The best drywalling is one that can not be seen by the eye. Rather, if installed properly, drywall should give the look of a flat, smooth wall surface.
While this is the ideal, many homeowners can testify that is not always the case. Failure to install drywall properly can cause expensive eyesores for clients in the future. This is why contractors need to be skilled at drywalling, have the right tools and a good technique.
Here are some tips for moving your drywall capabilities from ‘okay’ to ‘seamless’.
It is always best to plan ahead, even before you step onto the job site. As you look around the room keep your eyes open for anything that may pose a problem for a smooth fit. Have a good strategy for any issues or complications you spot.
Think about the different types of drywall material including thickness and size to determine the right fit for the job.
Take time to ensure the safety of the area you are working in. There needs to be lots of ventilation and the tools and materials need to be stored properly.
If possible, include the framing contractor in the planning stage. Having a solid frame that is properly installed will make the drywalling job that much easier.
Don’t neglect to check the regulations and ensure you are complying with local building codes.
Drywalling requires unique tools that contractors should make sure are in their tool kits. These include:
· Sanding tools
· Utility knives
· Taping knives
· Screw gun
· Mixing tools
· Tape measure
· Framing square
· Joint tape
· Joint compound or mud
Most professionals prefer to use fiberglass mesh tape rather than paper tape. There are also several kinds of compound available, depending on the needs of the job.
Corner beads are also a necessity to cover outside corners and protect the corner surface of the wall. There are a variety of types on the market depending on your client’s preference.
If you are short on the necessary supplies, our website (SupplyExpert.ca) can help you find the best product at the best price.
While there are many other tools that prove helpful during drywall installation these are the basic ones you need to get the job completed right.
A professional can make the drywall installation seem easy. Here are some extra tips to help simplify the installation process.
When cutting always measure twice and cut once. An improperly sized panel will be the first sign of a poor installation job.
It is recommended you use screws when securing the panels in place as they hold better than nails. Screws are less likely to pop out and cause problems. Be sure that the screws are the correct size.
Hang ceilings first then the walls. When hanging the ceiling cut it a little short to make room for the edge of the wall panels.
Instead of using a seam over a doorway cut the doorway out of a full sheet. This will help prevent cracks that can occur over time by the opening and closing of the door.
Place cut edges along any outside corners. If you try to use tapered edges on corners it can make installing the corner of the bead difficult.
Keep your tools clean when working with compound as any dried-on mud can leave streaks or flakes.
Mark the framing locations before you put up the drywall. This will help you know you are putting the screws in the correct place.
Check that the panel will fit over any outlet boxes before you put it into place. This will save extra time on repairing mistakes that are often made when trying to cut out the opening after it has been installed.
It is also a good idea to make sure that any wires and pipes near the drywall will not be damaged.
Don’t worry about getting a tight fit when you are hanging the panels. Instead leave a gap about 1/8-inch wide at the edges.
Don’t discard any unused drywall. Keep left over panels or panel sections/pieces to use in another room or on another job.
With a few tips and the right tools contractors can be sure their drywall instillation will be done correctly. Don’t forget to sweep and vacuum any drywall dust to keep the area clean. The extra time will help secure good repour with your client.
Properly installed drywall may not be noticed by the eye but it can go a long way to impressing your client and helping build a good reputation for yourself.
As e-commerce continues to gain traction another industry has been struggling to keep up with the demand: the transportation industry.
The e-commerce industry is not slowing down and has been predicted to increase as it becomes a more mainstream way of shopping.
More and more customers have taken to ordering construction materials online. This puts pressure on delivery companies to not only meet demand but also to get orders shipped on time and on budget.
Thus, transportation companies are finding new ways to get shipments to construction clients quickly.
A worksite without supplies is one that lies dormant and usually fails to meet the project deadline, which is why planning ahead is crucial.
In order to meet the demand, as well as the rising costs of transportation, many consumers need to plan ahead and think outside the box if they want to save on shipping and still get what they need.
Securing loads and ensuring they arrive on time and safely can be expensive. In fact, it has been estimated to be about 20 per cent of the total budget for construction projects.
To reign in the costs project supervisors need to carefully track and manage the order beginning at the supply chain and following through to material shipments.
