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FEBRUARY 2013

Business Management: The Nuts & Bolts of Running a Business

MSDS Program in Transition... Are You Prepared?

Forethought & training makes better managers

Flooring Trends: Transform your floors into a functional piece of art


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Contents Features:

Busines Managesm ent: The Nuts & Bo lts

MSDS Prog ra in Transitio m

Are You Prepa n... red?

The Nuts & Bolts of Running a Business

Forethoug ht & traini ng makes bet ter manager s

What keeps you up at night? Managing the growth of your company is challenging to say the least. To assist you through the process, this issue of At Home in Berks delivers tips, advice and commentary on business essentials to help maximize the success of your company.

15 Invoicing Tips for Rapid Cash Flow

10 Flooring Trends... Transform your floors into a functional piece of art.

a 16 Why Community Bank?

Why community banks are committed to their towns and cities.

18 Forethought

& training makes managers

21 Customer Service... What’s your approach?

26 Sell Your Wares... Tips ranging from identifying your buyers to using modern technology

2013

of Running

a Business

Business Management:

6 Cash Flow...

FEBRUARY

Flooring Tr en

ds: Transform you r functional piec floors into a e of art.

Angles 4

MSDS Program in Transition Are you prepared?

8

Biggest Berks County Political Debate Ever We must hold our politicians to their campaign promises.

22 Become the Next Great Writer Tips and insights into developing your writing skills.

Departments

28 2

From the President

HBA of Berks County President Cathy Sloan.

Membership pages New and returning members, member to member discount programs, and an overview of all Association-related events from February to April 2013.


2013 HBA Berks

Board of Directors Officers: President Cathy Sloan, CGR, CAPS, CGP Aluminum Associates/Sloan Corporation

From the President

The journey begins...

First Vice President Patrick Dolan

Dolan Construction, Inc. (Reading)

Second Vice President

If you, the consumer, are not sure where to look for that registered contractor, building supplier, banker, insurance broker, or even a restaurant that has been supporting the industry for years, contact us by:

Ed Anewalt Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting (Bernville)

Secretary

1. Visit us at www.HBAberks.org

Chad Camburn, P.E.

2. Call our office at 610.777.8889 to speak with a staff member.

Bursich Associates, Inc. (Pottstown)

Treasurer

We, as members, need to pass the word: the stronger our association, and the more members we have, the easier it is for us to make the industry stronger. And, possibly eliminate the ‘chuck in a truck’ that so many of us reputable contractors are losing business to; and so many consumers are losing money to.

John Schmoyer Fulton Mortgage Company (Wyomissing)

Immediate Past President Kevin Kozo, CGP Turnberry Custom Homes (West Reading)

Builder Directors Marco Folino, CGB, CGP Folino Homes, Inc. (Blandon) Daphne Frownfelter, CKD Deer Mountain Kitchens (Robesonia) Diane Salks

Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc. (Temple)

Brad Kehres

L A Kehres Building & Remodeling (Leesport)

Eric Keller

Berks Fire & Water Restorations, Inc. (Reading)

Associate Directors Jim Gavin

Masano Bradley Attorneys At Law (Wyomissing)

Bryan Moll

B & G Glass (Reading)

Sherrie Hallowell

VIST Bank (Wyomissing)

HBA Staff Executive Officer & At Home in Berks Editor-in-Chief Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM

Membership Coordinator/ Office Manager Katie Mauger

I

am about to embark on my term as HBA of Berks County’s 2013 President and am honored to be leading an association that has been supporting the home building industry for over 50 years. It is also my privilege to be working with such a capable group of Board members, committee members, and staff that are willing to work for the greater good of our industry and association.

I realize the past four years or so have been challenging for everyone, not just our members, but also the consumers. I believe 2013 will still bring challenges, but we need to take on a positive outlook. We need to help consumers realize that sometimes spending the extra dollars now will save them money in the long haul, because when you get the job done right the first time and they stand behind their work - you will not have to pay to have it redone or fixed.

