January 17, 2014

Contractor’s Guide to Surviving the Winter Months

We all know that the winter – no matter where you live – can be a slow time for contractor.  Building retaining walls and other hardscape projects can be much slower in the rain and often stops all together in the snowy places. 

So what is a contractor to do when winter sets in?  TRAINING!

Training is the cornerstone of any successful business, saving you time, money and allowing you to build your business in a way that will reward you for years to come. By making sure you and your staff have the proper training allows you to not only build better retaining walls and outdoor landscapes, but provides you with the tools you need to convey your knowledge to your customer, building confidence and trust between you and the client.
While there are a wide variety of training opportunities available in the marketplace, these allow contractors to gain knowledge and better service their customers:

National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA)
The NCMA provides courses for contractor on the fundamentals of retaining wall installation. These classes are held throughout the country and a list of current classes can be found on their website at ncma.org.

Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI)
The ICPI has a certification program that certified contractors for concrete paving and installation. This certification lasts two years and contractors are required to take continuing education classes to maintain their certification.  Information on this certification can be found at icpi.org.

Allan Block Certified Contractor Program
The Allan Block Contractor Certification Program was developed to give contractors the proper training and tools to ensure top quality retaining walls are built.  Theses training courses include in depth materials on proper construction methods for retaining walls as well as hands on training to really allow the contractor to get a feel for how the products work.  The courses are taught by certified Allan Block trainers. Now certified by the ICPI as an approved class for continuing education, contractors can enhance their knowledge of paving stones with the knowledge of retaining walls – Making them more rounded and valuable in the marketplace.   Classes are set up locally so that you can easily find training near you at allanblock.com/training.
  
Get the Skills
Through training and on-the-job work you build the skills to provide a quality product to the customer. Having the skills and knowledge to tackle any job site, any project challenge with confidence is what sets you, the contractor above the rest.  As a consumer, knowing that your contractor has the training and skills they need to do the job right gives you peace of mind.

Provide the Service
In this day and age where customer service seems to be a lost art, you can set yourself apart from the competition, by providing something no other company does – excellent customer service.  When a customer is satisfied with your knowledge, skills and presentation, you have a client for life.  And having a client means both parties win. As a customer you win a highly skilled professional that is ready, willing and able to meet their expectations and makes the customer feel uniquely special at the same time. As a result, the customer is completely satisfied with both the service and the product which in turn leads to referrals and repeat sales.  The best advertising you can do is have a happy customer.

So what are you doing to pass the time this winter?