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Three Steps to a Successful Decorative Concrete Sample

Making a concrete sampleToday’s lesson is one each decorative concrete professional must heed: Creating the perfect project sample is the path to your artistic future.

Developing Effective Polishing Specifications for a School

A schoolhouse on a gray background.Recently an architect who was writing the polished concrete specification for a school district contacted me when he recognized that he did not know enough. The good news is that he asked for help in crafting an informative and realistic specification that allows educated bids with room for profit.

Strengthen Your Friendships with Architects and Designers

drawing of building with architecture Being a successful concrete professional requires more than skill with trowels, colors and coatings. You also need to network. Networking requires investments in both time and infrastructure, but you will almost definitely see an increase in your business if you are thoughtful about your approach.

Decorative Concrete Imaging Software Helps Contractors Bring Ideas to Life

Here is a shot of a boy on a patio and it shows the difference between what the space currently looks like and what it could look like with a different color or pattern.When Depiction Software LLC adapted two standard types of construction software to fit the needs of decorative concrete contractors, it brought decorative concrete planning into the 21st century.

Planning for Success in Polished Concrete

Planning for success in the future with a clock face.There are new profit opportunities in polished concrete for the decorative concrete contractor. This is a fact, and every decorative concrete contractor should look into polished concrete. However, nothing ever caused more people to go broke than too much optimism and too little planning.

New Faces: Fall 2013
PCA says U.S. cement consumption increased in 2013
Super-Krete's President Honored by Forbes as Concrete Entrepreneur

Super-Krete Tracey LackovichOn Oct. 30, Forbes published an excellent profile of Tracey Lackovich, President of Super-Krete International Inc. When Lackovich was building her company, she was also an NFL cheerleader for the San Diego Chargers.

Recognize and Respect the Value of a Good Concrete Worker

Keep a good concrete crew going - Between the money you dole out each week on wages, payroll taxes, insurance and worker's comp, you spend more on employees than all your other assets combined. Even though this is a fact, most contractors have a hard time recognizing employees as assets. Why is this and how can you remedy that situation?Between the money you dole out each week on wages, payroll taxes, insurance and worker’s comp, you spend more on employees than all your other assets combined. Even though this is a fact, most contractors have a hard time recognizing employees as assets. Why is this and how can you remedy that situation?

New Technique Could Make Cement Manufacturing Carbon Neutral

carbon neutral cement productionThe manufacturing process which produces ordinary portland cement, the ubiquitous ingredient in the concrete used around the world, is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. New research suggests that portland cement can be produced with no carbon dioxide emissions.

Settling on a Design For Your Job Ahead of Time

Coming up with a design idea.You don’t need me to tell you how tough today’s market is for contractors, and few will disagree that the ball is in our customers’ court. Razor-thin margins allow no room for error in one of the many things we used to pay little attention to.

Two Money-Making Alternatives for Polishing Contractors

Dollar bills lying on top of each other.As business owners, as soon as we open our eyes each day, we begin to think and search. Where are we going to find more work for our crews? Besides the usual options of bidding on new construction projects, refurbishing old polish jobs or removing epoxy coatings, there must be other ways to make money with our equipment and skills.

New Formula for High-Strength Shotcrete to Protect Tunnels from Fires and Terrorist Attacks

Fire-proof shotcrete Concrete Decor Magazine Phys.org reported that the science magazine Rubin published research conducted by engineers at Germany's Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum who have developed a shotcrete that can render tunnels, bridges and other structures more resistant against fires and explosions. The new formula enhances concrete with 140 kilograms of steel fibers per cubic meter, a figure that was thought to be impossible for shotcrete. The science magazine Rubin reports that engineers at Germany's Ruhr-Universität Bochum have developed a shotcrete that can render tunnels, bridges and other structures more resistant against fires and explosions.

The Four Fundamentals of Any Business Strategy

Ideas and brainstorming on paper.Business strategy is the conscience you need for effective decision-making as you wade through the ambiguous waters of entrepreneurship. You face a lot of uncertainty as a decorative concrete business owner, and having a coherent business strategy is fundamental to minimizing that uncertainty.

Don't Get Pushed Around by Clients - Get Paid
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A family pushing a car.We all wish that we could tell our customers, “Screw you! I did the work. Pay me!” I know that in my career I have gotten just about every excuse in the book as to why I wasn’t getting paid for my work. By its very nature, the decorative concrete industry that we love so much allows customers to play with our money.

Getting the Most Out of Decorative Concrete Educational Opportunities

Group of people learning from Fu-Tung Cheng in a training course.The cold truth is that our industry has seen its share of truly talented decorative concrete individuals fail, and it’s not because they weren’t good at their craft. Today’s artisans must be more than talented — they must be capable of overlaying talent with an entrepreneurial spirit. That's where training and education comes in.

10 Milestones in the History of Concrete

As Southern California contractors,
Rod Sadleir and his brother, Gerry,
were among the first to resurface concrete
with a very thin polymer-cement overlay.Concrete is a remarkable material with origins stretching back to antiquity. Concrete and its primary ingredient, cement, have changed a lot over the years, but the following timeline helps bring the history of this important material into the present day.

Solid Branding: Tips on Websites, Logos and Business Cards

Solid Branding: Tips on Websites, Logos and Business CardsDecorative concrete requires an artisan’s touch. You do beautiful work and the results speak for themselves. But like your work, your company image and brand identity should speak to that same level of quality. The modern consumer trusts brands that look professional and have a clean look.

Cement Has Now Been Successfully Reinforced Using Plastic Waste

plastic-reinforced concreteResearchers have successfully reinforced concrete with plastic waste, paving way for the first large-scale sustainable construction practice.

Profitable Concrete Stamping in Five Steps

The final stamped concrete job that has a red color on it.Profit is the byproduct of a high-quality decorative job. There is a big difference between learning to stamp concrete and learning to stamp profitable concrete. In this article we will discuss how to set your job up, as well as the installation process.

Are You Afraid to Seal Concrete?

Serene setting at a upscale hotel where luxurious lounge chair sit atop a stamped concrete pool deck.I firmly believe that the lifeblood of our industry is new and innovative products that continue to move the decorative market forward. A close second, the oxygen of our industry, is word-of-mouth advertising by satisfied clients who have had their expectations met.

Seven Fundamental Ways to Improve Your Sales

Fundamental building blocks.Making sales is arguably the most fundamental function of business. Maintaining an effective and relevant sales strategy is absolutely critical since it directly impacts your top-line (gross sales) growth more than any other function. Here are seven actions you can implement today to win more decorative concrete jobs and increase sales.

How to Survive and Thrive when Doing Decorative Concrete Overseas

In the United States, decorative concrete is advanced at a level that it is not at anywhere else. When you're overseas, be prepared to educate.In the United States, decorative concrete is advanced at a level that it is not at anywhere else. When you’re overseas, be prepared to educate.

Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business

relationship marketing venn diagramDecades ago our country moved from an industrial economy to a service-based economy. More recently, that service-based economy has further evolved into an experience-based economy. Customers are wanting — and businesses are providing — an added experience and feel to compliment customer service.

Sorting Out Responsibility When New Work Fails

Problems with stamped concrete can be a challenge for contractors.When a problem occurs with a recently installed decorative concrete job, who is responsible? I understand that this is a loaded question, and there are lots of factors to consider, but the question still stands.

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