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October 14th, 2015

October 13th, 2015 (For Immediate release)

Simpsonville, South Carolina

Specialty LBM Holdings of South Carolina acquires Palmetto Tile and Stone; re-works DECKSTORE’s overall look and website.

Specialty LBM holdings and our subsidiaries including DECKSTORE of SC, are committed to competitive growth and excellence in the building materials industry and so it is with great pleasure to announce the acquisition of The Palmetto Tile and Stone Company and the initiative to revitalize the look of DECKSTORE. Previously known as “Floored” on Haywood Rd, and a leader in product selection in the local Greenville market, Palmetto Tile offers a full line of ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, mosaic, and other tile products from floor to finish. Product lines include all brands of flat lay products and mosaics. Additionally, Palmetto will begin to offer customers the full system with the addition of bonding materials and underlayment materials to round out its offerings.

In the coming weeks, The Palmetto Tile and Stone Company will undergo a facility move and realignment of product categories and choices, as well as a full overhaul of ordering systems and inventory control. Customers shall enjoy a more streamlined approach to purchasing from Palmetto Tile. The company will be combined within the retail space located with DECKSTORE on East Standing Springs Rd in Simpsonville, and many of the Palmetto Tile products will be featured on the soon to be released Deckstoresc.com eCommerce website. Shoppers will enjoy a clean, well designed online experience and will be able to will-call or have shipped, orders placed on the online system. Current customers with open accounts at DECKSTORE will be able to extend purchases of Palmetto Tile products under the same accounts giving a greater ease in purchasing for our remodeling and tradesman customers. With an all new management and sales team for Palmetto Tile, customers will enjoy changes and a more customer driven performance, while maintaining the vast and eclectic selection previously featured by Palmetto Tile and Stone.

At the same time, DECKSTORE is making changes to its facility including a general clean-up, removal of the obstructive fence around the property, and additions of more products including storage buildings, swing-sets, and outdoor structures. The goal is to make a more enjoyable complete purchasing atmosphere for our homeowner customers, as well as our tradesman customers. The new Deckstoresc.com website is due to launch by year end with a complete product offering including nationwide shipping on most products. We are truly excited about this acquisition and extension of DECKSTORE of SC.

David Elenbaum CEO / Specialty LBM Holdings of SC, LLC

September 10th, 2015

NADRA Consumer Product Awareness Charter Update

By: David Elenbaum, NADRA National Director

davidelenbaum@gmail.com

(864)-371-9697

 

Decking Industry Pros:
As you all know me, I’ll promise to cut right to the chase and tell you what I’m thinking without adding time consuming pleasantries,

Previously and at my request, Michael Beaudry sent you a letter and presentation on our CPAC program concept (If you can’t find it, let us know). In that letter and presentation there were details of how the CPAC program will take shape and why it is important to our industry. This program stems from a basic discussion at a Principia Conference involving standardizing test protocols. During this discussion, I took on the challenge along with NADRA’s help to begin to develop this program into what it is today. It’s not rocket science, it simply takes what you are doing already, steamlines it for you, put’s it into a nifty program with a big fat rubber stamp from your industry, and allows your customers to see that you are responsible.

As an outdoor living contractor and owner of a retail building supply, I have an understanding of the need to have this program. Guys, when it comes down to your products, there is no program that certifies what you tell us about them is true. There is no way of knowing that the product has met the specs, and there is no way of knowing if what we are repeating to our customer is factual information. I am not implying that anyone here is lying about board performance or test data, but let’s say someone was. How would that have an effect on my business? On yours? On our industry? It has happened before, and all of you have reps who say the other guys stuff is crap because of this, this, and that….. It’s time for those days to end.

Over the years, we have seen a multitude of product enter the industry and fail. We have seen a multitude of “garage extruders” make up their own rules and compete. I have seen decking that came apart, disintegrated, faded to white, or just plain looks like garbage after a few years. All those companies promised me that they had a good product and have good test data. And, yes, I am seeing this today in capstocks.