Our members take pride in servicing our community, not only as members of the HBA, but other associations as well. We strive to not only service the community but give back to it as well; such as: our HBA nonprofit association - Restoring Hope Foundation (www.HBArestoringHOPE. org) - which gives back to families in need. We also regularly work with Habitat for Humanity. There is so much to learn about our association that not only helps you as a company supporting the industry, but helps you the consumer as well. There are a ton of resources that touch both the building industry and consumer on all levels (local, state & national) that taking the time to research can benefit both.

I want you, the company supporting the building industry! If you are not already a member, think about becoming a member. Don’t you think it is worth the hundreds of dollars you can save or get back in: office supplies, building supplies, marketing service, and much more? When you break down the fee in dollars

The written and visual contents of this magazine are protected by copyright. Reproduction of articles or images online or in print without first obtaining written permission from Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc., and/or the Home Builders Association of Berks County is strictly forbidden. Publisher: Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc. I 610.685.0914 2921 Windmill Road, Suite 4, Sinking Spring, PA 19608 Dave Hessen, Director of Creative Operations dave@hoffmannpublishing.com


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

per day, you find most of us will probably spend that much daily on coffee or a beer. If you can join an association that supports you and can make things better for you, aren’t those few dollars per day plus benefits worth it? We know there is strength in numbers. If we want things to turn around, we must pull together and become a stronger voice.

I want you, the consumer! Next time you need to hire a contractor, don’t just think about the dollars. I know that can be difficult, but when you hire an HBA member, the end result will be the job getting done right. Pick up the phone or visit our website to find a good contractor and let them bid on the job. Don’t forget you can always ask for references. When you find the contactor you are happy with, call them back for your next project and begin building a long term relationship. You will find that loyalty is an important part of the relationship you are building, because not only do you recognize the quality of their work, but they can provide quality references for services outside of their specialty. I feel this has been something that has been lost over the years and we need to bring it back in

order to grow our economy. Our parents and grandparents had loyalty and it worked for them, why not learn a lesson from the past?

I know 2013 will bring challenges in my own company as did the last couple of years. I want you to know that because I am no different than you. I truly understand the struggles, but I have confidence in my industry and the people that have supported my husband and I through the rough times. A majority of them are HBA members... another reason I am a member. Our loyal customers have also been very supportive through the years and are greatly appreciated.

Interesting facts about Cathy: A First: First Female President in HBA’s 55 year history

Born & Raised: Muhlenberg Township Live Now: Muhlenberg Township Married to: HBA Past President Kert

Sloan

Married How Long: 18 years Kids: Four Grandkids: Six How Long in Construction: 20 years High School: Muhlenberg

I wish everyone a healthy and prosperous 2013!

Construction Education: Certified

Graduate Remodeler (CGR), Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS), and Certified Green Professional (CGP) through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

Cathy Sloan

Favorite Past Time: “Spending time with my Grandkids. We do a lot of crafts.”

Cathy Sloan, CGR, CAPS, CGP

Hawaii

Aluminum Associates/Sloan Corp. 2013 HBA President

Together We Can Build A Strong Community!

Favorite Vacation: Honeymoon to Kaui, Dog or Cat Person: “Definitely big dogs! We had Rottweiler’s growing up.”

Proud Sponsor Of The Berks HBA

Locally owned & operated in Berks! Call us for all of your insurance needs at 610-777-4123 or visit us online at www.galleninsurance.com

february 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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MSDS Program in Transition Are You Prepared?

H

ow many of you are old enough to remember when OSHA introduced the Material Safety data Sheet (MSDS) and Right to Know programs into the American workplace? A disruptive time and quite sizeable cost to most businesses to adopt this regualtion into their workplace and employee introduction of the program details.

Here We go Again Earlier this year, OSHA revised the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) and adopted new classification of hazardous materials to fall inline with a Universal identification system. These changes are now underway as the HCS aligns with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of classification and labeling of chemicals utilized around the world. These revisions are significant and affect all employers who manufacture, distribute, store, and use chemicals.