Unfortunately, the reality is that transportation often gets overlooked when planning for a project. To save on costs and the headaches of shipping, it has become essential to include transportation of materials in the planning stages.
Preparing to have proper materials on the site during each phase of the project will mean that construction can become a continuous process rather than a start and stop job.
For those in the trucking industry, keeping the trucks moving and the materials traveling can be a challenge. It requires complex logistics management as they need to consider the times their trucks will be on the road to avoid rush hour or heavy traffic times. Being slowed down on the route can be costly for these companies.
Transportation companies also need to keep their hand on the pulse of changing weather patterns as rough weather conditions can also pose a problem for deliveries to arrive on time. As we have recently seen bad storms on one coast can be detrimental to deliveries in other parts of the country.
Technology has been helping delivery companies manage these situations and adapt to the change in demand. Some even connect them with their customer’s inventory so they can know ahead of time when to send out materials. This is an advantage to those in the construction industry as it keeps supplies well stocked and moving projects along.
One transportation magazine has reported that companies are having to change their business models in order to adapt to e-commerce. Some of those changes include investing in smaller trucks that are capable of driving through residential neighbourhoods to get to urban construction sites.
Yet, trucks are not the only method for getting construction materials where they need to go. There are about 1.5 million carloads of construction materials like steel and lumber on the rails each year, according to the American Association of Railroads.
Trains have also been a practical transportation option as they are able to move larger loads. Thousands of tons of material can be moved on one train where it would take hundreds of trucks to deliver the same amount of supplies.
This is why rail has been pushed as a green transportation alternative. The volumes of material that can be moved by a single train make it more environmentally friendly compared to trucking a shipment. The Olympic Delivery Authority for the 2012 games in London focused heavily on sustainable methods and found they were able to get 50 per cent of materials delivered in this way.
However, selecting a shipping method also depends on how quickly the materials are needed. For project managers who plan ahead, delivery by rail is a reliable, cost-effective method. Yet, those who need supplies to arrive on a tight deadline may find train travel time unreasonable.
Given that many roads are already bogged down with the amount of trucks that travel on them daily shipping construction materials via rail is an option that contractors should consider seriously.
Getting supplies to the worksite on time and on budget will always be a challenge. Yet, without proper construction materials projects stall, clients get upset and reputations are damaged.
Contractors who plan ahead will find they have the most options to getting construction supplies delivered.
As the warm summer weather starts to cool many home owners and apartment renters will be thinking about how to prepare their spaces to withstand winter. There are several important things that can be done to get homes and apartments ready for the colder seasons.
While snow may still seem like a long way off, it is best to start planning earlier rather than leave it too late.
Here are some of the fundamental things that home owners and renters need to do in order to ensure their houses are ready for the cold weather.
Clear out the gutters by removing any leaves and debris that has been gathering over the summer. This will prevent clogging in the drainpipe, which can lead to bigger problems.
Examine windows and doors to see if there are any cracks that need to be sealed up to keep the home warm and to save on energy bills. Don’t forget to inspect any weather stripping to see if there are any wears or cracks.
Autumn is also a crucial time to discover and fix any roofing problems before they get out of control.
It is also a good idea to examine sidewalks, steps and driveways for any cracks or damages that could get worse in winter weather. Home owners may also want to consider floodlights to prevent dangerous situations in the darker winter weather.
Prep your pipes and prevent them from bursting by ensuring they are freeze-proof. There are a variety of options from a special tubing to tape that you can apply to keep them safe. Don’t forget to turn off the outdoor water. It’s also a good time to direct drainage away from your home. Make sure that any water is directed at least five or six feet away from your foundation.
One of the most important features of a home, particular in winter, is the fireplace. It is important to have it cleaned out and ready for use when it gets cold. While home owners are capable of clearing out the fireplace itself, a chimney should be cleaned by a professional.
Prepare your home’s heating system by checking vents, cleaning filters and having an annual inspection of the system.
It is also a good time to have the water heater checked and even cleaned to ensure proper functioning.
As the weather cools it is also a good time to install storm windows and doors. Putting these on a home will secure the warmth for the winter and can also save on energy costs. Take care to also inspect around the chimney, walls, vents and skylights for any small openings that could allow water or cold air to get in. You may also want to consider insulation for walls and attics to keep the warm air in and cold air out.
