NARI NewsWatch
Oct. 22, 2014

Writing the letter that gets you more referrals
By Jeffrey Dobkin
What's the best way to get more referral business? It's by writing a thank-you letter. Here's how it works: First, you get a referral. I know — I'm as surprised as you are, but sometimes it happens. Someone liked you, and somewhere down the line they passed on some good words to a new customer or prospect who calls you. To encourage them to refer you again and again, send them a "thank you for your referral" letter. Why? First, your thank-you letter elevates you from the silent majority — you know, the people who never bothered to express their appreciation for receiving a referral.More

NARI of Madison assist needy residents with repairs
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Each year, NARI of Madison members support their community through a project called Hammer with a Heart organized by Project Home, a NARI member and non-profit organization dedicated to energy savings and low-cost home repairs. Read and watch the video here about this chapter’s project which received a 2014 CotY Community Service award and engaged over 50 volunteers and 20 member companies.More

How a fuel card helps you save money!
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
How much do you spend on fuel a month? Without a fuel card you have no idea what the actual cost it takes to run your fleet, and the number is quite larger than most business owners think.

When you realize how large that amount is now ask— how am I currently paying for fuel? Debit Card? Corporate Credit Card? Checks? Cash? Have you ever thought how insecure all of these payments methods are? Your employees can be using your payment method for other expenses such as: coffee, donuts, filling up an extra gas can for their mower or personal vehicle, etc.

It’s very difficult for you to manage your expenses when you don’t know what your money is being spent on. That’s where a fuel card comes in. With a WEX or Exxon Mobil fuel card you can set purchase alerts and controls to prevent unauthorized spending. You can set the card for fuel only and just during work hours so you know every penny you spend is going into your business vehicles.

We know you trust your employees with your business, but do you trust them with your finances? Make sure you get every penny out of your business with a fuel card.

Click here to watch this video about the fuel card program NARI members have access to through BizUnite, at no cost, as part of your NARI membership.

The savings get even better! Have an Exxon or Mobil station near you? Click here to inquire about how you can save an extra 6 cents per gallon at the pump!

Contact your Savings Consultant, Veronica Pratt at 603-628-2337 or for more information.More

NARI Eastern Massachusetts: Education at Audio Concepts
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Plan on attending EM NARI’s Education Day on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. Participants can earn 2 CEUs towards their CSL Renewal with two unique courses: New Architectural Woodwork Standards (1 CEU) and Planning for Electronic Systems in the Home (1 CEU). The seminars run from 3:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and are followed by a free networking event at the Audio Concepts’ Boston Showroom. Seminar cost is $15. For more information visit the chapter’s website here.More

NARI Greater Omaha: NARI Fall Education Day
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
NARI Greater Omaha Chapter will hold their NARI Education Day on Thursday, Nov. 6 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Tiburon Golf Club - 10302 South 168th Street, Omaha, NE. Breakfast, lunch and 6 CEU’s required for contractor licensing and towards NARI certifications will be offered. Courses offered are Avoiding Business Tax and Accounting Mistakes, Building a Better Deck and Rail: Using Trends, Installation, & Design Elements, Keeping OSHA out of Your Business, and Overview of 2012 Building Codes. Cost per member attendee is $75.00. For more information, visit the chapter’s website here.More

NARI Southeast Michigan: Planning Over Pizza
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Join NARI of Southeast Michigan for “Planning Over Pizza” on Thursday, Oct. 30, 5:30 p.m. at Aubree’s, 8031 Main St, #101, Dexter, MI. Edward Jones financial advisor Mike Fitzpatrick will provide information on business retirement plans and options for owners and their company. For more information visit the chapter’s website here.More

NARI Milwaukee: Refreshing the Laundry Room, Mudroom, and Landing Zone.
National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Milwaukee/NARI will sponsor a free panel discussion on “Refreshing the Laundry Room, Mudroom, and Landing Zone.” on Wed., Nov. 5, at the Milwaukee/NARI office, 11815 W. Dearbourn Ave., Wauwatosa, from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Panel members include Kevin Anundson, MCR, CKBR, Owner Assisted Remodeling, Elm Grove, Wis.; Mark Brick, MCR, UDCP, B&E General Contractors, Inc.; Ken Connor, CR, Connor Remodeling & Design, Inc.; and Bob Quigley, CR, UDCP, Brillo Home Improvements, Inc. In addition to a variety of Milwaukee/NARI resource materials, attendees also will receive a pair of tickets for the 53rd annual Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Show, Feb. 12 – 15, 2015, at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park. Light refreshments will be served. Reservations are required. Call the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council office at 414-771-4071 to reserve your space or e-mail For more information, visit the chapter's website here.More