Scope of Change It is estimated that over 5 million workplaces in the United States will be 4

AT HOME IN BERKs february 2013

By Dale Rothenberger

affected by the revised HCS. These are all those workplaces where employees, a total of approximately 43 million of them, could be exposed to hazardous chemicals. OSHA anticipates that these changes will make the work place much safer, because the universal classification and labeling system will make it easier for everyone to understand the proper handling procedures and uses for all chemicals. As a result, trade barriers should be reduced and American businesses that deal with hazardous chemicals should see increased productivity at a higher cost savings. Pharmaceuticals, food additives, cosmetics, and pesticide residues in food will not be covered by the GHS at the point of consumption, but will be covered where workers may be exposed (workplaces), and in transport. Also, the medical use of human or veterinary pharmaceuticals is generally addressed in package inserts and is not part of existing hazard communication systems. Similarly, foods are generally not labeled under existing hazard communication systems. The exact requirements for labels and Safety Data Sheets will continue to be defined in national regulations.

The New Look The new Safety Data Sheet (SDS) will provide information in entirely new format as a resource to obtain advice on safety precautions. The SDS information enables the employer to develop an active program of worker protection


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make your house Regulations affect:

a home

Labels New format for product and transportation

Symbols

V BERKS ISIT COUNT Y

Pictograms are new and different than what we were taught to recognize

PREMI ’S E GARDE NC R ENT

Employee education

ER Wh previeewre you can your pri and pla n nts! ts

General orientation and familiarization Compliance is phased in between now and December 2013-how will you properly prepare and manage this tranisition?

Key provisions new HCS standard include: Hazard classification: The will be a new system and set criteria for classifying the hazardous properties of chemicals. This classification system offers very specific instructions as to the classification of any and all health and physical hazards in additional to mixtures’ classifications.

Labels: Under the new labeling system all chemical importers and manufacturers will be expected to utilize labels that include a signal word, pictogram and hazard statement from the new harmonized system.

Safety Data Sheets: Detailed chemical safety information will be required and must follow a uniform 16-section format.

Information and Training: Employers are required to train workers by December 1, 2013 on the new GHS label elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding. This is required to aid in the recognition and understanding of these important changes.

CUSTOM DESIGNS & INSTALLATION

Landscaping | Hardscaping | Ponds, Water Features & Waterfalls COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY MAINTENANCE SERVICES Spring Clean Up | Lawn Mowing & Lawn Care Services Edging & Mulching | Pruning of Shrubs | Shrub/Tree Fertilization Weed Control-Beds | Replacement & Rejuvenation of Landscapes Pond Maintenance Services | Lawn Installation | Spring Pond Openings

Riverview

Tree & Landscaping 3049 Pricetown Rd. (Rt. 12) Temple

610.929.5049 | riverviewtree.com measures, including training, which is specific to the individual workplace and to consider any measures that may be necessary to protect the environment. Information in a SDS also provides a source of information for other target audiences such as those involved with the transport of dangerous goods, emergency responders, poison centers, those involved with the professional use of pesticides, and consumers. Whether this is the first time you are hearing about this change, or if you have a transition program already underway,

PA # 005859

being able to call on knowledge experts can ensure you stay compliant throughout this transition period.

About the Author Dale Rothenberger, Zee Medical Service Company, has over 20 years of experience in business transformation and program process management. He is available for consultation and can be reached at d.rothenberger@zeemedrdg.com or at 610.926.1401. february 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

15 Invoicing Tips for Rapid Cash Flow By Merra Lee Moffitt, AWMA, CMFC, CFP

In these recessionary times, large companies are paying even slower and small companies may be struggling and paying slower than usual. Here are invoicing tricks you do have control over to achieve faster cash flow.

1

Invoice immediately. Don’t wait till the end of the month or even the end of the week to invoice. Invoice the day the project is done or the item(s) are shipped. If you wait a week or two, that’s more time you’ll need to wait for the check.