Those with an older thermostat may want to consider saving on heating costs by installing a more modern, programmable one.
Exposed pipes should also be protected by wrapping tubular insulation sleeves around them. These include ones in the attic, basement or cabinet.
Renter can keep out unwanted visitors like rats out by looking for openings they can get through and sealing it up. Even if the hole seems too small for a rodent to crawl through seal it up as they can get through even the tiniest of spaces.
If you have ceiling fans in your unit put them on reverse as this causes them to draw up cold air and push down the warm air.
It’s also important to locate your heating vents and ensure they are not blocked. Often, this is something that gets neglected if renters have moved in over the warmer months.
Some experts have suggested apartment dwellers allow water to trickle out of facets when it gets below 10 degrees Celsius to prevent burst pipes.
Open up the cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate and keep the pipes from snapping in colder weather.
If your suite has a radiator you’ll want to check for any leaks or steam around the relief valves that could mean it is in need of repair. Let your landlord know immediately if you notice anything wrong.
Often overlooked, electrical outlets can allow cold air inside. You may want to consider getting a cover for those you don’t use often or install foam insulation around the outlets.
Investing a little now to prepare your home or apartment for colder weather will be something you and your family will appreciate in the long run. By taking some time to examine your space and seal it up you’ll be able to enjoy being at home this winter.
Smart homes have become more and more popular since they were developed and introduced just a few years ago.
A Smart home can include a house that just has one or two elements connected, such as a PC, cable TV, security system, lighting, etc. or, it can refer to one that is fully connected on a central system. The connection allows the rooms to sync with one another. It can also give the home owner the ability to control features of the home such as lights or temperature while they are away.
One of the biggest appeals of a Smart home has been the impact they could have on the electrical supply system.
“Homes will be far more efficient in energy/water/utility consumption as end point devices work together based on your habits vs. the cost of resource availability,” CEO of Stringify, Mike Yurochko has been quoted as saying.
This will be good news for tradespeople and big electrical supply companies.
Alongside the technology used in connecting a Smart home or building there needs to be good wiring to allow the system to function seamlessly.
trained in intelligent building wiring so that they will be able to connect and manage smart buildings, which seem to be a big part of the future. Part of the training includes how to connect low-voltage wires to a network. Other training covers network integration, which teaches electricians to program devices and connect them to each other.Training in how to wire and manage a Smart home has been gaining a lot of interest from electricians and those just entering the market. Many young apprentices are being
There are several elements of a building that can be automated. The most common ones are:
· Security – cameras and motion detectors can be set up around the home and the system can send an alert if there is a breach. They can even be programed to take pictures or videos of suspected thieves.
· Lighting – lights can be turned on by a home owner when they are away thanks to automation systems. The system can also help a home owner save energy by turning lights off if they forgot before they left home.
A global construction survey by KPMG earlier this year indicated those in the construction industry were not utilizing technology as much as they could. According to the KPMG report, 23-36 per cent of companies still do not use mobile technology on projects. Yet, young apprentices that are joining the industry have grown up surrounded by technology and expect it in their jobs.
In addition, technology has lead to the development of tools that improve efficiency and safety. Many contractors have found technology has been beneficial on the jobsite, particular when it comes to tools and power tools.
A 2017 article in Contractor Magazine estimates that the power tools industry earns over $15,000 a year, which shows how important power tools are to contractors.
Some of the most recent advances include better LED work lights, enabling contractors to work in dark spaces. While this helps to get the job done quicker some manufacturers have added features such as having lights that are able fit into awkward spaces or hang upside down.
Many new tools also feature a panel with crucial information about power supply and even if recalibration or service is needed for the tool. Some power tools come with built in wireless connections, which also allow a user to select from several pre-set functions like torque and speed. Saws have also become connected and users can use an app to track and manage the tool and companies like DeWalt have developed connected tools that allow users to connect to the battery packs, enabling users to monitor the tool.
Plumbers have been able to better diagnose problems thanks to pipe and drain cameras. They can save on time as it eliminates the need for a plumber to head down into the pipe to figure out the problem. These tools can record video and still images, send the information to a phone or tablet and also come with a mini-USB connector or SD card.
