Author Archives: CSOA

Is Finish Carpentry A Good Career?

Is Finish Carpentry a Good Career? (Cover)

Although a hampered economy may slow trade work, the trades are always among the first industries to come roaring back after a recession. But which trade is right for you? There are lots to choose from and the answer to the question ‘is finish carpentry a good career’ is typically a suggestive one. But in today’s post, we aim to help people decide for themselves if finish carpentry is right for them by presenting some key considerations and indisputable facts. But as always, you can find more information and resources regarding the trades here

One of the most attractive prospects that the trades have for young people is that these jobs never die. The trades are one of the safest bets in terms of job security. No matter what the economic climate is, people will always need structural repairs, plumbing repairs, electrical service, and other types of projects. Even in the current pandemic crisis, many trade jobs in many states like Washington have been deemed essential.

What is A Finish Carpenter?

A finish carpenter is one who specializes in the finishing touches of a structure construction project. Finish carpenters are typically hired to install molding, hang windows, drywall, hang doors, install stairs, install flooring, and other lighter-duty work. They essentially come in after most of the work is done and handle the more delicate aspects of a construction or remodeling job. Finish carpenters work in both the residential and commercial sectors. 

Why Would Anyone Want to Be A Finish Carpenter?

Finish carpentry tends to be less taxing on the body. In fact, a lot of tradesmen who have been in construction for a long time often shift to finish carpentry because it physically less demanding. If you are interested in the trades but aren’t too keen on doing a lot of dirty work, finish carpentry might appeal to you as well. Most finish carpentry jobs are done in cleaner environments and don’t require the presence of large crews.

There is also the potential for market growth. The job demand between 2016 and 2026 for all carpenters (including finish carpenters) is expected to increase by 8%. So there is also a job security factor at play here. 

What Can I Expect to Make as A Finish Carpenter?

The average annual earnings for all carpenters (including finish carpenters) hovers between $44,000 and $46,500. Of course, these are mean figures. They represent an income that is slightly below the national average. But the local market will be a major factor in how much you can expect to make every year as a finish carpenter. For example, the average annual income of a finish carpenter in New York is about $50, 600 while the average annual income of a finish carpenter in North Carolina is only about $37,000. 

Carpenters in general however can earn up to 70,000 dollars per year if they are exceptionally skilled and service a robust market.

What Does it Take to Be A Finish Carpenter?

The main requirements you will need to cover to become a finish carpenter are 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of job training. All of this can be covered in a 3 to 4 year apprenticeship program. In most cases, exceptionally skilled carpenters who have been in the trade for years make the leap to finish carpentry naturally. 

But aside from qualifications and certifications, you need to have a firm grasp of math. Finish carpenters often follow he blue prints of a general contractor to complete a job. These plans need to be carried out to a tee since someone else came in and did most of the work that will dictate how you go about the work. 

Finish carpentry also requires a keen eye for detail. The best finish carpenters – the ones who earn the lion’s share of the work – will also place a high emphasis on craftsmanship as well. Remember, your job as a finish carpenter will be to put the last, crowning touches on a construction job. More often than not, finish carpentry is at least 50% cosmetic. And while there isn’t as much heavy lifting involved in finish carpentry as there is with regular carpentry, you will still have to be able to bend, stretch and work your body in physically exhaustive ways.

Final Considerations as a Career

So is finish carpentry a good career? Now that you have the important facts, you are more suited than anyone to answer that question for yourself. What may appeal to others may not appeal to you. Like so many things in life, the answer to this question is subjective.

But a lot of people gravitate towards finish carpentry because, at heart, they love the artistry of it. It is a great way to be expressive through trade even though you will be following a blueprint most of the time. It can save your body a lot of wear and tear too. If you would like more information on finish carpentry and other trades, become a member of the Contractors Society of America.

6 Construction Statistics to Consider in 2020

Construction Statistics Cover 2020

Looking for updated construction statistics?

The first quarter of 2020 is officially over and with its departure; we are privy to some statistics that every construction contractor needs to know. Staying abreast of the latest developments, trends, and helpful statistics is what we do here at Contractors’ Society of America. And we are excited to bring you this list of crucial construction statistics in 2020. 