2

Invoice in progress payments. If you are providing a service that has definable progress, get agreement at the beginning of the project as to what project portions can be billed and the interim progress criteria.

3

Determine if email invoicing would be better. Emailing an invoice is faster, harder to ignore and easier to do after hours. But, don’t automatically assume that email invoicing is the best choice for your client. Since, most invoices arrive in the mail, the client already has a routine method of 6

AT HOME IN BERKs february 2013

scheduling and managing their payment flow. If the client is a busy person with an assistant who writes the checks, sending an email is an extra step that may not be convenient for the client. Similarly, that type of client should never be handed an invoice in person either. It is too easy to misplace before it gets back to the bill payment desk. Consider both. Email and mail or hand in person, but still mail.

4

Have a due date, not just ‘due on receipt.’ Use a due date on the invoice that is about 10-12 days from the mailing date. That way it will be due about 7-10 days from when it arrives in the mail. The client can then put the invoice in the file of items to be paid soon. In most cases that would be at the next weekly payment cycle. Companies that pay in 30 days, or 45 days will not adhere to your due date anyway (sadly).

5

Detail your invoice. Write a detailed description of the items, service details, and dates that the invoice covers. Sometimes, clients will dispute an invoice simply because they want to delay paying. Having a detailed account reminds the client of all the work you did and the items you delivered.

6

Put the client’s phone number on the invoice. This actually increases the probability that you will get paid. Also, it saves you time if you have to call later to ask about payment. For larger companies include the Purchase Order number and the project manager’s name (your contact).

7

Set payment terms at the start. Before you start the project or deliver the items, specify the payment terms. Most companies routinely have their own payment policy. Discussing it up front establishes you as a professional and helps ensure you get paid. It also sets the expectations. Some companies pay on the same day each week, on the same day each month, or simply 30, 45, or even 60 days after receipt. While you may not be able to alter the payment schedule, knowing it will help you plan better.

8

Find out the prerequisites. Some companies require your EIN be on record. Some require your insurance information. Others require there be a Purchase Order even if the person


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

who purchased from you may not have clearly stated that. So, when working for a larger company, find out who (specifically) handles payment. Double check the payment terms at the very start of the project; so, you collect any needed documentation along the way. This speeds invoicing and eliminates reasons for slowing your payment.

9

Try to get a deposit up front. If you have to buy materials specifically for that client which cannot be returned without cost, ask for partial payment to begin the project. This also verifies that the client is committed. If you haven’t already been doing this, it may seem harder than it is. It gets easier after you’ve been burned a couple times.

10

Offer credit card payment. Even in larger companies, it may be convenient to pay by credit card. Credit payments show up in your account often within 24 hours of payment.

11

Pay attention to changes. Clients frequently change their product orders and project needs after the initial order has been started. Give them ongoing detailed reports of work progress on projects and items ordered or shipped. Having a clearly defined documented change process up front will help you get paid when there are project or material changes.

12

Build a document trail. Keep track of requested changes in writing. Be able to document extras that the client requested. Sounds cumbersome? Remember that the person writing the check may not be the same person who works with you on the project, but may have responsibility for payment accuracy. Help them out and help yourself get paid by creating and keeping the documents they’ll need.

13

Send copies with past due dates. Make it a routine to send copies of invoices 25-30 days after the original invoice. It is possible for invoices to be genuinely misplaced. If clearly marked as ‘past due’, it may instill a bit of urgency if your client is a sole proprietor or small company. Statement copies can also look like your accounting system automatically sent it; so, your relationship is better preserved.

Connect with the HBA...

Home Builders Association of Berks County

@HBAberks

HBAberks

Group: HBA Berks

Channel: HBAberks

14

Arrange for someone else to make collection calls. Have your assistant, accountant, spouse, business coach or some other person call the client. People are embarrassed about not paying and having someone else call achieves several purposes. It preserves your relationship; it looks like you have a system, which you do; and it gets you paid when they simply need a friendly reminder.

