Tag Archive | "Business Sense"

Business Sense Nov. 2021

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Business Sense: 3 Ways Countertop Fabricators Can Save Money in Their Business

Posted on 19 November 2021 by cradmin

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

Money! There never seems to be enough of it, right? Just when you think you’re in the black, someone drops another slab or a customer complains about a job and you have to rework it for free. Now you’re actually paying to install countertops instead of getting paid. Ouch!

We all know that running a countertop fabrication business can be expensive. That’s why any way to get creative about saving money is so important to try out. Sometimes becoming more profitable might mean adapting to modern technology. And sometimes, it might just be small, consistent acts that can help your savings add up.

Keep reading to find out more about how you can save time and money without cutting the wrong corners. But we have to warn you, they all involve knowing your processes in and out…

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Business Sense Oct. 2021

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Business Sense: Better Data Leads to Better Business Decisions

Posted on 15 October 2021 by cradmin

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

Have you ever heard the saying “garbage in, garbage out”? It’s the perfect description for when you overlook the information input part of your process. If you aren’t thinking about how and why you are entering job info into your job management system, then you won’t be able to pull those insights that will really make an impact.

For this topic, we consulted Kim Duda, an independent consultant that helps Moraware customers get the most from their software for ways that you can get more out of your data.

Uncertainty Is Hard
If we learned anything from the recent pandemic, it’s that not knowing where your business stands in an emergency is scary. Remember 2008? Kim was working in the industry for a fabrication company during the crash of 2008, and she watched a lot of her friends not make it to the other side. That’s why it’s so important to get your shop organized and in a good place sooner rather than later. You don’t want to be left shell-shocked.

“I’ve witnessed this type of thing, and a lot of shops are in reaction mode,” Kim says. Her goal is to help you make it, and one way to do that is to get more out of your data. “If nothing else, the biggest thing I can help with is showing you your data in a meaningful way that can help you make better decisions moving forward,” she says.

Good Data In, Good Data Out
If you’re using software in your shop like CounterGo or Systemize, and aren’t putting accurate information into the system, there’s not a whole lot anyone can do to pull the right information to make meaningful changes.

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Business Sense Sept. 21

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Business Sense: How to Start Streamlining Your Countertop Shop

Posted on 15 September 2021 by cradmin

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

Many of you already know that a growing shop comes with a few growing pains. As more business comes in, your current process (and head) becomes strained. What once worked smoothly, starts to break down. Important details get missed, customers are upset, and the stress is at an all-time high.

This is where streamlining comes in. Taking those processes and creating a system that you can track and maintain is the most important task you can do for your business. Once you organize these, you’ll learn important insights into the way your shop is running. And, you’ll be able to tweak and refine the way you do things to save yourself time and money.

As some very wise fabricators like to say, “you should always be improving.” Refining your processes is a never ending task, but it’s guaranteed to make you and your team better and happier in the long run.

In this post, we’ll talk about some areas where you can start streamlining your countertop shop. Then, you can take your business to the next level and maybe take a well-deserved day off.

Estimating and Sales

It’s pretty common for this area to be the first to get organized in a growing countertop shop. It could be that too many jobs are coming in for one person to bid. Or, that the current estimating process simply takes too long. These situations are stressful and result in losing out on jobs.

The matter of time is an easy fix with technology. With estimating software, you can dramatically cut back on the time it takes to produce a quote while easily training new folks to quote accurately. 

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Business Sense Aug. 2021

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Business Sense: 7 Valuable Things We’ve Learned From Visiting Successful Countertop Shops

Posted on 17 August 2021 by cradmin

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

Over the last 18+ years, we’ve had many amazing opportunities to visit countertop shops. Whether it’s through a tour associated with an industry event or visiting our own awesome customers, we’re always happy to see just how creative fabricators are getting with the way they run their businesses. These visits often include business conversations which really help us understand the changes in the industry and inform our development of new features.

But, it’s not just about us! These tours are so beneficial in creating an open and collaborative tone within the industry. Every time we go explore a new shop, we learn something new and so do other fabricators. In case you haven’t been able to go lately, here are some important themes we’ve learned along the way.