From finding your way to a customer’s home, a building site or even your tools, GPS has changed the way contractors work.
Lost and stolen tools can not only affect the jobsite but also the cost for the overall project. This is one of the reasons manufacturers have opted to develop technology that helps contractors track their tools.
Milwaukee has dubbed its system the One-Key tool that includes wireless connectivity to the tool, which can record the last time the tool body was within 100 feet of the monitoring device. It will also update devices with the One-Key app when it comes within range of the tool, helping to find lost equipment quicker.
DeWalt’s system is similar and they have the capability to shut down the battery completely, if it has been determined that the tool has been stolen. Another advantage is that the tool connects only to one device. It will not work with any other remote device until it has been unpaired through the app. If another user attempts to control the tool, its location will be reported back to the original user.
Technology has even been developed to ensure safer tools on the site. One saw has been developed to retract if it comes into contact with a human hand. SawStop, developed by Stephen Gass, was one of the first on the market but later other companies began jumping on board, including Bosh with their table saw Reaxx. However, Reaxx has not been available for sale following a lawsuit that has blocked it.
While the costs of developing such a sophisticated machine may be high, the value to a contractor facing serious injury will be worth it.
Connectivity on the worksite has become the norm thanks to smartphones and tablets.
Smartphones now do more than just keep contractors in touch on the job. They have also become a way of transmitting information among team members. For example, electricians can take photos at the job site and send them to the office, as well, office staff is able to send links or diagrams or other information to those at the site.
Tablets have also become common place, allowing contractors to carry project plans on the device, which is easier to carry and use than a laptop.
While not necessarily considered power tools drones prove useful in a number of industries including the trades.
One of the biggest advantages that drones offer is that they are able to access remote and dangerous areas. This proves to be beneficial to contractors who want to ensure the safety of a site without risking an injury. The KPMG report found that 42 per cent of companies were using drones to monitor sites and 30 per cent were using automated technology or robotics.
Sometimes research develops products that are not always in demand but are intriguing all the same.
Nemo Power Tools have developed a range of handheld tools that can be submerged in up to 50 metres of water without causing danger to the tool or the user. The tool needs to be air pressurized with a pump before being used under water but a test of the tool by Popular Mechanics demonstrated its usefulness.
Interesting enough this power tool comes with LED lights that help light up the job site underwater.
While not an obvious choice for the day-to-day tradesperson, these types of tools prove to be beneficial for rescue divers, fire departments and even sewer-repair crews.
While technology has been advancing in many other industries, there has been a slower move to implement technology into the trades. However, one of the main ways it has been applied is to enhance power tools used on the job site. As manufacturers find more and more ways to integrate advances in their tools it has made for a safer and more efficient workplace for contractors and tradespeople.
The majority of plumbers know that quality counts on the job. The best way to ensure that quality is by using brand name plumbing supplies from a trusted wholesaler. However, it may not always be common knowledge for customers, which means a contractor needs to be able to clearly and correctly explain why the plumbing supply products they use cost more than ones at Big Box stores. They also need to be able to convince the customer the cost is worth it.
Here are some tips for contractors to communicate about the cost of plumbing supplies with their customers.
1. Reliable - One of the best reasons to pay more for brand name plumbing supplies is that they will be used everyday and therefore need to be reliable. Brand name plumbing supplies have the quality needed to ensure they run the course. Major brand manufacturers are also more selective about the products they ship to a Big Box store and ones they provide to a wholesaler. In some ways they have to be, as it comes down to the demands of Big Box stores who are in the market of selling less expensive items. To meet the demands a manufacturer cuts back on the more expensive materials and will often use plastic parts or lower-quality supplies. This can be seen by the difference in weight of seemingly identical products found at a wholesaler and a Big Box store. Thus, wholesalers, like Supply Expert, are the ones that receive higher quality products. Off-brand name fixtures are more prone to leak and break sooner than brand name ones. The price of the fixture will be directly related to the quality of it, according to home building experts. A good fixture will be well-made and able to last for years.
2. Repairs – Another concern when using off-brand name plumbing supplies is the difficulty you can face when repairs are needed. This can be where it costs the customer more in the long run. It may be more difficult to get plumbing supply parts in case something in the home needs repairing. Experts agree that off brand name plumbing supplies tend to have problems within 10 years. In the case of shut off valves, they tend to stop working within 15 years.