The first quarter of 2020 was a doozy and it is certain to go down as one of the pivotal periods of the modern era. It has been very challenging for construction contracting businesses and has surely forced many of them to change the way they operate and fill open positions. 

But to help you make some sense of it all and keep you ahead of the curve we have curated some of the most relevant statistics for construction contractors. The entries on our list will cover a cross-section of topics that pertain to construction projects, staffing, and the state of the market. Also, please be aware that our list will feature entries from before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find lots more helpful content on our blog page which features articles geared towards keeping today’s contractors informed and their businesses competitive. 

1) Staffing 

The first important construction statistic that we have to discuss comes to us from Construction Dive. The Associated General Contractors of America recently conducted a survey of 2,500 contractors regarding their staffing prospects. 80% of the contractors who responded reported that they are finding it difficult to staff hourly positions in their crews while 56% of them cannot find enough candidates for salaried positions. This statistic is alarming because it points to a general shift away from interest in the construction trade. In order to compensate, savvy contractors have invested in in-house training. This allows them to take unskilled candidates and turn them into craft-workers. Other contractors have simply provided more hours to their existing crews as needed.

2) Women on the Job Site 

Our second statistic comes courtesy of the National Association of Women in Construction.  They inform us that only 9.9% of the construction workforce is made up of women. Construction has always been a predominantly male trade. But with so many other industries equalizing in terms of gender ratio, why is construction lagging behind so much? One reason is that construction work environments have not typically been welcoming to women. But this stat sort of goes hand-in-hand with our previous one. In order to salve the staffing crisis that the industry is now facing, contractors should make it a point to attract women into the trade. Making your company more inviting to women could open up a whole new market of skilled workers that can help compensate for the apparent lack of construction interest.

3) Single-Family Residential Construction is Still Profitable 

After our last recession was over, one of the industries that experienced an immediate boom was single-family home construction. This is evidenced by FMI’s figure that estimated the single-family construction branch of the industry was worth $282 billion dollars in 2018 – the era right after the recession. It is unclear what impact the COVID-19 impact will have on our economy but most experts predict another recession. But that $282 billion figure represented a 4% increase in the previous year – the era right before the recession. So no matter what comes of all this, it is likely that when the dust settles and the smoke clears, developers and investors will need a slew of single-family residences built. 

4) Construction and Technology 

Technology represents another arena in which the construction industry has underperformed. In a study conducted by Autodesk, we can see that only 18% of construction firms utilize modern technology like mobile apps to help manage their projects. In an era where so many things are uncertain, you would think that contractors would be looking to gain any edge they possibly could. And some have. Numerous surveyed contractors stated that they use cloud storage technology to assist with their administrative duties. But this is another way that contractors could be streamlining work, getting projects done faster, and helping more clients that many of them seem reluctant to adopt. 

5) Off-Site Construction Acceptance is Slow 

Prefab and modularization have changed the game for a lot of contractors. With these modern methods and products, they are able to get jobs done faster, easier, with leaner crews and at lower costs. But the interest in this type of construction seems one-sided. In an FMI study, it is apparent that owner organizations are reluctant to accept projects done in the modern off-site style. We read that only 38% of hiring owner organizations are highly accepting of off-site construction methods and a whopping 50% of them still prefer the traditional method of designing, bidding, and then construction. The issue is that many organizations are simply unaware of the advantages of this relatively modern approach. But no matter what the cause may be, it is obvious that owner organizations still want things done the old-fashioned way in 2020.

6) The First 5 Years

The first five years of construction are the most crucial. As we read in this Fundera article, only 65% of new construction businesses make it past their second year. And only a dismal 35% make it through their 5th year. Getting started as a construction contractor can be extremely hard. It can be hard to find ways to get work when you just start out but if you do make it past 5 years, statistically, you have a great shot at sustained success.

Final Words

We hope you have found our list of construction statistics insightful. It is important to leverage construction statistics like these in order to traverse these uncertain times. Staying in the know now can make all the difference in the future. Use these construction statistics as a guide to understanding current trends for the sake of future success. 

How to Find Work as a Contractor: The Ultimate Guide

Want to know how to find work as a contractor? Contractors Society of America has developed The Ultimate Guide.

