Fandeck of Features

Marion Armwood of Goldsboro, NC

Painter Marion Armwood of Goldsboro, NC, loves his work. So do his clients.
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By Jerry Rabushka, Editor

Be in charge of what you charge.

It's important to explain the value of your pricing—and your services.
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By Jerry Rabushka, Editor

An Am-Erick-an Perspective

Erick Gatcomb (and Toby Keith) will pay more for American-made.
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By Erick T. Gatcomb, Contributing Writer

Palette of Departments

Hoop De Do

The power of 16.
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By Jerry Rabushka, Editor

They Want Your Body

Before you press this!
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By "Doctor" Phil Bernstein, Contributing Writer

Stucco Masking Tape at

Brush, tape, abrasives...and more.

sponsored by Intertape Polymer Group
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By The Paint Dealer administration, Editor

By Jerry Rabushka,

Managing Editor

Hoop De Do

On any given day, anyone can win; folks who follow NCAA Basketball were wowed when for the first time ever a #16 seed beat a #1. On the other hand, why put 68 teams in the tourney if it’s “wrong” that one of them should win? And back to the first hand, Virginia still has the better team, but oh well they lost one game and the opp of a lifetime and that’s just how it goes. Given another chance, the outcome might have been different.
I can bring it back to the real world: remember when you didn’t study for a test and you aced it? Or you did, but you jacked it up?

My math career was ruined (for the third time) when I took an algebra test based on using a particular formula and I forgot the formula. I got a 38% on the test, an “are you really working?” from the teacher, and I never really recovered. Or say you’re at your daughter’s ballet recital, you can pretty well tell who practiced and who didn’t—if you can stay awake, that is.

The idea here is that you might not win every time, but stay on top of your game. Know the new techniques, the new products, learn how to estimate and bid, get your crew up to snuff and help keep them in that snuff—and likely the chances of you churning out a winning job time after time are going to increase. Plus, unlike the NCAA tourney, if you mess up a job, you can always come back and make it right.

I heard something kinda cool—go to Yelp! and read some bad reviews. Find out what irritates customers, then don’t do that. With contractors, you’ll hear mostly about people not showing up, not returning calls, or not doing work as promised. Oh wait, that’s been my column for the past two years.

Folks from St. Louis remember a sinkhole called Central Hardware, which grew from a trusted one-off into four extremely disinterested locations. This still aggravates me so I’m telling this story 30 years after it happened. After it grew into this four-store behemoth, it became famous for this kind of exchange:

I need a hammer.
It’s on the back wall.
The back wall is 50 feet long.
That’s not my department.

The competition picked up on it and ran ads showing people dressed in their uniform, asleep at the forklift. When they went bankrupt, no one was sad that a venerable city institution went under, and no one was the least bit surprised. They got on top of the game, but they didn’t stay there.
Is success scary? It can be. Some people see it coming and dig in deep, then from whatever rabbit hole they’re bunked in, they peer out like Saddam Hussein on his worst day and try to keep anyone else from having the success that they distinctly didn’t want.

Time for a moral to this story, not that every story needs a moral. How about: hard work doesn’t guarantee success, but it makes it a lot more likely, and it makes it more likely that you will be consistently successful.

Another moral is you can be successful and be nice. I’ve talked to countless musicians who would rather work with a nice fella who’s less talented than an ace performer who’s a whack of a personality. We can go right back to the 2013 NCAA champs Louisville, who had their trophy swiped from them not long ago for some rule infractions. This affects so many people who had nothing to do with it and worked hard to play well or support the team. If there’s a guy on your crew who works hard, it’s best if while he deserves your praise, you deserve his loyalty and admiration in return.

Now, can anyone find me a hammer?

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Hans Mugler
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Jerry Rabushka
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Kathryn Tongay-Carr
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Sue Oden
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Mike Smoot
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