Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Our Latest Residential Testimonial

We recently completed a driveway in Urbana, Ohio for a very nice lady. Here is what she had to say after the project was completed.

"My driveway turned out beautifully! The crew was extremely professional & courteous, which I appreciate so much. Thank you...I would recommend your work to anyone, in fact I already have.  Donna"

Here are a couple of photos of the guys cutting the control joints in the concrete and cleaning up the area for her.  We appreciate ALL of our employees for quality work and customer service from beginning to end.

And a special THANK YOU to Donna, for her business and referrals. It is much appreciated.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What is a QR code anyway?

I excitedly posted this on our Yoder Concrete Construction, LLC Facebook fan page and waited for responses of how cool it was. I got nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. My husband suggested that I explain what it is and what to do with it because he really wasn't sure how to get whatever it was. I thought he was the only non-techy one looking at the post. However, after reading Why the QR code is failing, it made me realize that maybe only a small percentage of the population know what to do with this. And when you consider our target audience, many being the construction type, that percentage might drop even more. Or even if you know what it is, you may not have the technology to do anything with it. With it being posted on Facebook, you might want to click on it to see what happens. (Nothing. You need a smart phone.) I can see where this could be confusing.

For those of you who don't know, this is a QR code, or quick response code. If you have a smart phone, you can download an app that will read this code like a scanner reads a bar code. The first one I created takes your smart phone right to our website. (How cool is that!) My initial intent was to place the code on all of the work trucks and any new promotional literature. But I have struggled with this for the same reason as the writer of the blog stated. Why would you have it go to your website when you most likely have the URL spelled out in the same place anyway. Then I received a catalog of one of our suppliers, and on the back of the catalog was a QR code. It said to scan the code to download their contact information. (Way more cool!) So now, easy at that, I have that company's contact information in my Droid. That is much handier than sending me to a website that I don't have time to look at anyway. 

So now I am trying to decide if the QR code would be useful to our business. Am I too far ahead of my target audience? Or is the QR code even going to catch on as a good marketing tool? When it comes to concrete construction, what is a good use for the QR code?  If I owned a bed and breakfast, I could use it  to download my recipe for blueberry crunch muffins. If I had a restaurant, it could be a coupon for a free appetizer. Concrete? not so sure. 

Do you have any suggestions for me? I want to be on the cutting edge of marketing technology, but maybe that doesn't make sense in the construction industry. (I am looking for some encouragement here.) What do you think?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Concrete Finishing is a Craft

Are you a craftsman or crafter? Someone who takes various materials and makes them into a beautiful finished product? If you are, you realize that the quality of the products supplied by others and the skill of the craftsman are very important for the outcome of the final product. 

A concrete finisher is a craftsman. We start with a somewhat runny, slumpy mixture of water, cement, and stone, most often supplied and mixed by a ready mix plant using their special recipe for the type of project that is being done.  Chemical or mineral admixtures may be added to the concrete  to change the properties of the concrete as deemed appropriate for the conditions. Color may be added to the concrete mixture, either a powder or a liquid, often added by the ready mix plant. Synthetic fibers may be added to the mix to reduce plastic shrinkage cracks and provide shatter resistance.

An experienced craftsman has come across many things during his or her time doing their craft and have learned how to pre-plan or react to get the end result desired. However, there are times when it is beyond the control of the craftsman, and the end results are not as perfect as desired.

I want to share a specific project that we completed a few years ago that, although beautiful, did not turn out exactly as we desired. The project was a driveway with integral color and a stenciled brick border and a matching stenciled sidewalk. Heat was installed under the sidewalk to avoid shoveling and icing during the winter. It took two ready mix truck loads of concrete to place the driveway, so we placed the left half first, and then the right half with the second truck. The result was that one side was a little lighter in color than the other.

We struggled with what to do to make it right for the customer. In cases like this, we are at the mercy of the concrete ready mix plant to make sure that, in multiple loads of concrete, the color is exactly the same for the entire project. Our solution was to use a colored sealer to blend the colors over the entire project. Because the difference was subtle, and over time the color of concrete changes as it cures, the result was satisfactory.

Fast forward to 2011. We received a call from the homeowner who stated that a small area of the concrete had popped out. He was not complaining but wanted it patched so it wouldn't get worse. I explained to the homeowner that any patching would not match in color. The materials used to patch are different than the original materials, and as I mentioned earlier, the color of concrete changes over time. The homeowner understood and wanted the work done.  One of our craftsman went to the jobsite to do the repair and, in cleaning out the area, found a lump of integral color that had not mixed with the concrete. He continued to make the repair, but saved the color to show the customer.

Often times, we never get the answers to the difficulties we face each day. We have to realize that God is in control and learn from the challenges He throws our way. Funny how, in this case, seven years later, we find out why the color didn't match. Could we have prevented it? Maybe the drum needed to cycle around a few more times, or maybe the color clumped and wouldn't have dissolved anyway. We don't know. We will just continue to do our craft, learn from our mistakes and attend training opportunities when possible. We share a love of concrete and will continue to serve our customers the best we can.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Newly designed website

I am so excited!!!  Have you seen our new website I know some of you have because you came to our blog via the new website.  But if you didn't get here that way, stop reading, go check it out, and then come back...

So, what do you think? ?

