April 19, 2014

PartnerShip® Freight Program: save on every shipment

As you may have read in our December issue, the #1 objective for NTCA this year is “To save our members money and to find them work.”

To that end, we draw your attention to a prominent benefit of membership – the PartnerShip® Freight Program. To date, the 32 members (including six members who joined the PartnerShip program in third quarter 2013) currently enrolled in the program have saved a total of $60,845 – $1,962 on FedEx shipments; $23,757 on LTL shipments;  and $35,126 on service shipments.

PartnerShip helps you save on every shipment you send and receive. It is open to all NTCA members with no obligations or minimum shipping requirements.

These significant savings go directly to your bottom line:
• Save up to 26%* on select FedEx Express® services
• Save up to 15% on select FedEx Ground® services
• Save up to 10% on select FedEx Home Delivery® services

NTCA members also save at least 70% on less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipments arranged through PartnerShip with leading national and regional carriers.
Intrigued? Interested? Visit https://www.partnership.com/micro_site/index/74ntca for complete program information and to enroll. Questions? Call PartnerShip at 800-599-2902, or email [email protected].

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Benefits Box – December 2013

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New NTCA/Firestarter VT online training partnership features key factors

wally_adamchikOnline training systems are flooding the inboxes of contractors as they become must-have tools for training employees. But leadership consultant Wally Adamchik asks, “How can a busy manager in a construction firm decide which system is the best to use?”

The good news is NTCA has done the research for you. NTCA has partnered with Adamchik to provide contractor-focused, time-efficient, engaging, online employee training as a new benefit to members, starting in 2014. Adamchik is president of FireStarter Speaking and Consulting, a Raleigh-based leadership consulting and development firm, and a presenter of keynote speeches about leadership, management and training issues at construction industry meetings and conventions, including Coverings. He is author of Construction Leadership From A to Z; 26 Words to Lead By.

“Online training has come a long way in just a few years. It doesn’t have to be the clunky, ineffective, and painful process many of us have experienced,” said Adamchik. “Savvy contractors are aggressively integrating online learning into their training curriculum. Previously hard-to-teach subjects, such as supervisory skills, are finding a new home online. The payoff is having a better-trained employee while maintaining production because you don’t shut the job site down for a few hours to bring the leaders in for training.”

“In the past few months I researched what is out there from a technology perspective and what is actually being used by contractors,” Adamchik said. “I did user demonstrations on nine different online platforms. I interviewed more than 20 contractors across disciplines. This research led me to 13 key factors to consider when buying training systems,” said Adamchik. His new system, FireStarterVT.com, has all these essential features. View it at www.firestartervt.com.

He suggests considering these four tips when contemplating bringing online training into your company:

1. It is not about the technology – it is about the return on your investment. The technology you select to meet your needs should actually train people and improve performance.

2. Full-motion video – is the instructor talking to you directly? Most online learning is mind-numbing voice-over-PowerPoint or a bad recording of a live presentation. That is so 2010! Best-in-class today features the speaker delivering content.

3. Interactive questions – Just like in a live classroom where the instructor asks questions, in the best virtual classrooms the instructor asks questions, too, before users can continue.

4. Other language subtitles – In our increasingly diverse society, it is important to make training available to students who are not fluent in English by using subtitles. However, most programs do not support this option.

Adamchik listed several benefits for contractors with the NTCA/FirestarterVT partnership.

• New employees will view you as a progressive firm that invests in people.

• The cost advantage gained from effective implementation of a blended employee development curriculum is compelling. You train more people for less money.

• You maintain production while training employees.

• You make yourself more attractive to the next generation while educating all your leaders.

“We are finally at a time where new technology is creating real value in employee learning,” Adamchik said. “Your key to recognizing maximum value is to get the right system. These tips will point you in the right direction. Ask your training provider or potential technology provider if they have these features. The savvy buyer recognizes the payoff delivered from these features and reaps the benefits.” Contact Adamchik at [email protected] to learn more about the NTCA/FirestarterVT partnership.

Benefits Box – November 2013

benefitsboxNTCA Members Speak Out

If you’ve been following the benefits presented in this section for the last few years and you STILL aren’t sure why becoming a member is a good idea, take it from a few of the members themselves:

Jon Donmoyer

JD Tile
Annville, Pa.

Why do I belong to the best tile association in the world?

One word, passion. Over the years since joining the NTCA, the biggest word that comes to my mind when I think of this organization is “passion.” Passion for people and passion for improving this industry step by step. Whenever I call the NTCA for help or support, I am always inspired. When I go to an event I am inspired as well to be around people who have worked hard to get in a position to represent and help others in this industry. There is no substitute or shortcut in doing our job the right way. The NTCA is there to provide the education, training, and support. I have made many lasting friendships in this organization. Thank you all, I am grateful to be a part of the NTCA.

Gary Kight
Conceptual Tile Solutions
Jacksonville, Fla. 