How To Find Work as a Contractor Blog Cover

Introduction

As a contractor, you most likely already have a considerable degree of gumption and bravery. Striking out on your own as a contractor is a major challenge, and some people simply aren’t cut out for it. We have known extremely skilled merchants in our time that should have started bidding on their own jobs and building a team under them years ago. But they never did because the prospect of drumming up their own work was simply too overwhelming for them. 

So if you have your contractor’s license and are actively looking for work, congratulations. You are already more courageous than many people can be. But now is when the hard work really starts. How do you even find work as a contractor? How do you make your workflow sustainable? How do you drum up new leads? These are scary questions but nonetheless, ones that can be answered. With a bit of due diligence, hustle, and tips, you will be able to find work as a contractor. 

If at any time you would like more information or resources to assist you in your efforts, simply get in touch with us here at the Contractors Society of America. We provide lots of industry resources for contractors of all kinds. 

Part I: Networking & Relationship-Building

1) Get to Know Local Businesses

If you do commercial work of any kind, you are going to want to get plugged into the local business community. Check around to see if your city has a business or professionals’ club you can join. These are usually low-obligation, casual organizations that gain members and meet once a month or so for networking events. 

We knew a contractor just starting out with his handyman business in a sleepy town in Northern California called Santa Rosa. His landlord was actually a real estate agent, and she invited him to join the local business owner’s club of which she herself was a long-standing member. Through her personal references and people he met through the club, this newbie contractor grew his business to 20 employees in just over a year.  

Business clubs like these are a great way to get know other business owners who may need your services as a contractor face to face. Being able to establish a rapport with potential customers and making your name prominent in their minds means that they are that much more likely to remember you when they need a contractor. Plus, if you do good work, you will already have a referral network that could grow your job rate exponentially.

2) Make yourself Available in Multiple Capacities

We know the glamour of the General Contractor title is alluring. But when you are just starting out, it can be hard to win bids against already established companies. You are probably starting out as the little guy in a sea of Goliath’s and you may miss out on a lot of bids in your early days. There is no shame in it – it happens to all of us. 

But that is why it is important to keep yourself open and available in your days as a neophyte general contractor. Do your best to win bids. Do your best to find out who you are bidding against. But when you don’t win bids as a general contractor; seek work as a subcontractor. 

When you lose a bid to another company, reach out to them and let them know that you are willing to help them on the project as a subcontractor. It may not be your ideal but when you are first striking out on your own, you may need all the income you can get. 

A mistake that many contractors make is not even considering doing work as a subcontractor. They don’t go the distance because they don’t make themselves available for paying work – even if it isn’t as a general contractor. Taking work as a subcontractor will help you supplement your income, get your name out there to clients and other contractors, and provide you with the opportunity to show people what you are capable of. It isn’t a demotion so try not to view it as one.

3) Understand (& Learn) Your Clientele

You can’t generate leads and win bids if you don’t know who your clientele is. Your client base will consist of anyone that would ever use your service. For example, if you are going into housing construction, one of your potential clients would be local land developers. If you are in commercial construction, it would be a good idea to get in touch with commercial realtors. If you offer handyman services, your client base could consist of property management companies.

The beautiful thing about being a contractor is that you have no shortage of clientele. But you should make a list of the types of commercial entities and private consumers who are most likely to need your services. This will help you focus your energies on the hottest leads and make the most efficient use of your time. 

4) Scout Prospective Clients

As a contractor, one of your prime objectives is to secure sales. This includes marketing and meeting with potential clients. But how do you find potential clients? One of the easiest ways to find potential clients is to use Google. Your search will depend on the kind of contractor service you offer. For instance, if you are a commercial electrician, you may do a search for “businesses near me.” If you are a remodeling contractor, you could do a search for “real estate offices near me.” All kinds of businesses large and small need electrical services and real estate agents are one of the leading customers for renovation contractors.

Your search will turn up a sizeable list of potential clients and all you have to do is jot their names, addresses, and phone numbers down. But that is not the end…

Part II: Getting Official Clients

1) Sell Yourself & Your Services to Clients

Again, as a contractor, much of your efforts will have to be devoted to securing clients. In many cases, that means pursuing and meeting with clients. Once you have a good list of potential clients in your area, take a day or two to go out and meet with them. Visit them at their place of business, make FaceTime with their secretaries and staff, leave your business card with them etc. If you can meet with them face-to-face, let them know how your services can help their business or improve their property. This may be out of your nature as a tradesman but remember that this is part of your job description now if you want to be a successful contractor.