Our previous site was a good one;  I used to get compliments on it all the time. It showcased our decorative concrete work very well. Because of this, I felt a twinge guilty about replacing it with a new one. However, in fairness to the company, we are changing, and our website needed to change along with it. Change is good, right?! The previous website was very residential and decorative oriented. As you all know, the economy has struggled over the last few years, and the residential market declined. To ensure survival and to meet our company goals, we have been developing the industrial, large agricultural and light commercial markets.  Our website needed to reflect this change. I hope the new website represents us in this new light, while still showing the residential and decorative market as well.

I would love to get your feedback on the new site. If you were a fan of our old website, what do you miss? My plan is to update the new site on a regular basis with new projects, testimonials and photos.  Feel free to give me feedback anytime.

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Now Hiring Concrete Workers

We are hiring! We have more work than our current crews can keep up with...which is not a bad problem to have as a company, but our customers are not going to appreciate it if we can't get the work done that we've promised.  Here is the ad that is being posted in local papers:

Growing concrete contractor seeking skilled concrete finishers/form carpenters. 7 yrs+ experience preferred with leadership potential. Join a positive, team oriented work environment. Commercial, industrial & residential work, regular & decorative. Paid time off, holiday pay & retirement plan. Must have a valid driver’s license and pass a pre-employment drug screen. EEOC. Call Yoder Concrete Construction, LLC at 937-362-3210. 

If you or someone you know is interested in applying, call us to schedule a time to come out to our office. We'll have you  complete an application and a few other forms. You get to see where we are located and find out a little about us, and we also get a chance to meet you face to face instead of making a first impression from a piece of paper.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Congratulations to a five year employee!

Meet Gary Skaggs, ACI Certified Concrete Flatwork Finisher & Technician. He has been an employee of Yoder Concrete Construction, LLC for five years. To celebrate his five year anniversary, he was awarded a jacket of his choice embroidered by All About Stitches with the company logo, his name and five years of service. He was also given a gift certificate to Chattan Loch Bistro & Public House so he and his wife could enjoy dinner out. I understand they had an excellent meal including dessert and wonderful time.

Gary is a valued member of our staff with not only many years of concrete experience but also outstanding skills in carpentry and masonry.  He is often a crew leader and works well with training newer members of our crews. He rarely misses a day of work and can be counted on to help out wherever needed. Thank you, Gary, for your years of service!

He is also celebrating 30 years of marriage to his sweetheart, Debbie. If you see him, wish him a big congratulations!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Not Just Gray Concrete Anymore

Koi fish pond & fountain
Not your typical concrete: I was privileged to join a group of ladies to Hocking Hills, OH last weekend for a Weekend Retweat. No, I didn't stutter...we "tweet" about our retreat through various social media outlets.  Our stay was at The Glass House, one of the 4 Seasons Hideways in the beautiful Hocking Hills. This house was built in 2010 and was a 2010 award winner for Best of the Best Green Home Design by the Builders Industry Association. It is beautiful and energy efficient, but of course what caught my eye was their use of concrete countertops throughout the house. In the photo above, you'll see concrete seating around a Koi fish pond and fountain right in the middle of the house. This same concrete countertop was used throughout the house in the kitchen, bathrooms and in the laundry room.  I loved the polished finish that exposed the aggregate in the concrete. The concrete vessel sinks were great to see as well. 

While we were there, we visited many of God's wonders including Old Man's Cave, Cedar Falls and Ash Cave. Due to all of the rain we have had this spring, the falls were amazing. I heard people exclaim that they had never seen so much water coming over the falls! Again, the use of concrete caught my eye (I am trained well!) I was expecting dirt or mulch trails at a state park, but at Old Man's Cave, the trails were very well made with both natural and man made elements that gave the look and feel of having been there for years. Beware of those who are not in shape because if you want to see Old Man's Cave, you will need to traverse many steps. But it is well worth the effort! 

Ash Cave is ADA accessible with their concrete walkways back to the cave and waterfall. When making the walkways, they used colored concrete to match the natural dirt color of the area, and they did not use typical straight forms to form up the sides of the sidewalk. The result was a more natural flow blending in to the beauty of the area. 

I would encourage anyone looking for a getaway to go to Hocking Hills in southern Ohio.  You can have the ultra modern conveniences offered by 4 Seasons Hideaways, stay in one of the many cabins, or camp at a local campground. You can walk through the parks or zip line from above with Hocking Hills Canopy Tours.  I can't wait to take my family back to Hocking Hills.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Contractor Alert: First impressions count

Want a professional image for your business? What you say and do can make a huge difference in how potential customers perceive you.

I had lunch with a business colleague last week, and she shared about an experience she had with her neighbor's concrete contractor. She was in her house with her young children minding her own business. The neighbor was having some concrete work done in his backyard (not by Yoder Concrete Construction, by the way,) and the workers were loud with very colorful language in this quiet residential neighborhood. There was only so much this lady could take. She went out and confronted the person in charge asking them to watch their language because there were young children within earshot, and it was not appreciated.

If that wasn't bad enough, not long after, she heard water running from her outside spigot.  She went out, and sure enough, this contractor had hooked up his hose to her house, without permission, because they needed to wash their tools. For some reason, they were unable to reach the customer's water source. She was livid, but being a business owner herself and wanting to maintain relationships, she allowed them to use her water. However, she suggested they ask in advance next time.

Needless to say, she said she would never hire this contractor regardless of their quality or price because of the way they handled themselves on this one project. You could be the best contractor on the planet, but your image may tell consumers something different. There is a simple lesson to be learned here: think about what you say and who might overhear it, and ask permission before trespassing on someone else's property. Be professional at all times. You just never know who is watching. It could be your next customer (or not.)