1. There’s not one right way to set up a shop

After visiting so many shops, one thing’s for sure – they’re all so different! For example, some shops have elegant, extensive showrooms allowing homeowners to visualize how great their new kitchen could look. Other shops skip the showroom entirely and opt for a one-on-one consultation.

It’s not right or wrong to have either set-up. If you know your customers and what is going to get them to buy, then you’re doing it the right way. Don’t worry about what your competitors are doing.

Instead, add more activities into your sales process that allow you to understand your customers better. This could be questions that you ask during the first call or a survey you send out after install. The more you know, the easier it will be to (or not to) set up a showroom.

When it comes to machinery, slabs, and equipment, it’s really about your process. How can you arrange your shop so that it shaves off time here and there throughout your whole process? Asking yourself these kinds of questions is really good practice to always be improving. And when you are always improving, you are becoming more profitable. Cha-ching!

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Bus Sense Featured-Image_customer-service

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Business Sense: Good customer service will make you more money

Posted on 19 July 2021 by cradmin

by Katherine Gifford of Moraware

It’s too easy to deprioritize customer service when you’re overworked and you don’t have a large enough team to step in and help. And given today’s market, when the jobs are rolling in with little effort, it’s hardly motivating to put extra work into a part of your business that isn’t production. 

But, the really important, really overlooked fact is that your customers are buying more than new countertops when they sign up with you. They are paying for a whole heap of things: your expertise, their peace of mind, a smooth experience from start to finish, quality products, feeling like they aren’t being ripped off, the list goes on and on. 

The experience you provide will determine if that customer writes a good review, refers you to new customers, and/or books you for future jobs. By offering a less than stellar experience, you’re really only hurting yourself in the long run.

On the other hand, you can choose to provide an amazing experience for your customers and leave them so thrilled they can’t help but refer you to everyone they know looking for new countertops. You’ll reap many rewards, my friends. Like more customers, more money, and less complaints! Let’s discuss some areas for improvement.

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Business Sense Juen 2021

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Business Sense: How to Get Your Time Back With Countertop Software

Posted on 14 June 2021 by cradmin

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

“I am finally able to leave work and go spend time with my family!”

An actual countertop fabricator said that. A few years ago Moraware asked its users how software has helped their business, and their quality of life. The answers were overwhelmingly about the time they were able to get back. The freedom to focus on the important things, whether it’s other parts of the business or more time away from the shop.

So, if you are a countertop fabricator and your days are so jam-packed that you are pulling your hair out, where do you begin? Read on for the first steps to take in reducing the chaos and creating some peace of mind.

Ask yourself, “Where’s my time going?”

When you look at your work days over the last week or so, what projects or tasks have taken up the majority of your time? This is the first step. Any successful countertop fabricator will tell you that knowledge is power. If you track your activities, you’ll easily be able to find areas that you can shave off time from. 

Start with an easy win

With the right software, you can streamline your countertop business all the way through install. Taking a look at your current processes will help you find areas that need improvement. There will always be bottlenecks, so don’t be overwhelmed!  

Many fabricators start by taking a look at their quoting process. It’s an easy, high-reward move that will get you almost  immediate results. When shops switch from quoting by hand to using estimating software, they are able to produce more bids faster than ever. In this case, using software to speed up the bidding process allows for consistent and accurate quoting by anyone on the team and frees up time. Less time wasted on revisions, pricing mistakes, calculations and hand drawing. Extra bonus: because you are able to increase your bid output, you’ll naturally and easily increase your countertop sales. More time and money!

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May 2021 Business Sense

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Business Sense: How to Better Manage Countertop Shop Scheduling

Posted on 12 May 2021 by cradmin

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

What words come to mind when you think about your scheduling process? For a lot of fabricators – especially those with smaller operations – it’s chaos. 

Striking the right balance of supply and demand is what scheduling is all about, but when everyone at your shop is adding jobs, removing them, and making changes, that delicate balance gets thrown off.

Overbooking, underbooking, last-minute additions, and forgetting about holidays are incredibly common, especially when there’s no defined process in place for scheduling.

When your shop has too much on its plate, more mistakes are likely to be made. Not to mention some of your best staff members can get burnt out and leave, and replacing talent in this industry is incredibly difficult.

All of this boils down to a lower margin in an already low-margin industry. But don’t worry – there is a better way, and you can take small strides towards a more efficient scheduling process.

