Training classes are too expensive. Training classes take up too much time. These are common complaints heard from concrete contractors. Sending just one person to a training class can cost a lot of money and, more importantly, take a valuable applicator out of the field for days at a time. These factors often prevent contractors from attending training seminars. However, a good training experience can more than make up for these costs.
Contractors new to decorative concrete can benefit from training in a few ways:
Opening New Job Opportunities
Attending decorative concrete training classes open new opportunities. They teach applicators to stamp, stain, place overlays, and other decorative techniques. This opens up a whole new, varied market, increasing potential business opportunities. Including decorative concrete in your offerings makes it possible to reach new customers. By training your crew on decorative finishes, you expand your potential client list.
Commanding a Premium
“I don’t need new jobs; I’m busy enough already,” is a common cry for the concrete contractor. Many contractors have waiting lists that are weeks, even months long. They spend all their available time churning out slabs as fast as possible. But there is still a missed opportunity. It’s no secret that decorative concrete commands a premium. Even simple touches, like decorative borders or stained accents, can improve earnings. Sending even a couple crewmembers to a decorative training seminar can transform that packed schedule into something far more profitable.
Jumping in Headfirst
It’s tempting to forgo training, throw a set of stamps and bottle of stain at your crew, and jump headfirst into decorative concrete. A few concrete contractors may find some degree of success doing this, but nothing compares to being fully and competently trained before starting. Training can make a huge dent in the learning curve and adequately prepare your crew before they even step on the first jobsite. As Solomon Colors sales manager and expert trainer to trainees Steve Johnson often says, “make your mistakes here.”
For more information on the merits of expanding into decorative concrete, check out 7 Reasons Contractors Should Do Decorative Concrete.
But what about current decorative concrete contactors? The contractors that have spent years stamping, staining, and more in the field? What possible value could training have to compensate for the time and money costs:
Time is money. Material is money. Wasting either one eats into your profits unnecessarily. If one or two members of a crew are properly trained and experienced, they could spend all their time instructing the other crewmembers. This slows down the operation and decreases the number of jobs you can complete over time. Inexperienced applicators can overuse materials or simply make wasteful mistakes. Make sure your whole crew is properly trained to a similar degree. You will decrease the amount of time and material they waste, improve their teamwork, and increase profitability.
Fine Tuning Technique
Many training attendees have years of experience with decorative concrete. You might wonder why they continue to attend training seminars if they already know what they are doing. The simple answer is they want to refine their skills. By continually attending training courses, demonstrations, and classes, you can improve on what you are already doing. Even slight improvements to the quality of your finished product allow you to command a premium.
Decorative concrete is a wide, and varied category. Even if narrowed down just to stamped concrete, there’s innumerable different techniques and variations to work with. So, even if you’ve mastered one segment, there’s always more to learn. By regularly attending decorative concrete training seminars, you can take your stamped concrete business and expand into overlays and restoration, for example. You may even find that, once you learn about a new segment of decorative concrete, your business converts entirely to that. Expanding skills into new types of decorative concrete opens different markets with more business opportunities.
Most contractors are hesitant to take their crews off the jobsite and spend money on training, especially in the middle of the busy season. It makes sense to want to keep your crews out there finishing jobs and making money. But taking part in a quality training program can more than make up for the expense and lost time. Learning new skills and improving old ones increases the quality of work and earning potential over time. One long weekend of training can pay dividends for years to come.
Solomon Colors designs training events for the maximum return on investment. Each Brickform Contractor Education Seminar has small class sizes that give attendees hands-on experience with a wide variety of products and techniques. For an even better value, Solomon Colors is hosting the Decorative Concrete Fair August 17 – 19, 2017. Just three days and $50 (early registration) gives you access more than 9 of the most acclaimed trainers in the country, over 6 of the leading material and equipment manufacturers, several industry organizations, and centuries of combined decorative concrete experience.