3. Product information - Another reason to purchase your plumbing supply products through a wholesaler, like Supply Expert, is that they can provide accurate information about the product that you can’t find on product packaging. Not to mention a wholesaler can give you the best price for plumbing supplies.
4. Certified –Plumbing supplies sold online, like at Supply Experts, have an advantage of being quality products that are certified. Products that are certified can be counted on to do the job. Moreover, uncertified plumbing supplies put the contractor, home owner and others at risk for injury or even death. Certified products are those that have met the industry standard, which can give the consumer piece of mind. As part of the certification process the plumbing supply manufacturer has had the products tested for safety and performance.
5. Warranty – Brand name plumbing supplies also come with better warranty policies. Big Box store warranties are often shorter than those by a wholesaler as they are covered by the store itself. This can prove beneficial when plumbing supplies need to be repaired or even replaced. This is more easily done under a full manufacturers warranty.
Most consumers look for a trusted professional when they need a plumber. Part of building that trust is supplying home owners with products that do what they are supposed to do. It can be useful to keep in mind that a customer is not paying for simply for plumbing supplies, they are paying for a solution. The solution is how you put the supplies together to solve their problem.
It may be necessary to explain to a client or home owner that plumbing supplies need to be judged on more than look and cost alone. Usability, the finish, the control over the water and where fixtures will be placed are just a few of the considerations that go into finding the right plumbing supplies.
Once you have established the benefits of brand name, wholesaler-supplied plumbing products for your customer you can visit Supply Expert to look at the latest in plumbing supplies to get you started on the job.
Canada was one of 197 nations that signed the Paris Agreement in 2015, which is a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Because of this commitment, Canada’s construction industry will be playing a key role in helping the country meet its promises by incorporating more renewable energy elements to new homes and buildings.
A recent study examines the impact that this will have on the Canadian construction industry, including the creation of millions of new jobs in the industry and on secondary businesses.
Published in July, the Jobs for Tomorrow: Canada’s Building Trades and Net Zero Emissions report was commissioned by Canada’s Building Trades Unions. In it the authors offer some insight into what going green will look like for workers in the industry.
The World Green Building Council expects that new buildings will be net zero by 2050, the report authors stated. For Canada to accomplish this, the authors wrote that it will require the work of a variety of tradespeople including masons, boilermakers, pipefitters, insulators, electrical workers, glaziers, HVAC, linemen, ironworkers and more.
Demand for the changes will lead to over 1.1 million direct construction jobs by 2050, the report states. The majority of those jobs will be divided into various areas including solar power (438,350) followed by wind power (209,360), transmission line construction (200,000), tidal and wave power (109,770), hydroelectric power (105,000), nuclear power (30,360) and geothermal power (30,300).
In addition, net zero retrofits have been estimated to bring about 1.9 million in direct non-residential construction jobs. In total, the authors stated they expected 3.9 million direct jobs in the building trades and 19.8 million in related industries.
According to the report, wind power will represent 25 per cent of the country’s energy use by 2050. This will mean that about 2,000 new wind farms will need to be constructed, leading to 209,360 construction jobs. It will also create addition jobs for meteorological technicians, electricians, etc., equaling about 237,750 person-years of employment up to 2050.
Solar power has been expected to grow to about 10 per cent of the county’s supply over the next few decades. Canada’s current supply of solar power is at 1.5 per cent. To increase it by 8.5 per cent would create 438,350 construction jobs. It will also add 45,880 additional long term jobs. As well, given the maintenance needed to solar panels the industry will continue to grow and add more and more jobs.
This is a power source that is relatively untapped in Canada and as such the authors estimate it could manufacture a conservative four per cent of the county’s supply by 2050. At this rate, the industry would see 30,300 construction jobs and 5,5850 permanent operations jobs.
This is another relatively new energy source to be developed and to increase its production to represent just five per cent of the country’s supply would be a massive undertaking, the authors stated. If achieved it would bring about 109,770 construction jobs.