I belong to the association because of what it believes in, what it is willing to do to help tile installers be better installers, and what it does for the tile industry itself.

The NTCA offers me many great resources. The NTCA Reference Manual in itself is a valuable tool. The NTCA offers me contacts throughout the tile industry, including tile installers, tile inspectors and numerous other people within the trade that I can ask questions of and trust the information I am getting. NTCA offers Tile & Stone Workshops throughout the United States, by trained professionals who have worked in the trade, giving us hands on-training, where we can ask questions and learn new techniques. Along with the training workshops, there are also videos that show installation techniques that I can use to show my helpers. Training manuals and other literature are available.

The greatest benefit is that I know I am part of a group of people who are willing to learn and better themselves in a trade I am passionate about.

People like to do business with  people who want to better themselves and their industry. I use NTCA membership as marketing tool to let my customers know it is one of the ways I stay up on the growing trends and products in our industry.

Tom Hambrock
T & J Construction Services
Manchester, Tenn. 

Hambrock has been a John Bridge Forum member for many years, and via John Bridge, attended Coverings five years ago. That’s when he learned about NTCA and was persuaded to join.

“Being a real small contractor in a remote locality, I didn’t know what benefit it would be to me at first,” Hambrock said. “The carrot was the rebate (Partnering for Success Vouchers). Being a one-man contractor, $400 to join an organization at that time was a lot of money. But I thought, ‘If they will give me the money back on products I use, it’s a no-brainer.’

“Well, having done that and gotten involved with it, I gained more knowledge and more personal and professional relationships from it,” Hambrock continued. “I stepped up to the plate and volunteered to take the middle state of Tennessee state directorship for NTCA – from Chattanooga to Nashville, Crossville to the Tennessee River.”

Since then, Hambrock has become close personal friends with NTCA trainer/presenter Gerald Sloan, and has been on hand to support Gerald’s Tile & Stone Workshops in Hambrock’s area.

“NTCA membership has been a tremendous benefit to me, being in a remote area. Without the NTCA, I would not have the knowledge and experience that I have now, because there is nobody here to give me any insight.”

Fleet pricing for NTCA Members

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The National Tile Contractors Association now provides its members with fleet pricing on vehicles they purchase from authorized Chrysler dealerships via a Fleet Pricing Program the NTCA has set up with Howard Wilson Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, located in Flowood, Miss., near NTCA headquarters. With this program, members are eligible to purchase vehicles from the dealership at prices that will compete with pricing received by major corporate fleet customers who purchase hundreds of vehicles annually. For more information about this program, please contact Jim Olson, assistant executive director for the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) at 601-939-2071 or by email [email protected]

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NTCA Benefits Box – September 2012

NTCA Fleet Pricing Program

Your association is actively investigating programs, products and services that will enhance and provide advantages in your business such as the new Fleet Pricing Program partnership between NTCA and Howard Wilson Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram. The dealership, located in Flowood, Miss., near NTCA headquarters, will provide fleet pricing to NTCA members who purchase from authorized Chrysler dealerships via the NTCA Fleet Pricing Program. With this program, members can purchase vehicles from Howard Wilson Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram at prices that compete with major corporate fleet customers who purchase hundreds of vehicles annually.

For more information about this program, please contact Jim Olson, NTCA assistant executive director at 601-939-2071 or email [email protected]

NTCA Benefits Box – August 2012

The NTCA Executive Committee is currently revising the Association Strategic Plan for 2013/2014. It will be presented to the Board of Directors at Total Solutions Plus, taking place October 27th-30th in Palm Springs, Calif.

One of the main objectives identified for the NTCA is to continue to save our members money and find them work. Our mission is simple: eliminate any confusion or objections about why a tile contractor or business would NOT be a member of the NTCA. Here is a quick snapshot for those who are not yet members of the NTCA to consider:

Total NTCA Membership
Cost Per Year: $500
(Monthly billing of $45 on credit card or direct draft available)
Benefits of your membership: saving you $$$$$$$$

• Partnering For Success: $1,500 of free Product Vouchers (You get to pick the vendors with which you wish to partner. This benefit alone offsets your membership and allows you to actually MAKE money!)
• Free subscriptions to TileLetter and TADA magazines
• Free technical advice from association staff (over 150 years of industry installation, sales and technical experience)
• Strong voice on the development of industry standards (our members fight for the tile contractor)
• Free access to the NTCA Reference Manual (used in both customer and supplier correspondence)
• Discounted registration for  the Certified Tile Installer Program offered by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF)
• Discounted freight on Freightquote.com and Partnership
• Discounted insurance programs in liability, auto, property, workers’ compensation
• A complete low-cost program to assist the tile contractor in developing a marketing plan

These are just a few examples of programs NTCA has established to save you money. We are exploring new programs for 2013 in the health field, discounts on purchases of vehicles for your business, and more. Our staff will continue to strive to find programs that will offset expenses to your bottom line. It does not take a lot of time for you to do the math. Being a member of the NTCA is an easy decision!