I am asking YOU to help us. To help yourselves. My committee needs money to get this program off the ground. We need it to pay for Jeri and her work, to prepare the materials to boost the program, to set up the process. Guys, WE (you and us) need this program. Please don’t wait to see who’s in before committing, please help pull the rope and get on board now. I have already pledged money and have pumped time into this over the past 3 years.

I am asking this of you not only as a friend, an industry colleague, or expert in the industry. I am asking this of you as a customer, and most of all, a responsible deck builder.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or to discuss your role in the committee and program. If you are not the right person, tell me who is and I’ll beat their door down. We are going to have a meeting at Deck Expo about this as well. Information will be shared with you so you may attend.

Now you can see why I normally ask Michael to speak for me. He softens it a bit.

Thanks Guys,

David Elenbaum
davidelenbaum@gmail.com
(864)-371-9697

August 20th, 2013

August 20, 2013

A railing sales specialist at the dealer level? A good strategy for selling railing products? Hear from the experts October 28-29 in Baltimore at the 10th Annual Composite Decking & Railing Conference.
When it comes to railing products, it pays to have an in-store specialist.

Speaker David Elenbaum, president of The American Backyard Company, will explain the role of an in-store railing product specialist and tell you exactly how you can leverage that person to grow sales.

In this session, you’ll have the chance to review in-store railing sales and attachment rates, discuss common contractors’ barriers for using synthetic railing systems, and learn what a product specialist can do to help educate and train contractors.

Register by August 31, 2013 with discount code ADSAVE13 and save $200. Visit www.deckrailconference.com.

December 19th, 2012

NADRA Atlanta Chapter – December 2012 Meeting Re-Cap

It was a great Year End event for our Chapter this past Wednesday evening at the Maggiano’s , Cumberland and thanks to all who attended. We had 70+ attendees and several guests including our “Deck For a Solider” recipients – Sergeant Michael Dickerson and his wife Jessica.  I want to thank Kirk Hammond with Lonza for sponsoring the meeting and for his comments pertaining to our chapter and his involvement with the National Board. .  Our guest speaker was John Gordon, The Director of Strategic  Accounts for the Home Depot.   John’s presentation was informative and eye opening as he related some principals of operating with Integrity and also gave insight into the current market conditions and an encouraging look toward future market direction.

We started off the evening by hearing from Jeffrey Johnson and David Elenbaum.  Jeff shared information on a nonprofit that he is working on and David shared some of the directives and happenings from the recent National Board meeting. I then had the opportunity to review the past year and highlighted many of the activities and events that our Chapter participated in.  We had a great year as a chapter and it was a pleasure to review all that we accomplished.  I want to thank all of our sponsors during the past year:  Azek (Bill Sullivan), Duradek (Norm Shafer), Fiberon (James Gunning), Trex (Larry Pease), and Lonza (Kirk Hammond).  We could not have executed our plan this past year without your help and we are all grateful for each of you stepping up and contributing.  We celebrated our third Deck For A Solider build and presented certificates to the 27 entities and individuals that participated.  We also introduced Sergeant Dickerson and his Wife Jessica and thanked them for their service and sacrifice.  I strongly believe that D4S is the best thing we do as a chapter and want to thank all of you for giving so much to this endeavor.  We held our first “Toys For Tots” drive this year and it was an overwhelming success.  I want to give special thanks to Frank Pologruto for putting this effort together and heading it up.  Frank and I delivered close to 200 toys to the center yesterday and I am hopeful that we can make this effort an annual event.

Our next meeting will be held in February of 2013 – time, place and date to be determined.  We are looking for speakers and sponsors for next year and our Leadership group will be meeting in January to put the plan together so if you are interested in sponsoring or if you have any ideas, speaker thoughts, or anything that you would like for us to focus on please contact me.  Thanks again for being a part of our Chapter and for all that each of you do to make us successful.

Hoping that each of you have a Blessed and Happy Holiday Season.

Respectfully Submitted,

Keith Compton / Atlanta Chapter President

June 18th, 2012

“Oh no, no, please God help me!”

June 18, 2012 | From the Black Sabbath song….and contractors who encounter the evil nasty customer who will never go away and refuses to pay you until hell freezes over and you perform a miracle. “Just one more thing” and “you said you were going to….” and my favorite “this is just not what I expected when I hired you!”

