Wednesday, November 25, 2015

North American Fence Contractors Association Fence Training School 2016

North American Fence Contractors Association
 Fence Training School 2016

It's time to register for the 2016 NAFCA Fence Training School to be held February 8-10, 2016 in Sebring, Florida. The school offers hands on field training in most aspects of fence installation. This year classes will cover Access Control, Chain Link, Farm and Ranch, HTP Rail & Strand, Ornamental, Vinyl, Wood, Welding, Tools and Equipment, and Safety.

Students will learn and practice techniques and procedures while trained by industry professionals with combined experience of over 250 years. Anyone can attend, and this course has helped installers, crew leaders, sales staff and schedulers to better understand the tasks necessary to properly install many types of fencing while maintaining a clean, safe work environment.

There is not a better fence education value offered anywhere. Tuition covers the cost of instruction, hotel accommodations, (shared room), and two meals a day. The last day of instruction concludes with a banquet and graduation ceremony at the hotel. Spaces are limited, so sign up now.

To register for the NAFCA 2016 Fence Training School, go to and click on the link for application, or call (613) 543-2433.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Why People Buy...Understanding Your Customer = More Sales, Better Profits

Why do people buy your product? There are thousands of reasons, but surprisingly few motivations. Knowing what those motivations are can help you sell your products and services more successfully. Many think that price alone is the most important factor in a deal. While price is a factor in every deal, it is not the primary motivating factor in most of them. Let's deal with several that often motivate sales more than price. Remember, you only need one motive to close the deal.

Convenience – A customer motivated by convenience loves the fact that you have what he needs, you know what he likes and you can process his order without a lot of hassle on his part. He is usually too busy to talk for very long and appreciates that you understand that and can supply what he wants. Think of the “one stop shopper”.

Service – This customer is related to the one motivated by convenience. He wants you solve the problems and provide what others can't, or won't. He doesn't want to have to hold your hand through the deal, and is definitely not a “DIY” kind of buyer. You won't see this customer bagging his own groceries at the store.

Compliment – You can gain the ear of this buyer with a sincere compliment. But don't try empty flattery. If you point out what a lovely yard they have, and it is filled with junk cars and old refrigerators, you lose. If you tell that same customer that their things are too valuable to leave unguarded, you may just sell them a fence. (If it is 6' privacy fence you can collect extra commissions from the neighbors!)

Security – This isn't about access control. A customer motivated by security wants to know that you have the right product for the job, you stand behind the product, and you have been around long enough to have a solid track record. (This little pig builds his house out of brick!)

Performance – A customer motivated by performance is interested in knowing that the product will live up to expectations and has a track record of doing so. It is made right, of the right materials, and is designed to do everything he needs it to do.

Power – A power motivated buyer wants to know they are in charge of every aspect of the transaction. They need to know that you know who is in charge. Communication is critical in a deal with a power motivated individual. They are the decision makers, your job is to direct the deal by asking the right questions to get them the answers they want.

Order – The purchase order number must be on the invoice, the part numbers must match the quote, the order must be there on the specified date, and if you have an appointment with this individual, you want to be on time! (That means 15 minutes early to some, you'll have to figure that one out!) Purchasers motivated by order typically also like stability. Changing vendors can be messy. If you can prove that you can fulfill that need for order, you will likely keep this customer forever. Or at least until the order is disrupted.

Price – This is the common denominator in all deals. If it is the only motivation you can find for a buyer to do business with you, prepare to live on very tight margins. If you can identify and meet one or more of the other motivations outlined here, price becomes secondary. People are willing to pay for the things they need. They only demand lowest price when they don't see you meeting any other motivation they have.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The American Way...

Too often we hear the complaint that big companies are putting little companies out of business.  It happens.  With the economies of scale that larger companies can harness, they can often get favorable pricing on their goods, and sell them at a lower price than smaller competitors can, making just enough off of volume to keep going.

That works fine with commodities, items that are identical no matter who makes them.  Most people don't care what company made the table salt they buy for their kitchen, so whoever can get it to them for the lowest price usually wins the battle.  Morton's has won the battle over much of the rest of the market precisely because they are the largest. They have lower unit costs because they have driven the volume up so high.

What's this got to do with fence?  Morton didn't copy someone else's formula for table salt, they simply came up with efficient ways to obtain it, process it, package it and deliver it.  Anyone can mine salt, grind it up, and put it in a box. (I know it is much more involved, humor me, it's beside the point.) Their success is predicated on having a huge footprint in the industry, and it works for them.

What about products that are not commodities, but are unique and innovative?  There are two ways to beat an innovator.  One, you can simply come up with more and better ideas to make oneself more competitive.  The second is by nature anti-competitive and ultimately prevents innovation.  One can obtain a temporary competitive advantage by copying a competitors design, then, by flooding the market with cheaper imitations, drive the competitor out of business, using a cheapened version of his own idea.

This is always temporary because, in the end, the consumer is disappointed in the quality and performance of the product and either switches to the next innovator's product, or switches to the next rip off because it is cheaper.  It is not a sustainable business model.  It destroys true innovation, and it destroys the businesses and lives of the kinds of people who make this country great.  In exchange for temporarily lining the pockets of investors, companies that capitalize on taking the businesses of others rather than innovating new and better products are destroying industry, not building it.  That's not 'the American Way”.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Why Fabricate Vinyl Fence?

Why Fabricate Vinyl Fence?

In the age of packaged everything, we tend to crave the convenience of picking up just what we need to get the job done. Whether it's the burger deal at the drive through for lunch, or an Ikea entertainment center, it is just easier to let someone else “cook up” what we need. But is this the best way to maximize profit in your fence business?