15

Use your Accounts Receivable reports. This report shows how many days payment has been due from each client. Use it as a trigger system, by deciding how many days before you make the first friendly call, send a statement, or transfer to collections. Adding these tips and tricks to your invoicing process may seem like a lot of work, but it helps you to avoid the painful consequences of slow cash flow!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Merra Lee Moffitt, AWMA, CMFC, CFP, a small business wealth strategist for Good Life Financial Group, spends all day, every day, guiding business owners, capturing their financial dreams and goals from their small business profits. She can be reached at (610) 488-7353 or by email at merralee.moffitt@lpl.com february 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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T

he New Year is well underway with a myriad of challenges, promises, and goals to be met & achieved. Goals require regular and sequential actions to be taken in order to achieve said objectives. Setting goals means establishing timelines and holding oneself accountable. Just as we hold ourselves to goals and objectives, we must hold our politicians to their campaign promises. BEST POLITICAL DEBATES IN BERKS HISTORY The HBA Berks Political Debates that took place in October of 2012 at Alvernia University were both opportunities for the candidates to share their goals, if elected, as well as gauge voter’s opinion. Ultimately the constituents decided which candidates best represented their values. This was accomplished through a civic mandate on Tuesday, November 6th 2012.

Organized, promoted, and moderated by the Home Builders Association, the debates, all but forgotten now, were telling. The three debates were not remotely similar in style, manner, and pace. One of the three debates was not even a debate so much as a platform presentation for the lone candidate to speak for a few minutes. PA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 129TH LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT DEBATE The most entertaining of the debates was the third, between Republican incumbent Jim Cox, of the 129th Legislative District, and challenger Democrat Erik Saar. Debate moderator HBA Executive Officer Christian D. Malesic even had to remind the audience to reserve their comments 8

AT HOME IN BERKs february 2013

JUST AS WE HOLD OURSELVES TO GOALS AND OBJECTIVES, WE MUST HOLD OUR POLITICIANS TO THEIR CAMPAIGN PROMISES.

for post-debate discussion as a few folks yelled out and another stormed out of the room after hearing various debate points. Mr. Saar took the gloves off in an attempt to goad Representative Cox into a white-knuckled slugfest. Representative Cox, cool as a cucumber, never took the bait while simultaneously countering Saar’s unrelenting jabs particularly on Pennsylvania House Bill 1776.

Mr. Saar said, “the old Hold Harmless Law which essentially means that old census data is what determines ‘who gets what’ doesn’t take into consideration the demographic growth of Berks County residents since 1990 and Harrisburg politicians (Saar points at Mr. Cox while simultaneously saying this) are to blame for this.” Mr. Saar routinely pointed at Representative Cox while accusing him of being part of the ‘big government’ problem in Harrisburg. Saar certainly came prepared and did not disappoint. Despite having lost the election to Representative Cox, Mr. Saar was articulate, relentless, and as sharp as his background in military intelligence had suggested. He will undoubtedly return to the political arena in the not-too-distant future.

MOST POPULAR HBA YOUTUBE CHANNEL: HBABERKS SEGMENTS:

Pensions - Cox vs. Saar Debate - PA House of Reps 129th District - 23 Oct 12 (6:25)

Property Tax Elimination - Cox vs. Saar Debate - PA House of Reps 129th District - 23 Oct 12 (6:48)

Foreclosures & Property Tax - Cox vs. Saar Debate - PA House of Reps 129th District - 23 Oct 12 (7:56)


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PA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 126TH LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT DEBATE Republican candidate Jim Billman presented his platform unopposed, for the vacant seat in the 126th Legislative District in the state House of Representatives, as Democrat Mark Rozzi declined the opportunity to debate. Former Representative Dante Santoni Jr. did not seek reelection after twenty years in the seat.