This industry, which represents a significant portion of the current supply across the county, is expected to cut back by 2040 to 51 per cent. However, the authors of the report believe that could mean hydro provides about 40 per cent of Canada’s power by 2050. This will still bring about 158,915 person-years of constriction work and 1,925 permanent operations jobs.
As a power source the provinces have been looking at reducing their reliance on nuclear plants. This means the industry is expected to decline to five per cent by 2050. Most of the construction work in this industry will involve refurbishing the plants that are already in use, equaling 30,360 jobs.
Among other areas that the building trades will be affected include transmission line creation. Transmission line construction has been estimated to bring about 200,000 new jobs for those in the industry.
“This is a low number when considering the need for ongoing investment in Canada’s existing transmission grid, which needs replacing and upgrading,” the report authors stated.
The building up of smart communities, which includes green buildings and district energy, has also been estimated to bring 2.5 million direct construction jobs to the market. Of those, 1.9 million were estimated to be a result of green building construction and 547,750 would result from district systems.
While the majority of jobs created by expanding Canada’s public transit infrastructure will be in manufacturing, it has been projected to generate 244,950 construction jobs. The need to develop an effective and green transportation system in Canadian cities can be seen in the fact that over 80 per cent of residents are urban dwellers.
“The construction industry will be a critical factor in Canada’s ability to meet the challenges of climate change and transitioning to a net zero economy,” the authors wrote, remarking that very little research has been done on the construction industry’s role in meeting Canada’s low-carbon commitments.
Given that Canada ranks sixth out of 23 countries for their energy efficiency policy but remains in 18 th place when it comes to performance there is still much work needed to be done in this industry. This will be good news for construction workers as they can be sure there will be plenty of employment for the next several decades.
As well, when the construction industry is booming it has a domino effect on many other industries, which means that the economic climate in Canada should remain strong for the next few decades.
Consumers seem to have an persistent mistrust when it comes to tradespeople. Those in the business know it is not always easy to convince customers that quality work will get done on time and on budget.
Part of this stems from the fact that when people call in a contractor it is because they are unable to fix the problem themselves and likely lack the expertise to know what is wrong. This puts them in a vulnerable position as they have no way to verify if what they are being told is the truth.
However, establishing trust in customers is not as difficult as it sounds. And a little trust can go a long way to building loyalty and, in turn, growing your business.
Forbes states that contractors should focus on service, consistency and transparency.
The business publication looks at great service as a combination of responsiveness, timeliness and exceeding expectations. Basically, it comes down to the Golden Rule: treat the customer as you would like to be treated.
While it is easy to ensure that you are being consistent with your work, it is also important that any contractors you hire are dependable in their level of professional service. You should set standards for your company and any contractors you hire. By doing the job right the first time you won’t have to try to make up for botched work.
The third factor is transparency, which is not always easy particularly when it means you need to be honest about a mistake you made. However, you are more likely to gain a customer’s trust if you are upfront about the issue right away rather than trying to hide the problem. Transparency can also apply to the work you are going to do. Let the customer know what the problem is and how you are going to fix it. By keeping them fully informed of the process you will earn their trust.
If possible, give the consumer the power of choice. If there are a few different ways to tackle the problem let them know. Providing them options will help them to make a decision and feel a part of the solution. It empowers them. Have open communication with them and seek feedback so they know you are not just there for the money.
As you try to build up trust for your brand listen to what people are saying. If you are hearing that customers don’t trust your company try to find out why. It is much easier to solve the issue if you know what it is.
Communication has always been a key element to the contractor-customer relationship. This goes beyond telling them what work you will be doing but also extends to reliability. If you tell them you will be there at a certain day and time then keep that promise or call them ahead of time – if possible – to let them know why you can’t keep the appointment. It is also important to reschedule the missed appointment.
Well informed customers will have a list of question prepared for any contractor they are looking to hire. Be prepared for these questions and be honest when you answer. A list of sample questions has been published by the Canadian Home Builders Association.
Once the job has been completed contact the customer again and find out if they were happy with the work that was done. Again, if you get negative feedback try and get to the bottom of the problem and let the customer know that you are working to fix it. Don’t hesitate to contact them again in the future once the situation has been resolved to let them know. This may turn them into a long-term client.
In the online world, building up customer loyalty includes several parts such as online reviews, content, and a reliable online presence.