There are fabricators and even extruders out there who market complete “kits” for fences. As an installer, you tell them how many line posts, end posts, top rails, bottom rails, pickets and channels you need, and at what dimensions, and they, in their own good time, whip up what you need, and either deliver it, (for a fee), or you pick it up, (on company time).

For those who seldom do PVC fence installation, this may be the most economical solution. Why invest in a truckload of extrusions and expensive routing machines for the 500 to 1000 feet of PVC fence you typically do in a season?

What if I told you that you don't have to buy vinyl by the truckload? What if I told you that you can get all the routing equipment you need to run a successful fabricating operation for a few thousand dollars, not tens of thousands?

Think of the advantages. No more waiting for the fabricator to get around to your job. No more paying someone else to do work you can do cheaper. No more waiting for a replacement post because the new guy backed over one in the yard. You can be master of your own fate, and set your own pricing on styles of fence that you create. You can offer something your competitor can't.

Call Modern Fence Technologies today and learn how you can maximize your profit by fabricating your own vinyl fence sections. We're here to help you every step of the way. Your success is the best measure of our success.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Winning Through Superior Air Power

If you are running tools on compressed air, you know you need a reliable compressor that meets the requirements of the tools you plan to use. For many that means a tow-behind compressor, like the 145's, 165's, and 185's that you often see on large construction sites. Fence installers will often choose one of these units because it puts out all the power they will ever need. The problem is that often these units are way bigger than they need to be to run the tools a fence installer uses.

This leads to increased purchase cost, increased fuel cost, increased maintenance cost, and the need for a tow vehicle specifically for the compressor.

The ConX 70 compressor offers a much lower priced solution, in a compact package that will fit on a pick up truck and can be loaded by two people, that packs the punch to do all but the very largest jobs requiring air tools to install fence. Able to provide 70 cubic feet of air at up to 125 pounds per square inch, this unit will power air post drivers up to 140 pounds as well as breaking hammers, impact tools, and whatever else you need to get the job done, at a fraction of the cost of a trailer unit.

Call your Modern Fence Technologies rep today to learn more about this money saving and convenient option.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Just Showing Up Doesn't Get the Job Done! --John Wayne

 In general, women like everything about weddings. Guys like it when the wedding is over. Having been to dozens of weddings in my life, I have come to the conclusion that there are few things more useless than a groom on his wedding day. He must be there, of course, or the wedding won't happen. But in most cases, his job is to show up, hold up the suit, speak when spoken to, kiss the bride when instructed, and generally, not mess things up for the bride. After all, it is her day.

It may be the only instance where "Just showing up doesn't get the job done!", isn't completely true. In all other areas of life, whether it is the marriage after that wedding, volunteering to help in the local school, or in our daily work, showing up just doesn't get the job done. Somehow in our culture we have started to believe that we are hired to “show up”. I have actually heard coworkers say, “I get paid to be here”, as if their mere presence added value to the world.

So what does get the job done? Work. Steady, constant, focused work. By the way, that is also what employees are paid for. We are paid for the value we add to whatever product or process we are a part of. What would we think of an employer who contracted to pay us a specific amount in exchange for a day's work, then decided that we would be paid less? We would consider that employer a thief, someone who had stolen from us. So what about when we are collecting an hourly salary, and not working, not putting forth steady, constant, focused work? Are we any less guilty of stealing?

People aren't always satisfied with their jobs. In our economy we have the luxury of finding one that better suits our ability and willingness to put forth steady, constant, focused work and compensates us in a manner we are comfortable with. What we must not do is find ways to rationalize doing less than our job requires while expecting to be paid as if showing up is enough.

Friday, July 17, 2015

How to avoid the grind...

If you build gates you know that there are many important factors that determine the strength and performance of a gate.  Making all joints where two pieces of material come together as strong and stable as possible is critical to the longevity and function of a gate.

In welded gates, this means getting the tightest fit possible before welding.  There are many ways to do this.  If using round pipe for a gate frame, notching an arc “saddle” into one piece of pipe is the best way to get a tight fit, with minimal gap to fill with weld.

For those who only do this occasionally, a saw or grinder may suffice, although there is a lot of time invested in using these tools, and they are by nature imprecise.  The preferred method is to use a pipe notcher that has hard tooling designed to take exactly the right amount of metal away at the point where another pipe will meet it at 90 degrees.

Pipe notchers can make the job much easier, and the gate can be made much stronger using a notcher.    A good notcher is not necessarily cheap.  A cheap notcher is  not necessarily good.  Make sure that the notcher you buy is well made, and has cutting edges that can be sharpened. Consider as well the amount of use you will get from the tool.  If you are welding three gates a year, a notcher may not make sense.  If you are welding three gates a month, it makes sense to have one.  If you are doing three a week, you really shouldn't hesitate to buy one.  If you buy a good one, you will have it for a lifetime.

Some fabricators take advantage of new hinge options that have recently become available that allow a gate made on a frame of square tubing to be hung on a standard round post.

Square steel or aluminum tubing allows the fabricator to use 45 degree miter cuts to make tight fitting joints that are easily welded for strength.  This method also allows ample area at the joints for reinforcement or “gussets”.
Among the advantages to a square tube frame is ease of assembly, strength, and the flat faces on which pickets can easily be mounted.

However you choose to build your gate, we can help.  We offer the finest American made pipe notching tools available, through Vogel Tools, as well as our own line of hinges that allow the use of any combination of round to square, square to round, square to square, or round to round applications.

Call Modern Fence Technologies today.