NTCA: Dedicated to finding you work

New language in the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation and MasterSpec recognizes approved company recognition efforts like the NTCA Five Star Contractor Program and the CTEF Certified Tile Installer Program as viable resources for designers and specifiers to consider. At a minimum, we strongly recommend that those individuals involved in specifying or hiring installers request proven performance of successful projects of similar size and scope. This effort will only protect all NTCA members who are dedicated to the successful installation of ceramic tile and natural stone. Our staff is working on future partnerships with companies that sell ceramic tile and natural stone to consumers and project owners to be  resources for installation referrals and recommendations. We expect several announcements in 2013 that will result in unique opportunities for you and your business. In addition, we will continue to explore developing national account specifications for Certified Tile Installers and NTCA Five Star Contractors.

To obtain more information on NTCA membership, contact Jim Olson, NTCA assistant executive director, at [email protected] or call us at 601-939-2071.

Join the hundreds of new NTCA members now and see why your association makes perfect sense for your business!

NTCA Benefits Box – June 2012

The Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program

The Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program administered by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) is a comprehensive testing of the skills and knowledge of experienced tile installers which includes a 155-question, multiple-choice, open-book exam and hands-on test. Both are based on current industry standards and best practices for producing sound installations that exhibit good workmanship. The tests – considered validation of ability and not a training program – require that both the observable and non-observable characteristics of a finished installation are executed properly.

Installers who pass the written and hands-on exams receive a certificate, an identification card and most importantly, marketing materials developed by CTEF. For example, certified installers may display the CTI logo on business cards, vehicles, and clothing. Additionally, CTEF provides promotional brochures that encourage consumers and general contractors/builders to use certified installers.

“In less than four years, the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) has validated 750 members through the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program,” said Scott Carothers, CTEF executive director. “While this is quite an accomplishment, we realized that for the CTI program to achieve critical mass, it must move up to the next level quickly. For 2012, the goal is to confirm 200 more CTIs in one year, effectively totaling 1000 qualified installers. The ultimate goal of the CTI program is to provide the end user with a choice of an installer who has the skill and knowledge to install ceramic tile correctly the first time with high quality at a fair price.”

Another benefit of being a CTI is that the 2012 TCNA Handbook includes language that recommends the use and specification of qualified installers, validated through a number of programs and measures, including the CTI test. In addition, similar language has been added to MasterSpec, published by Arcom, that includes references to the importance of qualified labor in the Installer Qualifications section of the Division 9 specifications for tile work. (www.masterspec.com).  Brandishing one’s CTI qualifications sets installers apart from the crowd and sets the stage for lucrative work.

The cost of the CTI exam is normally $295, but current NTCA members in good standing receive a $100 discount, so CTI testing registration is only $195. What’s more, all installers who pass the CTI exam get to pick $300 worth of manufacturer’s free product coupons.

For more information about the testing protocols, visit www.tilecareer.com/Certification.htm or www.tile-assn.com/Member/CTEFCertification.aspx?mid=92.

BENEFITS BOX – May 2012

MEMBER-ONLY INSURANCE DISCOUNTS OFFERED THROUGH SLC

NTCA members can receive free quotes on a variety of insurance needs through Schechner Lifson Corporation (SLC) of Summit, N.J. This members-only agreement for property and liability insurance features many benefits to NTCA member firms including worldwide liability coverage, selling-price valuation on sold inventory, workers compensation, coverage for property at job sites, and employment practices liability (harassment/discrimination). In addition, SLC has numerous loss-control and safety programs that will assist you in controlling your contractual obligations – subcontractor risk-transfer, and hold-harmless agreements. SLC can also help with travel and accident coverage, and international liability-exposure coverage. SLC offers rate discounts for general liability and worker’s compensation, and a convenient pay-as-you-go premium payment option for workers compensation.

Marc Rosenkrantz is SLC’s liaison for NTCA members. He is eager to work with you towards meeting your insurance needs through programs that are specifically tailored to your company and the tile industry.

“We met Marc at Total Solutions two or three years ago,” said Dana Collins, of Collins Tile and Stone, Aldie, Va. “After the show, he followed up with us to give us a quote on our workman’s comp policy.  We immediately made the change to go with Marc, as he was able to save us significant dollars over what we were paying our current insurance broker for this coverage. I believe his focus on the tile industry has allowed him to offer such discounts, and would encourage any contractors out there to at least get a quote, and make some comparisons.”

For more information, contact Jim Olson, NTCA assistant executive director, at 601-939-2071/[email protected] or Marc Rosenkrantz, Schechner Lifson Corporation at 1-800-279-9360/[email protected] for a free quote or to discuss your insurance needs. This one service alone could literally save you you thousands of dollars.