Mr. Billman only spoke for several of the thirty minutes afforded him despite the opportunity to sell his candidacy more convincingly. According to the Reading Eagle, Mr. Billman said that he learned a lot from the experience, and plans to try for public office again in the future. Democrat Mark Rozzi, a Muhlenberg Township business owner, won the open seat garnering 16,358 votes to Billman’s 6,847 votes. The 126th District is comprised of Muhlenberg, Alsace and Lower Alsace Townships; Mount Penn, St. Lawrence and Laureldale; and parts of Exeter Township and Reading. Rozzi said, “I can’t wait to get to work and start doing the right things for my district. It’s that simple.”

MOST POPULAR HBA YOUTUBE CHANNEL: HBABERKS SEGMENTS:

Billman vs. Rozzi Debate - PA House of Representatives 126th District - 23 Oct 12 (6:31) PA SENATE 11TH LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT DEBATE Incumbent Democrat Senator Judy Schwank’s debate with Republican challenger Karen Mogel was a study in contrasts as Senator Schwank answered confidently and promptly while Ms. Mogel appeared reserved and ill-at-ease at times with the questions, surely ruing a

missed opportunity. Schwank and Mogel discussed, rather than debated, property tax elimination in Pennsylvania, House Bill 1776 of 2012, as well as Senate Bill 1400 of 2012.

Another point of interest that Senator Schwank alluded to was Pennsylvania’s anti-business stance, “Pennsylvania has a forty-five percent higher tax rate than the national average,” as reported by Investor’s Business Daily. Both candidates missed the opportunity to delve further into tax reduction, particularly regarding property taxes and how, at least in Berks County, property taxes have eclipsed the actual mortgage payment for many households. The so-called debate seemed more like a platform presentation by Senator Schwank as Ms. Mogel mostly listened and rarely challenged the incumbent will follow-ups. Senator Schwank spoke of the need to change Pennsylvania’s anti-business stance, specifically the hindrance of the CNI tax (corporate net income tax). Senator Schwank stated that if Pennsylvania’s CNI tax was not the highest then it was second only to Minnesota.

Senator Schwank successfully defended her seat representing the 11th Senatorial District with a convincing victory over her Republican challenger gaining 61,565 votes to Mogel’s 33,764 votes. Senator Schwank was first elected during a special election twenty-one months ago to fill the remaining term of the seat. Schwank said that she welcomes her first full term and went on to say that at the top of her list of priorities is property tax reform. The 11th Senatorial District includes Alsace, Bern, Brecknock, Caernarvon, Centre, Oley, Exeter, Lower Alsace, Maxatawny, Muhlenberg, Cumru, Richmond, Robeson, and Ruscombmanor townships; Reading; and Birdsboro, Centerport, Fleetwood, Kenhorst, Kutztown, Laureldale, Leesport, Mount Penn, Mohnton, Lyons, New Morgan, Topton, St. Lawrence, Shillington, West Reading and Wyomissing. The debates were led by panelists’ questions presented by John Forester of the Reading Eagle, Jeffrey Sicher of Reading-Berks Association of Realtors, Deb Kearse from the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce Industry, and David Myers of Alvernia University.

MOST POPULAR HBA YOUTUBE CHANNEL: HBABERKS SEGMENTS:

Property Tax Elimination - Schwank vs. Mogel Debate - PA Senate 11th District - 23 Oct 12 (12:53)

PA Borrowing from Children - Schwank vs. Mogel Debate - PA Senate 11th District - 23 Oct 12 (5:28)

Failing Cities & Revitalization - Schwank vs. Mogel Debate - PA Senate 11th District - 23 Oct 12 (4:10)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen E. Doyle is a university student at Penn State Berks (in his 3rd year) majoring in professional writing. He was assigned this article by the Editorin-Chief “to give him the experience of covering a ‘contentious’ political issue with impartiality and fairness december 2012 AT HOME IN BERKS

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Flooring

TRENDS...

“Most people see flooring as a blank background canvas,� shares Kevin Ohlinger of Residential Design in Temple. He continues that this blank canvas is often simply covered with a rug or downgraded in quality because of price. However, plenty of trendy options are available to homeowners to transform this blank background canvas into a piece of art as well as function in a home.