Face-to-face meetings are ideal since it allows your potential clients to put a face to the service you offer, which, in turn, makes you more memorable than an email or business card. But if you can’t get any FaceTime, emails and phone calls can’t hurt. Reach out to them by any means and let them know the service you provide and that you are ready to go to work for them.

2) Use Lead Generation Services

If you don’t have a lot of time to spare and you can afford it, lead generation services are extremely helpful for new contractors. The best lead generation services are well-established networks that connect owners, land developers, investors, and the like to contractors and subcontractors. 

Their databases are massive and millions of potential clients go to their website every day in search of all kinds of contracting and sub-contracting companies. While many of these lead generation services charge an annual fee and a small fee per each contract won, some of them offer free trial periods that you can use to get started. Keep in mind that there are commercial and residential lead generation services and those that are industry-specific so be discerning with which one you use. 

3) Optimize Your Web Presence

Even if you have just a basic website up for your contracting company, Search Engine Optimization is crucial for business in the modern world. There are tons of SEO guides that are readily available online for free and many of the practices to help your company appear in more Google searches are things that you can do right now. 

You can use Google Ads to find out which keywords are trending in your particular trade and utilize them in the content of your website. 

Pictures with good descriptive captions are another SEO tool that will help you rank higher on Google searches. If available, post a picture of your past work on your website so that Google will be able to find your site easier and pull it up when someone makes a search relevant to your company. 

Conclusion

Even as you start to win bids and work on more projects, you should still be in the hunting mindset. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals from people you have worked for or are working for. Contact architects, mall management companies, construction management firms, and interior designers and let them know you are ready to work. 

Starting out as a contractor isn’t easy but if you aren’t afraid of hard work and venturing outside your established skill sets, you have a great shot.

The Best Power Tool Brands for Contractors (2020 Update)

Best Power Tool Brands for Contractors Graphic

Knowing the kind of tools you will need for a job is only half the battle. If you need to procure tools for yourself and your team, you have a lot to consider as a contractor. Reliability, durability, cord and cordless options are all important factors with power tools. And oftentimes, a company will stake its name on these specific factors.

Contractors Society of America has comprised a list of the best power tool brands based on the firsthand experiences of other contractors, brand reputation and of course, personal experience. The brands we have chosen here also represent versatility. In other words, these are the brands that have the most use across a broad range of contractor fields. Whether you are an HVAC contractor, a roofing contractor a remodeling contractor or any type of contractor of the like, you will surely find a use for the tools made by the following brands.

Keep in mind that in this list, we are focusing on the brands that make the best power tools for professional use. While many of these brands also emphasize consumer and DIY usability, we are going to be focusing on professional contractor use.

Milwaukee

If you have been a contractor in the last century, then you know the name Milwaukee. Milwaukee was established in 1924, and they are innovators when it comes to cordless power tools. In fact, they were the first power tool manufacturer to integrate rechargeable lithium-ion battery technology into their power tools. 

This is one of the things we like best about the Milwaukee brand. As a contractor, we don’t have to tell you how handy cordless power tools are. But reliability and charging are always an issue. Milwaukee power tools charge quickly, stay juiced for a long time and the batteries don’t burn themselves out as quickly as other of the best power tool brands. 

We personally loved the Milwaukee 2896-24 18V Combo kit which includes an M18 Fuel Sawzall. This sawzall is a beast. Whether you are cutting through vinyl fascia or the nails that secure them, this thing maintains its power via the innovative M18 Fuel power system that Milwaukee has garnered tons of industry praise for. The set comes with interchangeable spare batteries which is always helpful on the job site. 

Another great thing about Milwaukee power tools is that all of their modern products run off of one of four battery systems. So you can use the same battery for your Milwaukee hex impact driver as you do for your Milwaukee hammer drill.

Craftsman

Craftsman may not be the first name you think of when you think of the best power tool brands for contractors, but that is only because they have brands under them. Craftsman is actually part of the Stanley Black & Decker family of products so right off the bat, you know they are manufactured to strict standards of quality. 