Okay, so I am the man! I am the guy who takes a beating on my margin to make a customer happy. I am the guy who calls in a painter to stain lattice to make damn sure the stain is perfect so I don’t have to do it myself to get the last check. I am the guy who abuses the terms “yes ma’am” and “Whatever you need sir” I am the sucker who gets abuse from the evil nasty once a year customer. I…am the man!

So back to the annual freak!  Before, when I got home from one of these encounters I usually drank….a lot! Then I wondered what went wrong. Usually there is a flashback to the first meeting where the prospect said “I am warning you, I am picky.” At that point, like many of you, I thought…. I am a deck builder, I can handle picky. But what do you do about it? Most deck builders would shrug this statement off and move to the close. Some would have flashbacks and ease their way out of the house. A few would bump the price a few points knowing it’s going cost them later. Here’s how I beat the nasty!

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April 25th, 2012

April 24, 2012 | Why would a deck builder be so afraid of trying a new material for his next project? Isn’t being up on the latest technology a dream come true. Perhaps, but are you taking risk in the process? Some guys I know would say yes to that. They would no sooner use a new product then throw themselves off a bridge. Some I know embrace the new stuff and love it. I have been both of those guys. With a few years under my belt and input from so many of my counterparts, my stance is that I will try a new product in a limited application until some time passes and I am reassured that it will last. What about those new nifty labor warranties? I am a huge advocate for that and it does help me to decide how much if any of a new product I will sell. But let’s dive into this a little more.

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March 12th, 2012

By David Elenbaum

March 12, 2012 | What do you “do”? Do you “do” windows? Do you “do” stone work? Perhaps you “do” siding. I know that if you are reading this, it is likely that you “do” decks. I for one like to eliminate “do” from my verbiage in marketing. I say I build decks in conversation but my business card says that I am a “full service deck design and construction firm.” Why? Professionalism. I can go to any market in the US and it is likely that I can find a guy who “Does” something according to his advertising. He is also likely the guy who writes his quote on the back of a business card. If you are that guy, in your mark

Now for the matter of “doing” everything. Do you? How diverse is your product portfolio? If you find yourself running to leads that cover a large varied group of products and you are operating under a deck company you may want to consider a revision in your company story. Perhaps you would want to look at being a general contractor. In some cases, you may want to refine your offerings and focus on the things that make you the most profits. If your company “Dude’s Decks” is installing windows and siding, consider a branch off company called “Dude’s siding and windows”. Your prospects will be less confused about what you “do” and you will see better qualified leads from your advertising as a result. You can set up an advertising accrual on each business so you will know if window ad money is getting you window leads and deck ad money is getting you decking leads. Set up a separate phone number with a tracker to get the results you need.

You can still co-market the businesses together if you like but diversifying the advertising into the appropriate marketing is now an option for you. Deck buyers may be in a different demographic than window buyers for you, so the difference between a newspaper ad and a retirement magazine. On the administrative side, separating the entities will help with seeing profitability, crew allocations, and workers comp audits will be easier since a siding crew is charged at a different rate then a deck crew in many cases. Also, the really cool part is if your siding business grows well enough to sell, you can sell it and still be in the deck business. Good luck and thanks for reading. You can email thoughts and comments to davidelenbaum@gmail.com.

February 6th, 2012

February 6, 2012 | That is what you are hoping the neighbors are saying about you when they show off their new deck. The concept of “Keeping up with the Jones’” is the best pipeline for leads in this business. People are proud of their home improvement projects and they like to show them off. Your hopes are that when they are showing off their latest huge investment and boasting about the latest craze in products that they got, they drop your name in the process. Referrals are bar none the least expensive and most valuable lead source in the business. They are virtually free and if it’s done right, you just have to take an order. So how do you harvest this land of milk and honey?