Online reviews are crucial for any business. When you have completed a job, encourage your customers to write an online review of the service you provided for them. A sizable percentage of consumers trust these reviews, which can lead to more business for you.
Blogs, social media posts and other content can connect you to consumers but make sure that any content or marketing efforts you make are clear and not misleading. Provide information that customers can find value in rather than just trying to capture their attention with click bait.
Allow for some negative feedback online. Customers will be suspicious about a company that only has positive comments. Therefore, refrain from the temptation to delete any comments that are negative. Instead, use these comments to reach out to the unhappy customer and try and resolve the situation. Even if they are unreceptive, you will gain respect from other consumers who can see your efforts.
Don’t underestimate consumer knowledge. The Internet has changed things in many trades industries including how customers interact with their contractor. Most customers will go online to research the problem, the costs of repair and may even call around to several companies to get a quote on the work. So, any tradesperson trying to overcharge for materials or a made-up problem will soon be found out.
In the end building up a customer’s trust comes down to developing your people skills.
One plumber put it best when he said that just having the right skills to complete the task will not be enough to guarantee a customer’s loyalty. Instead, he said a good tradesperson needs to be polite, helpful and give a good first impression to the customer.
While the traditional sales process in B2B transactions has relied heavily on person-to-person interaction, three-quarters of modern-day B2B buyers don’t feel they require the same level of contact, thanks to the internet.
Due to the increase in e-commerce sites and search engines like Google and Bing many customers have taken on more responsibility during the buying process. Research has revealed that over half the work that goes into making a sale has been completed before a customer even contacts the company.
Yet, despite the increased self-sufficiency of B2B consumers, studies have shown that a little personal touch can still go a long way in gaining and retaining online shoppers.
Most purchasers these days do not see the necessity of dealing with a salesperson until they are ready to finalize the deal. Digital resources like websites, videos, reviews and social media have become the space where most purchasers do their research into a product, collecting all the details and data before they make up their mind to purchase.
Statistics show that B2B buyers will look at around eight examples of content during their research process and other studies show that it is closer to 12. If they find that a vendor does not have a website with a reliable experience, such as that offered by Amazon or similar ecommerce sites, they will move on to a business that does provide the superior experience.
Thus, B2B sales have become less of a push process and more of a pull one as companies compete to draw in buyers with their own unique flavour of service.
However, despite feeling more informed about their purchases, a report by the Harvard Business Review shows that B2B customers have experienced more stress and more doubt over the buying process with the onslaught of information. It is likely because of this increased level of tension buyers feel that has drawn them to look for ways to simplify and streamline the process. In fact, a large push for better e-commerce sites has come from online shoppers looking to replicate the experience they have had in B2C transactions.
Research has predicted that B2B e-commerce will increase to $12 trillion worldwide by 2020 and the companies that will be most successful in this arena will be the ones that are able to respond to the needs and desires of purchasers.
Despite a general belief to the contrary, business relationships will still be essential for B2B sales. While these may take a more digital form such as an email over a phone call, customers will still appreciate the sign that you genuinely care for them and their satisfaction with the product. Many B2B buyers have expressed an interest in after-sales services. In a Forrester Research report, 40 per cent of executives indicated this was an important aspect of success for e-commerce companies.
Further research has shown that omni-channel experiences can also result in greater customer loyalty. These experiences have become easier to offer to consumers thanks to the cloud. Cloud platforms have been transforming the B2B industry, according to Forbes. One major benefit of the cloud is that it gives companies the capability to have omnichannel performance, providing an Amazon-like experience for shoppers. When coupled with low prices, quality customer service and an array of products to choose from, B2B shoppers have communicated that they would be more likely to make future purchases from that company.
Other changes that B2B companies can make is to update the online process and to make it more individualized. Some business experts have agreed that customizing the buying process for a B2B purchaser will assist in the long-term retention of the buyer. Getting to know the customer and suggesting products for them based on their purchasing history can be a productive way of securing their loyalty and increasing sales. In fact, results of a Harvard Business Review study found that a prescriptive sales approach over a responsive approach was more successful in closing the deal.
There are also some reasons why a purchaser will still prefer to deal with a person including the ability to negotiate a price, the need for more consideration or information when purchasing a complex product and if the product will require installation and on-going maintenance.