Why Focus On Scheduling?

We talk to fabricators every day, and scheduling is typically one of many bottlenecks they’re facing. What makes the scheduling problem so important?

If you think about it, the schedule is the pulse of your business. It’s what keeps everything else alive. Providing amazing service, having stress-free days, and keeping up with demand all rely on good scheduling.

If you overbook, then you have to call the customer and reschedule, but they just took off work to meet you, and now they want to be compensated for their time. It’s a world of hurt just waiting for you at the end of an already stressful day.

Aside from quoting, nailing down scheduling is often the first place shops start when they want to improve their processes.

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Business Sense April 2021

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Business Sense: Grow Your Countertop Shop With These First Steps

Posted on 15 April 2021 by cradmin

by Katherine Gifford of Moraware

Business is booming in the stone industry! Either you are flooded with new business or you are wanting to be flooded with all that new business. Am I right? Hint: say yes so we can stay friends.

Working with fabricators for decades has shown us that growth can be a huge blessing, but also a huge pain. A growing shop is suddenly faced with strains on their current processes and more stress than ever.

But, growth is something to celebrate! And you deserve to be excited about it. So, we’ve compiled some practical tips that you can start thinking about now. That way you can put your feet up and enjoy the rewards sooner rather than later.

Update Your Processes

I know what you’re thinking – “You always say that!” And you’re right. Because it’s tried and true. The most successful countertop fabricators will tell you how streamlining their processes from quote to install have changed their business for the better.

This quote from the All Slab Fabbers facebook group was so perfect, I had to save it. “If you save 30 seconds on a step you do hundreds of times a day…”

If you could save time by increasing your efficiency in every step of your process, what could you spend that time doing? Being able to focus on the next part of your business that needs attention like marketing, customer experience, and metrics is vital to your growth. So is being able to take a vacation! With a streamlined process established, your shop can scale and grow without being dependent on one or two key people. That’s why we’re in the software-for-countertop-fabricators-business, after all.

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Business Sense March 2021_kpis-400x250

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Business Sense: A Quick Guide to Setting Goals For Your Countertop Business

Posted on 24 March 2021 by cradmin

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

Goals are critical for any business, including the fabrication industry. Without them, it’s like playing a game of darts in a pitch-black room. You keep aiming and throwing, but you have no idea if you’re ever going to hit the bullseye.

That’s where KPIs come in. 

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are indicators that track your progress toward a specific goal. KPIs give your business focus – something to work towards. According to Peter Drucker, “What gets measured gets done.”

In this quick guide, we’ll go over how to set and track KPIs that matter for your countertop shop.

What are KPIs?

KPIs help you track the health of your company. For example, here at Moraware, we track new customer activity as a measure of success. Why? Because we’ve found that if our new customers aren’t active within the first few weeks, they aren’t likely to be active at any point and will cancel. 

That’s one KPI we measure and report on that directly affects the way we do business. What metrics are important for your business?

First and foremost, you want to make sure it can check a few boxes. Here are a few features of a great KPI:

  • You should be able to tell if you’re making progress toward your goal
  • Your measurements along the way should help you make better business decisions
  • You should be able to compare performance change over time – for example, sales this month versus sales this month last year

A KPI can track efficiency, effectiveness, quality, timeliness, governance, compliance, behaviors, economics, project performance, personnel performance, or resource utilization.

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Bus Sense - January 21

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Business Sense: Why Taking Photos of Your Finished Jobs Should Be Part of Your Process

Posted on 05 January 2021 by cradmin

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

One of the best ways to advertise your business is by showing proof of your craftsmanship. Posting photos of your finished jobs on social media and website is a great way to show new prospects what kind of work you’re capable of. Images can also save you from ornery customers who call about issues that might not have any merit.

Taking great photos isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Who should take the pictures – the installers, a photographer, or the customer? How do you motivate your team to take great photos? What kind of equipment should you provide, if any? And lastly, how do you make sure it happens every time.

Two Reasons Countertop Installers Should Take Photos of the Finished Job

Great photos of the finished countertop serve two purposes:

  1. Prevent miscommunication with the customer in case they call about a crack or chip.
  2. Help you promote your shop by showing new prospects what you’re capable of.

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