s important to make sure you have a safe deck. Wolf and NADRA recommend homeowners Check Your Deck® this May before kicking off summer activities.

There are an estimated 40 million residential and 10 million commercial decks in the United States, with 50% of them being more than 20 years old. To ensure the safety of your family and friends, it’s important for homeowners to check their decks on a yearly basis. Outdoor structures like decks are exposed to sun, rain, snow and extreme temperature changes over the years. The need to maintain and inspect them is critical for keeping decks strong and safe and helps to avoid possible collapses.

NADRA offers a 10-Point Consumer Safety Checklist, which is an efficient way to take a good look at the different parts of the deck, with an eye to what might need maintenance, repair or replacement. Below are 10 parts to examine when you Check Your Deck®:

  1. Split or decaying wood
  2. Flashing
  3. Loose or corroded fasteners
  4. Railings and banisters
  5. Stairs
  6. Cleaning and maintenance
  7. Grills, fire pits, chimneys, heaters, and candles
  8. Lighting and electrical
  9. Outdoor furniture and storage
  10. Surrounding trees

Homeowners should also consider a professional deck inspection. A professional inspector will thoroughly examine your deck, provide information on your deck’s capacity limits, identify any dangerous problem areas and give you some insight into what to keep your eye on in the future.

It’s important to remember that older decks require closer scrutiny and regular inspections. Many decks were built before code requirements were established to protect consumers. Some of these older decks may have deck-to-house attachments using only nails instead of the current recommended construction using deck tension hardware that greatly helps in the prevention of ledger failures.

Once you Check Your Deck® and ensure it’s safe, grab your friends and fire up that grill for your first BBQ of the summer!

 

AZEK® Encourages Awareness for Deck Safety Month®

SKOKIE, IL—AZEK® Building Products, a leader in the development of premium composite decking, is raising awareness alongside the North American Decking and Railing Association (NADRA) this May for Deck Safety Month®. As summer approaches and people begin to enjoy their outdoor living spaces, it is the ideal time to address and fix any poorly maintained or unsafe decking structures.

“Decks are exposed to sun, rain, snow and extreme temperature changes throughout the seasons and the years,” said Julia Fitzgerald, chief marketing officer of AZEK Building Products. “May is a great time to remind everyone to inspect decks for safe outdoor entertaining.  Safety is our number one priority so our decking is scientifically engineered to stand up to the elements and remain sturdy, reliable, and splinter free for years. Likewise, our railing is not only beautiful, it’s low-maintenance as it is sturdy.”

Here are the top tips to ensure a safe deck:

  • Identify Instability – There should be no sagging, swaying or movement of the deck boards, railings or stairs, and the board attaching the deck to the house should be securely in place.
  • Inspect Railings – The IRC requires railings to be at least 36’’ in height, measured from the deck surface to the top of the rail. Also look for loose balusters or post caps which could present a hazard.
  • Get up to Code – Check that the deck, electrical outlets and appliances are up to code, and that no electrical cords present a tripping or fire hazard. Inspect grills, fire pits and heaters at the start of the season.
  • Examine Boards and Fasteners – Check for splitting, rotting or decay. Look for rust on nails, screws and fasteners; a corroded fastener can cause deterioration in surrounding materials.

“Homeowners who have an AZEK® or TimberTech® deck don’t have to worry about many of the traditional performance issues wood decks present,” said Fitzgerald. “Our products are protected with advanced polymer materials which make them resistant to mold, mildew and moisture damage.  Also, our railing collections are certified to meet the International Building Code, and International Residential Code for load bearing and other universal safety considerations.  Wood just can’t compete when it comes to long lasting safety and durability.”

 

Read the original article from AZEK® here