Each month we will provide a training opportunity specifically for contractors on items such as the AB Estimating Tool, Allan Block Apps, Scope of Work documents, installation tricks, the Contractor Program and other industry topics that will benefit your business. These events will be running the third Tuesday of each month at 10 AM CST and 2 PM CST and registration is as easy as clicking the link below that fits best into your schedule.
We generally host Contractor Certification classes throughout the winter months (this year we had 35 of them), but keep an eye on our online training schedule to make sure you don’t miss an opportunity near you. Interested in a class and not seeing a date near you – contact us.
Did You Know?
This year we have already trained 630 new contractors and sent over 400 certificates and rewards out to contractors. Have you received all the rewards for building your Allan block projects?
As we head into spring, we are adding another component to our educational platform for contracting customers. To compliment and support our Contractor Certification Program, we are adding ABU Online this spring.
What is ABU Online: This will be a webinar training platform that will provide you knowledge or help you freshen up on our tools, programs and products that will assist in your sales efforts. Topics will include:
AB Retaining Wall Estimating Tool and R/W App
AB Courtyard Estimating Tool and CY App
AB Courtyard Patio Packages
3D Modeling Program
When will this event be: Beginning in May, we will host an event on the third Tuesday of each month. We will hold two events at 10 AM CST and 2 PM CST to make the trainings extremely accessible for everyone.
How will you register: Look left now! You will see a column named “ABU Online” and upcoming topics will be there for your benefit. You can register by simply clicking the link included for the time that works for you. In addition, feel free to email or call us to receive a direct invite.
How long will these be: We will try to keep these to 30-minute modules so you can quickly get back to your busy day.
What is Instagram and Why is it Important to your Business?
In case you have been living under a rock somewhere and don’t know what Instagram is, don’t be embarrassed – in this day and age social platforms are created almost daily and it’s hard to always know what is trending. Instagram was created back in 2010 as a mobile photo-sharing app and has quietly gained traction since, with over 500 million people using it daily. Users can edit and post photos and videos or even go live with their followers.
So why is this important for my business?
With over 800 million monthly active users, Instagram has less competition and a more engaged audience than some of the other social giants, (like Facebook or Twitter) providing you an opportunity to reach more people with less. In a nutshell: It’s important because it’s where your customers are and where they are most likely to engage.
Using photos and videos, Instagram provides you with a way to visually tell your story, promote your product or service and connect with your customers all from the phone in your hand.
How to make Instagram work for you
Whether you are new to this whole social revolution, or are jumping into a new way to promote your business here are a few tips to help you get the most out of Instagram.
Show what you do – Creatively Add value to your customers and look pretty while you do it. Showcase the solutions you provide, company culture, tips and tricks. Take them behind the scenes and show them who you are. This builds connection and trust – and is just plain fun.
Share who you are - As a company, you probably do a whole lot of things and offer even more solutions – so use your profile to cycle through them. Since this is the only place a clickable link will work – use your profile as a place to promote different aspects of your business and update it frequently.
Grow your reach with #hashtags - Create a company hashtag and use to help people find your content. Add 3 -5 additional #hashtags per post using a combination of your own and popular hashtags to increase your reach – just make sure they are relevant.
Collaborate with other brands or “shout-out” to your partners - Use the @mention to align your posts with other people, products or services (like @allanblockwalls) to promote to a wider audience.
So if your business is not on Instagram – Give it a try! The basics are free and the opportunities are vast. And while you are at it – tag or mention #allanblock or @allanblockwalls on all your Allan Block related posts. See you out there.
Contractor Relations: How to Become Allan Block Certified and Why it's Important
The Allan Block Contractor Certification Program is designed to give contractors the proper training and tools to ensure top quality retaining walls are built.
How Do I Become Certified?
Attend an Allan Block Contractor Certification Course
Complete and pass the written test (at the end of the course)
Build an Allan Block Wall with a minimum height of 3 ft (0.9 m) and a minimum of 300 units (full size or equivalent)
Have an AB Sales Representative inspect the wall
Once you have become Level One Certified you can then achieve the next levels of certification, Experienced Wall Installer and Master Wall Installer by simply continuing to build Allan Block Walls. See certification requirements for Experienced and Master Wall Installers.
Why is it Important to be Certified?
There are many benefits to become an AB Certified Contractor. One big benefit is being eligible to bid on commercial projects. The Segmental Retaining Wall (SRW) industry, NCMA and Allan Block, have an initiative on Zero Wall Failure that initiated the Best Practices for SRW’s. Best Practices recommends that the contractors must be trained and certified by a local manufacturer or equivalent accredited organization.
