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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.

Historic Mazza Castle Restored and Repaired for Next 100 Years

Mazza Castle restoration projectEmily McCloskey, the young wife of attorney and Irish immigrant Henry Harrison McCloskey, had grown deathly afraid of earthquakes after the “great earthquake” of San Francisco and the subsequent fire that killed 500 people and left 220,000 homeless in 1906.

Training and Education is Good for One and All

Decorative Concrete Trainer talking with an attendee at a trade show at Brickform last summer.Decorative concrete done well, and properly maintained, is long-term free advertising. It’s like having a huge billboard on the side of the road showcasing your work.

Myth-Perceptions in Polished Concrete: Setting Up For Success or Failure

Microsoft campus in Washington state polished and colored with water-based dyes.The one universal truth about the polished concrete industry is that, sadly enough, there is no universal truth. We don’t agree about what defines polished concrete, what steps are important, or what is the best way to steer the industry.

Which Type of Decorative Concrete is Right for You?

Which type of decorative concrete fits you best.You have, are or will make decisions on your decorative journey, and they will affect you and your family. Our industry, decorative concrete, has so many layers and many types of overlap. This magazine makes it obvious your choices are vast, but make no mistake, each decorative type requires different kinds of training, investment and manpower.

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.

Disorganization Is Hurting Your Contracting Business

Paper clips scattered.When you put in years perfecting your decorative concrete craft , you start to consider yourself an expert in your field. Past customers appreciate your skill, courtesy and professionalism, and they refer friends and relatives to your services. But recently you have noticed something is changing, and this change makes you uneasy.

Net Benefit and Increasing Your Value to Customers

Valuable products get your customers to see thatYour product is valuable. You know it. You hope your customers know it. But how can you be sure? How can you ensure that your product benefits your customers and, in so doing, benefits your company?

Retirement Benefits Aid Employee Retention

People enjoying a sunset in chairs under the tree.Even at its best, owning a business offers a host of challenges. One of the latest: how to get and keep good employees.

Greening Your Decorative Concrete Business

One way to demonstrate your commitment, and incidentally, to cut some expenses, is to green up your own internal operations by looking at your office procedures, transportation practices and on-site operations.Concrete contractors often tell me that they don't have any input in the green aspects of the jobs they work on. By the time the concrete sub is hired, those decisions have been made, so what's the use of even bothering?

Three Critical Components to Effectively Market Decorative Concrete

Drawing a stencil for concrete.Let’s take a look at three critical challenges to marketing your business effectively and how you can resolve them.

Using Muons from Cosmic Rays to Find Degrading Concrete

A new report from Phys.org explains how subatomic particles known as muons are being used to probe the structure of concrete.A new report from Phys.org explains how subatomic particles known as muons are being used to probe the structure of concrete. This is a useful ability because building materials such as pipes and concrete that are part of our energy infrastructure corrode and wear thin or degrade over time. Scientists were seeking a better way to be warned of infrastructure deterioration before it becomes a problem and found that these particles work.

How Long Should You Guarantee Your Concrete Work?

How long should you guarantee your work? It all depends on who you ask. Four successful contractors from California to New York share their philosophy on warrantiesHow long should you guarantee your work? It all depends on who you ask. Four successful contractors from California to New York share their philosophy on warranties.

Nine Tips for Not Getting Lost in Translation

image of the earthToday’s global economy means companies are doing business all over the world, which often requires marketing materials or websites to be available in multiple languages and producing content in several languages may help attract clients who don’t speak English as their primary language.

Ten Tips For Setting Up a Concrete Countertop Fabrication Business

A workbench with tools lit up with an overhead lamp.Getting started in concrete fabrication can be overwhelming. Here are 10 solid pieces of advice that veterans from across the country have for artisans who are setting up shop.

Pros and Cons of Specializing in Decorative Concrete

Part time or full time, should a concrete contractor provide decorative concrete, staining concrete, stamping concrete all the time?I have to guess some, maybe even most, of Concrete Decor’s readers enjoy the benefits of the decorative business as only a part of their contracting services. You may very well be one of the many who are wondering if you should make the leap to specialize in decorative work full time or simply offer it as one of many services.

Why the Formula Approach for Polished Concrete Hurts Our Industry

A picture of a graphing calculatorThe weak economy does not have to make our industry buckle under price pressures. We've forgotten that polished concrete is already the best bargain in the flooring industry, and what's more, we've allowed the formulaic installation to become entrenched in specifications.

Halifax Startup Recycles Carbon Dioxide for Greener Concrete Products

Carbon CureCarbonCure Technologies, a Halifax-based startup that has developed the technology to recycle carbon dioxide gas back into solid concrete.

Define Your Decorative Concrete Business Goals for 2015

Polished Concrete Archery Range - Concrete Decor MagazineMany experts believe the decorative concrete industry will experience large amounts of growth in 2015. That will come from new products and techniques, and a growing awareness of the versatility of decorative concrete.

How You Can Grow Your Concrete Business Beyond Your Local Area

Muted yellow stained concrete overlay in a long hallway with a black swirl design prominently down the center.Veteran contractor Rick Smith shares his expertise on how you can grow your business beyond your local area.

How To Navigate the Craziness of Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting questionsInformation has become the currency of the 21st century. Just look at how fast and easy obtaining information has become. Most of us can access the world from a hand-held phone or PDA. In contrast, it seems like providing basic information when you're the one asking the question can be like pulling teeth.

Controlling Customers' Reactions to Reactive Stains

happy customers after a good transactionExpectations of what a floor should look like will vary from client to client. A client’s views will be shaped by other stained floors seen in person or in photographs. Although all of these things can affect a client’s expectations, the greatest influence on their flooring decision should come from the concrete professional.

Concrete Polishing Pitfalls to Avoid When Bidding

Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts pro football team, as polished by American Concrete Concepts inc., of Springdale, Ark.Arenas and stadiums are a market that is gaining momentum in polished concrete. Between high schools, colleges and professional sports teams, there are a lot of these venues around the country. As they come up for remodel, polished concrete is a great option for the flooring on concourses and even under seats.

A Tool to Help Visualize Decorative Concrete by Depiction Software

Deco-con wizard screen shot.Potential clients often struggle with visualizing what decorative concrete will look like at their home or business. The new Deco-Con Wizard from Depiction Software can help remove the mystery by quickly and easily showing them what selected decorative concrete patterns will look like on their property.

Trends and Problems in a Weak Decorative Concrete Economy

The number of questions dealing with low cost and easy ways to turn a gray slab into something decorative has increased significantly over the last few months.Today's trend has less to do with any certain product and more to do with a weak economy and saving money. Just like people are finding ways to make their cars go another year to save money, so too are they are looking for ways to make their existing concrete work another year.

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