But the main reason we included them in our best of the best power tool brands for contractors is that they manufacture perhaps the widest array of power tools, hand tools and outdoor equipment of any other brand; which means this brand is useful for a variety of contractors. 

For instance, did you know that Weedwacker is actually a Craftsman brand? It’s true. Weedwacker has become a general term for all kinds of string trimmers but the specific name is a registered trademark of Craftsman.

If you are a landscape contractor then you couldn’t do too much better in terms of a string trimmer than a Weedwacker from Craftsman. 

Aside from tool versatility, Craftsman has also become known for power versatility. They offer a generous line of corded, cordless, battery and gas-powered tools. So no matter what your preference is or what your line of work calls for as a contractor, Craftsman will more than likely have a set of tools you can get great use out of.

Ridgid

We couldn’t forget about our plumbing and HVAC contractors out there. That’s why we have included Ridgid in our list of the best power tool brands. Ridgid is known for reliability. The company was founded in 1923 and began specializing in quality hand tools like pipe wrenches. But in our personal experience, Ridgid makes some of the best drill kits and impact drivers we have ever used. 

They last a really long time and maintain consistent performance no matter how hard you work them. But let’s get down to brass tacks. The Ridgid brand will be your best friend especially if you are an HVAC or plumbing contractor. Their hand tools for these specific trades are world-renowned and although they offer just a limited line in terms of power tools, even they are a solid choice. 

Ridgid is also an affordable brand if you are shopping for power tools. If you are looking for a basic set of power tools that can be put to multiple uses, Ridgid is a great brand to choose.

Bosch

Bosch represents one of the oldest companies on our list. The company began in Germany all the way back in 1886. Bosch made our list for a number of reasons. The first of which has to do with the brand versatility. Bosch is known for making power tools for virtually every trade. If you are in residential construction, Bosch has specialized tools for you. If you are a plumbing contractor, Bosch makes a power tool you won’t be able to do without. If you are an electrician, you likely already have some Bosch tools in your arsenal.

We have personally worked with Bosch tools a great deal and on different job sites we have noticed one thing about Bosch power tools: they keep a charge for a very long time. We have seen crews complete multiple projects on a single charge. In particular, we really like the performance of the 18V Bosch drill set. It delivers 1,500 pounds of torque which is enough for metal workers and professional construction contractors alike. And the hammer and anvil system that they innovated for their impact drivers is one of the most impressive we have ever come across. Again, with just one charge, we were able to use this impact driver on multiple projects without losing any impact power. 

In our opinion, their 18V tool sets are the best. The reciprocating saws and hammer drills pack enough power to get a variety of jobs done and you don’t have to fumble around with chargers and batteries as much as you do with other power tool brands. 

Makita

If you prefer to use pneumatic tools in your line of work, then you are probably already well-acquainted with the Makita brand. Makita makes some of the best compressed-air powered tools in the industry. Their family of pneumatic nailers represent the acme of durability, precision, and power. 

The interesting thing is that Makita didn’t even start making power tools until the 50s. They make a wide variety of power tools and equipment which were designed for the job site (their industrial fans and radios are some of the best we have ever come across) which is one of the reasons we chose to include them on our list of the best power tool brands for contractors. 

The cordless line of 18V power tools from Makita, which features the incomparable brushless XDT impact driver, is the way to go if you are just getting started with Makita tools. They are never underpowered and provide long battery life that any type of contractor will appreciate. They are designed very well too. We know contractors that have owned a single Makita power tool for over a decade and still use it to this day. 

But perhaps the most impressive thing about Makita power tools is the consistency of quality throughout their product catalog. They make rotary hammers that are the top-choice for many construction contractors we know, power sanders that woodworkers get decades of use from and circular saws that are considered the best by many construction contractors. In short, they are versatile. Many types of contractors can benefit greatly from the consistent performance of a wide variety of Makita power tool. And that’s why we like this brand so much.

Honorable Mentions

There were a few other brands that we wanted to include in our list such as Ryobi, Black + Decker and Kobalt. But if we added any more brands to our list, we would have composed an overly-long blog. Instead, our succinct list features the best of the best. Hopefully we have shed some light on these worthy brands and maybe even helped you with your next purchase. Here at Contractors Society of America, we are always looking to provide helpful resources to our fellow contractors and tradesmen. Feel free to get in touch with us for more helpful information.