Other benefits of becoming certified are:
Project leads from your local sales representative
And receive training that sets you apart from other contractors.
If you are interested in participating in our Allan Block Certification Program, please talk with your sales associate or call/email us to start the process: firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 899-5309.
Featured Collection: AB Europa Collection
Tumbled or untumbled? Isn’t that always the question on your hardscape projects? Whether you are looking at a backyard raised patio or building a wall that only a giraffe can see over, the tumbled, natural look of the AB Europa Collection can offer the increased aesthetics that can catch anyone’s eye. Using this collection in a pattern wall with all four block shapes gives you the AB Abbey Blend pattern which raises that aesthetics once again. The next time you are looking at a project (commercial or residential) and providing that client of yours the non-tumbled product lines, think about how much more they may get (or how different your proposal may be from others) by simply upgrading to the AB Europa Collection! Remember, the AB Europa Collection installs just as the AB Collection does so your installation efficiencies will remain!
The AB 3D Modeling Tool for retaining walls has arrived! Recently approved by SketchUp, our AB Retaining Wall App now provides you with the ability to not only create 2-Dimensional drawings, but free 3-Dimensional drawings as well….and most importantly, it is all done in several minutes!
Use our AB Retaining Wall App to create the design you are after and receive an estimate of material, plan, elevation and section views along with the recently added extension file that automatically draws a 3D view of your retaining wall design in a free version of SketchUp. Increase your closure rate by placing your customers “in” their backyard oasis before the project even begins.
We are offering training on the Allan Block 3D Modeling Tool on Fridays through mid-June. Check out the dates and times on the left under ABU Online Upcoming Events.
Keep an eye out for the release of the Allan Block 3D Modeling Tool for our AB Courtyard App and AB Walls 15 soon!
In The Spotlight: PaverScape, Inc
As a reminder, an Allan Block Master Wall Builder (MWB) is an individual who has reached the third and final step in the Contractor Certification Program (level 1 = Certified Contractor and level 2 = Experienced Wall Builder). AB Contractors that reach this level have both the knowledge and the skills to build top quality Allan Block walls. To learn more about the details associated with each certification level, please visit our AB Certification site.
This quarter we are heading to the Southeast part of the US and to sunny Orlando, Florida where we met up with Chuck Miller, President and Owner of PaverScape, Inc. Founded in 1989, PaverScape is one of Florida’s leading hardscape installers. PaverScape’s attention to detail, customer service, quality of work and immediate response time have all contributed to almost 30 successful years of business.
It began as a paver installation business in 1989 and has evolved into a hardscape solution provider with projects that include installation of SRWs, pavers, sheet piling retaining walls, articulating concrete block and adjacent material for owners and general contractors all over the state of Florida. All their business funnels into the commercial market (private and public) and their quality of work and reputation has led them to successfully win individual development projects totaling 500,000 sq ft. (46,500 sq m) of SRWs and 41 ft. (12.5 m) tall walls (only to be passed by a 56 ft.(17 m) terraced structure totaling eight walls). And yes, that is in Florida for those who think it is “flat” state.
Chuck has a great passion for the hardscape and SRW industry. As a contractor, he is still actively involved in the NCMA (National Concrete and Masonry Association) as he works to help the industry grow and evolve. He has 20 years of hardscape manufacturing experience as well as 14 years of contracting experience with PaverScape, Inc. When asked what led to his 34+ years (and counting) he provided many reasons, but “the niche market, specialized products and people have all provided me with passion and enjoyment over my career.”
The PaverScapes Crew
He has participated in the AB Contractor Certification Program for years even though he has knowledge that could help all members of the SRW industry learn. Today, projects that are constructed are submitted for rewards and new certifications and most importantly he uses the program “to educate new employees and help them connect the dots within the SRW industry – it has been very helpful to expedite that process.”
What are his favorite types of projects? “A complex project with unique applications (such as property lines, utilities, etc.) that require someone with knowledge to help solve the problem.” It is by no accident that Chuck and PaverScape, Inc. have had the successes (of which we are only introducing) over the past 30 years. Chuck’s passion, desire and eagerness to help solve problems are second to none. Chuck; from all of us at Allan Block please accept our sincere thanks! We know there are a lot of solutions to choose from and we are very happy to have had the opportunity to work with you through the years.
Allan Block Corporation 7424 W. 78th Street, Bloomington, MN 55439 Help & Support Center: (800) 899-5309
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