Start with vicious networking. Figure out ways to get in front of your customers friends and neighbors. One way might be to take a few minutes during the build and stop by the houses in the immediate area. Knock on the door, introduce yourself and let them know that your crew is the one working at that house. Show them a picture of what you are building and ask if they have any questions or comments about the workers or anything else. Remember to feel out your customer to see if things like this will be okay. Some people lead very private lives and don’t want the neighbors knowing what they are doing. Another great way to get some easy referrals from a sweet deck project is to throw a grand opening party for your customer. Ask them to invite their friends over for a show off BBQ. You can bring the provisions and run the grill for them or have it catered in. Considering the cost of around $10 a head for some hamburgers, you will get some great prospect conversations and most likely a solid lead.

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January 30th, 2012

January 29, 2012 | You worked the prospect and turned it into a quote. You worked the quote and turned it into a sale. You got a start check and ordered materials. Now the guy calls and says’s “I’ve changed my mind, I’m not doing the job, I want my money back.” Can he do that? The answer is maybe. When it comes to legal advice, an attorney is the best way to go to help shed some light on the Right of Rescission. It seems to vary a little from state to state but one thing seems common all over. The customer usually has three business days to change their mind, so if you close the sale on Thursday, they are supposed to notify you by Monday night. Some could argue that the three business days start the moment you sign, so if it is 7 PM on Thursday, then it might not be up until Tuesday night at 7PM. Ambiguity on agreements is a distracting and often costly issue for deck builders.

When writing the verbiage for your contracts make sure you include a Right of Rescission clause that has clear instructions on how to exercise the rescission. Details on how long the period lasts, what the steps are to notify, and how the repayment will take place. I like this simple statement: In the event the purchaser decides to rescind this contract, the purchaser must notify the contractor within three business days of signing the contract. Three business days commence on the next business day following the date of signing. Delivery of notification of rescission and a copy of this contract must be made in writing and delivered to the contractor’s place of business no later then 5PM on the day of the deadline. The contractor shall have three business days to return payment once rescission is properly exercised. Rescission and payment return terms may be subject to state and federal laws.

Some states allow you to add a waiver of rescission period to your contract that you can ask the customer to sign if they want to get started sooner. Also, some states do not enforce a rescission if the contract is signed in your office as opposed to their home.

As for the funds you collect at the signing, sitting on a check from a customer for up to five days waiting out the rescission period is best practice. You can’t keep any of the money for cancellation fees or anything like that unless your state law says you can. Consider holding off on ordering so you don’t get stuck with materials you don’t need. Rather then depositing the funds and using them as cash flow, spending them on something or waiting, consider a higher interest money market account. Deposit the funds and collect interest on your money until the rescission period is over and you need the funds. You will always have the funds prepared to return this way. This really pays off if you have a longer lead-time on your projects.

As a contractor, explaining the fine print is way outside of your job description. Unfortunately, as a business owner, it is necessary. Make it part of your sales pitch and get some positive reinforcement for it. I added it to mine and made the clause a discussion point in the payment and terms portion of my sales presentation. I found that having these details as part of the overall presentation made a better-informed customer and helped close deals on the professional contractor premise. You may even see a drop in rescissions if you do this. That said, if you have enough of them that you are concerned, you may need to look at more than the fine print. Good Luck and thanks for reading.

If you have subject ideas or comments, please send them to me at davidelenbaum@gmail.com.

January 17th, 2012

The Perfect Crew Size by David Elenbaum

January 17, 2012 | Whatever the typical job size for a deck contractor is varies but all contractors deal with the same decision. How many guys should I send out? Running different size crews for different size jobs is usually in the cards but sometimes the workload doesn’t come in the right order. You might end up with four 16 x 20 quickie treated decks to build this week, projects that would not support a four-man crew that typically builds your porches and big composites. Four decks in a week these days is a blessing for many guys, but if it’s just you and a helper running your production, now you’re out three weeks or more. In either case depending on how much you sold those decks for, you may have a profit disaster on your hands or worse, a production disaster. I’ve always maintained that one of the best ways to sell a deck for your competition is to have too much or too little lead-time. Managing crew size and efficiency is essential to the health of your business. So what is the perfect crew size? I don’t know. What I do know is that removing yourself from the equation, the crew size that seems to work the best and be more efficient is an odd number.

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