What COVID-19 Could Mean For Electricians

 

COVID-19 for Electricians Cover

As a skilled tradesman, COVID-19 has almost certainly impacted your business in some way.

But for many tradesmen, like electricians, your work is considered essential, and therefore; you can continue working even under stay-at-home orders in many cases.

So what is the responsibility of an electrical company and an electrician during these uncertain times?

Communicate Digitally

Your customers are going to want to know what the deal is. But you can’t answer every phone call since the volume has tripled, in many cases.

Instead, you want to make your stance on COVID-19 accessible online.

There are a few ways to do this:

Google My Business

Perhaps the easiest way to display information regarding coronavirus procedures is through your Google My Business listing. GMB has new features that allow you to specify whether you are remaining open during the crisis. You can also add Google Posts further detailing your points of emphasis.

Company Website

Your main website should have a notice that explains your COVID-19 procedure and whether your company is remaining open. As an electrician, it is likely that you are an essential worker and therefore should demonstrate that in your website notice. The notice should either appear at the very top of your site or should pop-up automatically to visitors so that they don’t miss it.

Exercise Precautions with Staff & Customers

Since the virus is contagious, the last thing you want is to spread it to one of your staff or especially to one of your customers. That’s why you should exercise every precaution before attempting to conduct a service. It starts with staff accountability and a strong message that any symptoms should be taken seriously, and that technician should stay home.

COVID-19 Notice

Follow The Guidelines

Make sure you follow CDC guidelines for coronavirus prevention. After all, you should not trust any non-reputable source to explain how to prevent the virus from spreading. There are lots of opportunists looking to profit off of fear, economic turmoil, and other anxieties spreading across the globe.

Show Leadership in Your Community

How you handle crisis goes a long way towards building your reputation for the future. Studies show that customers remember the performance of services during times of crisis more than in normal times. As an electrician, this means that prioritizing safety and also performance can go a long way.

Ease Customer Concerns

Customers aren’t going to want irresponsible workers coming in their homes during this time of great crisis. The best way to prove your safety is to demonstrate the precautions you are taking, in detail. Whether that is wearing gloves, masks, and other protective materials, to monitoring all staff members for even the slightest symptoms. Make sure your clients know you are taking this seriously.

Looking Toward The Future

Although the future is uncertain for many, running a business requires a bit of foresight. That means electricians are going to have to consider what their business will look like once the worst of the pandemic has ceased. Hopefully, for those members of the Contractors Society of America, they will be in great health, and thriving as leaders in their respective communities, including their digital ones.

Five Popular Playground Flooring Materials

Traditionally, tarmac and asphalt were the most widely used materials for playground flooring. This is mainly due to them being strong, inexpensive, and relatively safe in wet conditions. However, these do wear over time, especially in extreme climates, and neither are the softest surface for children to fall on to.

Artificial Flooring Materials
These days there are a variety of playground flooring materials available, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Once you have chosen the flooring most suitable for you, you can use a local directory to find a relevant and experienced contractor to complete the job.

1. Interlocking Rubber Tiles

Interlocking Rubber Tiles have become popular as a playground choice as it is durable, strong, and non-slip. They allow water through which means they can be used shortly after rainfall has passed. These are a greener, more environmentally friendly option as they are often made from recycled rubber. Rubber tiles are also fairly low maintenance, easy to clean and can be polished with water-soluble wax which prevents damage and loss of color. Safety is a big factor when selecting flooring for playgrounds, and rubber tiles are ideal as they are non-slip.

2. Artificial Grass

Artificial grass brings an element of color to any drab, grey playground. It’s much softer than hard alternatives such as concrete but does require more maintenance. There are also benefits to using artificial grass over natural grass as it doesn’t need to be mowed, weeded or watered, and lasts for many years.

3. Wet Pour Surfacing

Wet pour surfacing provides another environmentally friendly option, as it is made up of recycled rubber which is bonded together to create a safe playground surface. It’s a good weather resistant option as it does not crack in harsh weather conditions and is not slippery when wet. Wet pour surfaces can be used in conjunction with thermoplastic markings, making them ideal for games and especially sports as they are also impact absorbent.