5 trends your marketing team should budget for In 2015
Divvying up your marketing funds isn’t a fun or easy task, so you’ve likely pushed it off as long as possible. You’ve told numerous vendors, “We’ll look at that for our 2015 budget,” but budget season is quickly approaching — and you need to make a decision. To help you navigate the overwhelming budgeting process, here are five important marketing trends you should consider.More

Power to the buyers
Sales & Marketing Management
As people who believe selling can and should be an honorable profession, it is discouraging to realize that the perceptions of salespeople haven’t improved much over the last 50 years. Perhaps this explains why recent changes in the selling landscape are in response to new buying behaviors. This presents a challenge to sales organizations. More

Better data and personalization are the future of email marketing
Most brands have some kind of email marketing platform as part of their overall marketing strategy. But in recent years, consumers have grown weary of one-size-fits-all, spamlike promotional messages, and marketers who still take this approach will need to update their tactics to stay in their customers' inboxes.More

8 hard-to-ignore content marketing benefits
Business 2 Community
In this new age of semantic and social search, content marketing has emerged as more than just a buzzword or a fad to one of the most important and critical element in digital marketing. It has grown to become one of the most powerful tools available for doing business and connecting with targeted customers through the Internet — a fact known to up to 73 percent of business who rely on branded content for marketing and promotion.More

Home design in the age of Transformers
By Michael J. Berens
In homes large or small, homeowners are looking to do more with the space they have. That's the message coming out of the latest round of industry news on home building trends. Whether to maximize available space, get rid of clutter or increase functionality, today's consumers want their homes to be easily adaptable and multifunctional. Builders and designers are responding with ingenious solutions, creating spaces that shift and morph — like Transformers. More

Big-ticket remodeling's growth pace will keep slowing
The growth rate in spending on larger remodeling projects is continuing to slow, with total spending expected to rise by only 3.1 percent in the 12 months ending next June, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University forecast. Its Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity — aka LIRA — calls for spending on home improvement projects to total $136.7 billion over the next four quarters. More

Construction materials prices inch down in September
The American Surveryor
Construction materials prices inched down 0.1 in September, but rose 1.6 percent compared to the same time last year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Oct. 15 Producer Price Index. Prices for inputs to construction industries have remained unchanged from June to August — the longest such period since the price index for construction inputs began in 1986. More

How to get paid sooner in business
Small Business Trends
One of the biggest pet peeves of small business owners is late-paying clients. We’re not running corporations, so cash flow can make or break our businesses. And when a client doesn’t pay on time, we can’t pay our own vendors. It’s a sticky situation, but with a little strategy to light a fire under your clients, you can get paid not only on time but even seven days early.More

Customer service done right: 5 best practices
BusinessNewsDaily via FoxBusiness
Good news, business owners of today: You're doing something right. In a recent survey by communications software provider CorvisaCloud, 60 percent of consumers said they believe that customer service overall has improved from 2013 to 2014. Despite the resources a company needs in order to keep up with increasing customer demands, smaller businesses actually have an advantage over larger companies when it comes to providing great service. More

How to prepare your company for an outbreak like Ebola
The Washington Post
In the wake of the Ebola outbreak, many small employers may be worrying about their preparedness in the event an employee becomes ill with or exposed to an infectious disease. Concerns are running especially high now that we know individuals exposed to the virus in the United States traveled on commercial airline flights and a cruise ship, potentially jeopardizing the health of fellow travelers.More

5 ways small businesses can compete with giants in SEO
Search marketing has grown in popularity as online search continues to evolve from a novelty to a standard feature in our everyday lives. Almost every business in the country, big or small and regardless of industry, has some kind of Web presence, and everybody is competing for only a handful of positions at the top of search-engine results pages.More

Added credit card security features are coming to a small business near you
The U.S. is at least 10 years behind most of the developed world in adopting a credit card technology, called chip and pin. The technology is more effective in warding off hack attacks that target consumer credit card information than traditional magnetic stripe card. Hoping to push for higher standards in the U.S., President Barack Obama issued an executive order that requires use of chip and pin technology in government settings.More

The future of barcode technology could be invisible
Although one of the most pervasive technologies in the retail technology industry, barcode scanning has been around since the 1930s when grocers needed a solution to track and manage growing inventory levels. Now used in a variety of industries, the barcode is everywhere, from hospital ID bracelets to QR codes on advertisements.More

Phone hackers dial and redial to steal billions
The New York Times
Bob Foreman’s architecture firm ran up a $166,000 phone bill in a single weekend last March. But neither Foreman nor anyone else at his seven-person company was in the office at the time. “I thought: ‘This is crazy. It must be a mistake,’” Foreman said. It wasn’t. Hackers had broken into the phone network of the company, Foreman Seeley Fountain Architecture, and routed $166,000 worth of calls from the firm to premium-rate telephone numbers in Gambia, Somalia and the Maldives.More