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Successful Contractors Offer Good Customer Service

Man jumping on a graph with an upward arrow of improvement.Turning a profit in today’s construction industry is no accident. This is why it is essential — now more than ever — to practice the strong fundamentals that every successful business is built on. I witnessed a perfect example of such a business this fall and it made me rethink my effort as a decorative concrete professional.

7 Strategies for Managing Working Capital in a Concrete Business

A purple ball point pen next to a blank check.When business is slow and credit is tight, you must do all you can do to preserve working capital, also referred to as operating capital. It’s an important financial metric calculated as current assets minus current liabilities. It’s the difference between the money you’ve been paid and the cash you owe.

How to Take Jobs Beyond Decorative Concrete

concrete contractors installing water featuresThe phrase “decorative concrete” means many things. Depending on your operation, it may mean specializing in one facet, such as concrete countertops, or it may mean everything from stamped concrete to polished concrete.

Treating and Preventing Concrete Burns

Todd Rose's wedding-day photo shows his acid-scabbed hand underneath that of his bride, Sarah.If you work with concrete you already know how abrasive, alkaline and caustic it is.

To put it simply, as portland cement dries, it will absorb water from any source in order to harden. That means it will suck the moisture from your skin as well.

Case Studies Anchor a New Approach to Product Training

Almost all manufacturers of decorative concrete systems and equipment offer some sort of training on their products. Almost all manufacturers of decorative concrete systems and equipment offer some sort of training on their products. Whether it is a one-hour watch-and-learn or a three-day hands-on class that people pay to attend, these programs have become mainstream in our industry.

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.

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?

Niche Markets Help Keep the Recession in Check

Running a business has become more like a chess game, trying to maneuver yourself into the best position to keep the cash flow moving forward.Nothing, and I mean nothing, keeps a person up at night like worry over finding the next job or project. Running a business has become more like a chess game, trying to maneuver yourself into the best position to keep the cash flow moving forward.

10 Tips to Have a More Successful Concrete Business

Concrete Decor magazine 100th issueIf your business is operating smoothly, you may not think some of the things you do every day have contributed to your success because they seem so basic. But when you encounter a business that doesn’t do some of these fundamental things, you may discover how important simple day-to-day acts and decisions are.

5 Ways to Effectively Utilize Your Decorative Concrete Awards

Concrete awards laid out on tableA stack of award submission requests are sitting on my desk staring me down and deadlines are popping up all over my calendar. Many associations and local, regional and national companies and groups in the decorative concrete realm host award programs to help recognize the best of the best.

Finding and Keeping Quality Employees

Tom Ralston trowels concrete to teach his crew how he wants them to do it on the job site.Unless you can handle every decorative concrete job yourself, a skilled, reliable crew is one of the keys to staying in business.

Concrete Decor talked to several business owners and got some great advice about effective ways to train and keep a crew.

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.

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.

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.

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.

How Did the Extreme Winter Affect Exterior Decorative Concrete?

Affects of extreme winter weather on decorative concreteLarge parts of the United States recently experienced a brutal winter of cold temperatures and record snow and ice accumulations.

What You Need to Know about Life-cycle Assessments When Building Green

Green door pn a white building with a green window as well.The U.S. Green Building Council's research suggests that a quarter of new buildings that have been certified in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program do not save as much energy as their designs predicted, and most do not track ongoing energy consumption. These findings don't generate a lot of confidence among the public in green building.

Decorative Surface Solutions Group is First Buying Group for Flooring Industry

grey concrete floor in corridorSuppose your little decorative concrete flooring business suddenly could make deals as if it were a coast-to-coast firm?

The Complete Decorative Concrete Contractor

The colors were stains and tinted sealers from Increte, and metal inlay was used on the perimeter.Five veteran contractors and artisans provide insight by explaining where their decorative concrete journeys began, how their skill sets grew and how diversification has affected their careers.

Presenting to Architects? How to Get Their Attention and Keep It

A successful presentation requires more than just showing up with lunch and a slide show. A successful presentation requires knowing your audience, offering them value, preparation, passion, focus, visual aids and follow-up.A successful presentation requires more than just showing up with lunch and a slide show. A successful presentation requires knowing your audience, offering them value, preparation, passion, focus, visual aids and follow-up.

Insights on What Helps Concrete Contractors Succeed

Contractors across the country share insights on what helps them succeedWhile surveying my peers, I discovered that contractors approach projects differently and require a great variety of tools to get the job done. Perhaps this is why our industry is so innovative and unique.

Successful Concrete Businesses No Matter Where You Call Home

An outdoor kitchen project by Elements, a decorative concrete company in Sheridan, Wyo.Doug Carlton discusses his favorite trait of the decorative concrete industry: Passion.

Researchers File Patent for Fire-resistant Concrete

fire resistant concreteScientists at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) have added polypropylene (PP) fiber to a concrete mix. The technique allows water vapor to escape, preventing pressure from building inside the concrete, making it more fire-proof.

Concrete Industry Offers Lucrative Career Path for Women

Concrete industry offers lucrative career path for womenWomen CEOs of concrete companies are smashing glass ceilings and bucking trends that have emerged for women in other nontraditional occupations. While women CEOs only comprise 2 percent in the basic and infrastructure sectors according to World Economic Forum and Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

How to Get the Job Without Being the Low Bid

swimming pool surrounded by beautiful concrete floorWe’ve all had the phone call with a client where he lets you down gently, saying thanks, but some other contractor came in with a lower number. Sometimes it’s best to just write off those lost jobs, but how do you get the jobs you really want without having to be the lowest price?

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