4. Real Grass

Real grass offers many benefits but is higher maintenance than other options available. The visual appearance of grass is uplifting and can provide a classier, more authentic feel for schools trying to achieve that. Real grass is environmentally friendly as it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen which will help to reduce global warming. Grass will also provide microorganisms to live and is in general a cooler surface than artificial options – ideal for warmer, sunny climates.

Real grass needs to be cut on a regular basis, and may need also weeding and watering, making it more costly over time than some alternatives.

5. Wood Chips & Mulch

One of the more expensive options, wood chips and mulch offer an attractive solution for any playground floor, especially as they are available in multiple colors. However, they can lose their color and texture over time and are not as durable as some of the other flooring options.

Why Concrete is The Most Popular Building Material

It’s essential to ensure a durable material is used when constructing houses and buildings, so that they can survive environmental conditions and last the test of time. Concrete is widely considered to be the most popular building material as it provides a variety of benefits, including durability, sustainability, low cost and energy efficiency.

Construction Worker Concrete Building

Concrete has been used to create multiple infamous structures including the Hoover Dam, Panama Canal and Roman Pantheon. The material was first introduced in Roman times, where it was used widely to provide all kinds of structures. Nowadays, Estimates suggest that the concrete industry provides over 2 million American jobs.

Durability

Concrete is the most used material throughout the world, mainly thanks to its durability and strength. Concrete can handle almost ever climate and is resistant to erosion, rotting and rust- meaning that it requires minimal maintenance. Concrete can outlast wood and other common building materials and its strength improves over time.

Sustainability

Concrete is environmentally friendly throughout the construction process, from raw material production to demolition. This certainly contributes to its popularity as a building material, now that building culture is moving towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly construction. Limestone is the raw material used in cement which makes concrete. Limestone is a plentiful resource, however concrete can also be made with power plant by-products, such as ash.

Versatility

Concrete can be used for the construction of buildings, dams, tunnels, pavements, roads and bridges. It’s fire resistant which increases the number of projects it can be used on.

Malleability

Raw materials used to make concrete include air, cement, water (to form a paste) and aggregates (sand, gravel, crushed stone). When these are combined a chemical reaction occurs and the paste hardens with rock-like strength. Concrete is malleable whilst wet and strong once hardened, making it extremely versatile. As concrete can be poured, this means it can be molded in to any shape desired. Concrete is routinely used for foundations, roads and bridges for this reason.

As concrete can be poured, this means it can be molded in to any shape desired. Concrete is routinely used for foundations, roads and bridges for this reason.

Energy Efficiency

Concrete is highly energy efficient and buildings built with it can enjoy concrete’s ability to absorb and retain heat. Conversely, light colored concrete absorbs less heat and reflects sunlight, which is ideal for pavements in warmer climates.

Concrete is sound proof, ideal for family homes and houses/buildings built near busy roads or in loud city areas.

Cost

Concrete is one of the most cost-efficient building materials and its price remains steady even when other material costs change. Costs do vary depending on the grade, finish, surface preparation cost and tools required so it’s important to bear this in mind.

Innovative Roof Shingle Granules by 3M Can Actually Reduce Smog

In the midst of cool roofing development, 3M has designed a new way to be environmentally friendly in your roofing selection. Through innovative technology, 3M has created a form of roof shingle granule that actually reduces the amount of smog caused by nitrogen oxide in the environment.

A New Kind of Technology

3M Smog Reducing Granules

These Granules, Produced by 3M, Transform Dangerous Smog Into Harmless Water-Soluble Particles.

Tested by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the smog reducing granules deliver a chemical reaction when activated by UV rays which transform the nitrogen oxide into water-soluble ions. This is achieved through a photocatalytic coating that is applied to the base mineral of the shingle. These granules are blended with traditional granules to ensure the delivery of optimal color and design.

“The roofing granules are a first for residential asphalt shingles. The new 3M smog reducing granules will help roofing manufacturers develop high quality, aesthetically-pleasing shingles that can turn any roof into an active smog reducing catalyst, essentially becoming smog’s worst enemy,” says Frank Klink, senior laboratory manager, 3M.

A Larger Purpose

The smog reducing granules were introduced in early Summer 2018, just before the announcement of 3M’s Sustainability Value Commitment, made at the Dec 5 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24). The company says that a Sustainability Value Commitment will accompany every new product beginning in 2019.