Interestingly, one study suggests that customers need to have certain personality characteristics before they are happy to rely more on digital tools for B2B purchases. Researchers break down the characteristics into four areas; optimism, innovativeness, discomfort and insecurity. Those who display high levels of optimism and innovativeness will be responsive to applying digital tools to the process however, those with high levels of discomfort or insecurity would be put off by the process. Thus, companies that assume or encourage all customers to use digital methods during the sales process may find some of the customers reluctant and at worse will lose the sale.
Although advanced technologies have been transforming the B2B process there is still a need for person-to-person interaction in order to complete the sale and satisfy a customer. However, many companies need to be mindful that most modern consumers collect information and data on the products before contacting the brand to complete the purchase. With this increased understanding of the consumer, B2B companies will be better equipped and ready to turn leads into sales.
The increase in online shopping for urbanites has been altering how the cities around them look and develop. From an increase in trucks on the road to recycling programs for the package waste, city planners have been adjusting their approach to incorporate the large number of e-commerce customers that reside in cities.
In a recent study, Canada Post surveyed 5,000 online shoppers to examine trends and habits of Canadians when it comes to the e-commerce space. The results showed that nearly half of those lived in city settings (48 per cent), compared with 31 per cent living in rural communities.
Another statistic researchers found was that the largest number of those who shop online are millennials, many of who live in cities due to work or school demands. The research showed that 30 per cent of shoppers were between 18 and 35 years old.
Millennials have also invested into the sharing economy, particularly when it comes to vehicles. Thus, they are more likely to live in an urban environment and not to own a car, which can explain the higher number of online shoppers in the cities.
In fact, a WSJ report indicates that the convenience of online shopping has made the practice commonplace for many urbanites.
Another change that has some experts concerned has been the large number of delivery drivers on the roads. A UPS driver interviewed by CityLab said he prefers to walk his packages to customers rather than drive his truck along the route because of traffic and parking issues. His route has also changed due to demand. It has been narrowed down to just blocks rather than an entire neighbourhood. His previous territory has been divided up among other drivers as the company struggles to keep up with the high number of delivers every day.
The United States Post Office delivered over 3.1 billion packages in 2010 and by 2016 that number had risen to 5.1 billion. Elsewhere one publication claims that Amazon sales have risen from 16 billion in 2010 to $80 billion in 2016.
This increase of delivery personal and vehicles has become a headache for city planners trying to streamline the movement of traffic on city roadways.
However, the increase in traffic has not raised alarms for everyone. There are some experts who believe that streets will be backed up with more and more traffic as e-commerce deliveries increase. Yet, others believe the traffic will plateau as more delivery trucks hit the road and more consumers stay home rather than head to shops ultimately leveling out the number of vehicles on the streets.
The onslaught of cardboard boxes has also been changing the way city officials plan recycling programs and even building design. Some of the changes include building parcel storage rooms in apartments and similar complexes, larger mail rooms and some have even added keyless lockers to protect residents’ packages.
On the other side there has been a rise in designer boxes by companies who want to stand out among the vast amounts of cardboard being shipped and delivered each day. This new demand has been leading to new jobs for production companies.
One of the most notable changes that e-commerce has made on cities is the disappearance of many neighbourhood retails stores.
Many of the first stores to disappear, according to one article, are those that sell toys, books or electronics. Clothing stores have also been suffering, which in turn leaves many vacant spaces inside of malls.
Some of these buildings can be repurposed into warehouses for companies like Amazon while others can be turned into residential or office units, which have also been hard to come by in city environments.
As a result of higher demand from city customers looking for faster deliver, businesses in the e-commerce industry have been looking into developing more urban warehouses to meet demand from city shoppers.
One major drawback of an increase of packages being dropped off at homes is the propensity of crime. Many police departments have issued a warning that the piling up packages is an attraction for thieves. While this used to be a problem that was largely a holiday concern it has now become an everyday risk for online shoppers.
While shoppers become accustomed to e-commerce as a reality of day to day life in the city, it has been changing the way cities function.
From a change in waste reduction and recycling programs to altering traffic flow plans and new development, city officials have been working on new ways to incorporate the downsides of online shopping in their communities.