“Sustainability is at the core of 3M—but we’re looking to do more,” said John Banovetz, Chief Technology Officer, 3M. “We are proud to formalize our commitment to this next step in innovating for a sustainable future.”

The commitment includes sustainability methods like recyclability, reusability, energy, water savings, responsible sourcing, and renewable materials. 3M has always been at the forefront of sustainability efforts including participation in the Pollution Prevention Pays program and has been listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 19 consecutive years.

Marketing Budget Creation for the Small Construction Company

Creating a marketing budget for any business is difficult, but the construction industry has more competition and overhead than almost any other landscape, making the process exponentially more difficult. Many times, construction business owners spend thousands of marketing dollars without ever knowing what is working and what isn’t. This wastes both time and money and leaves business owners feeling frustrated. However, a well-organized marketing plan can help identify your business goals, track customer knowledge, and facilitate a higher ROI. In order to create a balanced, productive marketing budget, use these expert tips.

Learn Your Funnel

In order to create an effective plan, you must first know your customer base. This information can be easily tracked online with programs like Google Analytics and can tell you exactly where your customers are going, what’s bringing them to your site, and when they are completing the conversion or sale.

Man Looking Over a Marketing Plan

A Great Marketing Plan Promotes Your Business Effectively and Continuously.

Take a look at these metrics for in-depth information:

  • Interactions Per Visit: Tells how many interactions your visitor had before leaving
  • Bounce Rate: Defines the number of visitors that only visited one page before leaving
  • Session Duration: Reports how long each visitor was on your site
  • Direct and Assisted Conversions: Shows which efforts lead to each conversion

Know Your Competition

Research your competition’s marketing efforts including their website, social media, and any other platforms. Study which methods seem to be working best and take note of productive strategies that you can implement. When performing your research, consider these points:

  • What marketing efforts are they using?
  • What keywords are they implementing?
  • Are they on social media channels that you’re not utilizing?
  • What content seems to be the most popular?

Know Your Operation Cost

When planning any business budget, it’s important to know what your average project costs. This includes product used, time spent bidding, planning, and completing the job, and any equipment usage or rental use. Once you know what your average job costs, you can effectively decide how much marketing costs should be for a specific period of time. Marketing should be around 10 percent of your overall budget. For instance, if a $400 repair service costs you $200 to complete and your goal are to complete 20 repair projects per month, then your expected costs and profit are each $4000 for the month. With this in mind, you can set an effective marketing budget with built-in measurement metrics.

Know Your Goals

When creating a marketing plan, it’s crucial to know your business objectives. What do you want to accomplish in the next year? If increasing your air conditioning repair business is your main goal, then heater marketing efforts would not be the way to go. Create marketing efforts that align with your business goals and help you reach them.

Common Marketing Efforts for Construction Companies

Even after you have your marketing budget, deciding where to spend your marketing dollars can be difficult. In today’s landscape, online marketing is King and should be the number one marketing outlet used by just about every type of business. Construction is no exception to this rule. There are multiple ways to market your business online, from organic optimization to social media coverage and even syndicated content.

Google Ads

Google Ads

Advertising with Google helps you reach your exact target market with a predetermined budget and plan. This platform allows you to create unique marketing campaigns easily to get in front of just the right people. It also offers in-depth analytics for accurate evaluation and revision.

Social Platforms

Social Platforms

Each social platform offers a paid marketing option for businesses. These options help get your content in front of the right people with customized demographic and psychographic targeting as well as analytics metrics to show you exactly what’s working.

Syndication

Syndication

Syndication efforts are designed to distribute your content more effectively and involve another site displaying your original content. This directs visitors back to your site for increased traffic. While more difficult to measure, pixel tracking and Google Analytics are both great helpers.

Because of the intricate nature of the construction business and the never-ending competition for clients, creating a productive marketing plan is essential to the success of your business. Your plan should be intricate, multifaceted, and detailed, leaving little room for error or deviation. When you need a design that works, the professionals at Contractor Webmasters can help you create a viable, productive marketing plan for your construction business that generates leads and higher ROI than ever before. Receive expert advice, guidance, and direction from experienced marketers that know the construction landscape. Call us today at to learn more.

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