C

arpet tile is one type of flooring trend Ohlinger has seen transfer from a commercial product to a residential flooring product. Instead of the carpet being wall-to-wall, carpet tile is simply tile-by-tile carpet held together

10

AT HOME IN BERKs february 2013

with rubber backing adhesives. As a result, colors, textures, patterns, and tile directions can be mixed and matched to create a unique modular carpet. Carpet tiles can be used to create carpet runners, rugs, or wallto-wall flooring. If any of the carpet needs


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is a current trend in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and foyers.

to be replaced, only the damaged tiles need to be removed instead of the entire flooring in traditional carpeting. Ohlinger also says recycled rubber products are being used as walk-off rubber mats and wall-to-wall flooring in mud rooms, bathrooms, entrances, exercise rooms, and even playrooms. This material is made out of recycled tires, is easy to clean, is durable, and is without seams or grout lines in appearance. Natural vinyl is also being used in kitchens as the product is reminiscent of flooring from past generations. “People remember

their grandma’s kitchens and the type of flooring she had. Manufacturers are building off of that,” explains Ohlinger.

Jere Kochel, who handles sales and the showroom floor at Martin’s Flooring with locations in Lancaster, Fivepointville and Harrisburg, sees luxury vinyl tile (LVT) as a current trend in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and foyers.

“LVT recreates the look of stone ceramic with acrylic grout. It visually has the realistic look of ceramic but not the hardness or coldness of tile,” shares Kochel who explains that the grout used with LVT comes premixed and doesn’t stain as do traditional grouts.

John Baranowski, a flooring subcontractor for Greth Homes from About All Floors in Birdsboro, sees one flooring trend focus on tile size. Traditionally, flooring tiles have been 12 x 12; however, explains Baranowski, larger tiles with sizes of 20 x 20 and 18 x 18 are now being used. He is also seeing different shapes beyond the typical square, such as rectangular tiles.

Hardwood flooring in kitchens are becoming more common as well; such as distressed woods where signs of aging have been applied to the wood. “Distressed woods are nice because you naturally live in your homes and on your floors,” explains Baranowski. As a result, if something drops Continued on page 12 february 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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carpet itself, Hogue is witnessing a trend away from Berber to long-cut pile.

Hogue also recommends caution on installing Brazilian Cherry hardwood, which is vulnerable to UV rays. He sees many homeowners having this hardwood in open areas with a lot of light and area rugs added to cover the flooring. When he stages a house for selling and looks under the rug, the damage to the Brazilian Cherry hardwood is evident from the UVdarkened wood.

A trend that’s gaining wide popularity is wood-look ceramic, which is ceramic tile that looks like hardwood flooring.

Continued from page 11 on, scrapes or scratches the floor, or causes any other possible wear, it just fits into the look.

Zach Eshbach, Vice President at Malsnee Tile & Stone in Leesport, agrees on the trend with LVT and compliments the grout that is now stain-free and guarantees color maintenance. He has also seen the trend of wood-look ceramic, which is ceramic tile that looks like hardwood flooring. As far as traditional hardwood floors, Eshbach is seeing wider planks from the norm of 3-inch to 9-inch planks. He is also seeing cork being installed in kitchens, family rooms, and playrooms because of the cushion it provides. It is also waterresistant, which helps with cleaning spills in the kitchen. Another trend, according to Eshbach worthy of flooring consideration involves ADA accessible showers being installed in bathrooms. “With the down economy, more people are saying, ‘this is my house, and I’m staying here for a while.’ A lot of people are putting in ADA accessible 12

AT HOME IN BERKs february 2013

One of the first things a realtor notices involves area rugs. “Why are the rugs there?” If the rugs are protecting the flooring but cover the entire floor, he suggests the wrong type of flooring is being used. showers, causing dicey installation changes in processes. For example, where does the water go since the shower has no curbs?” explains Eshbach.

He further explains that not knowing where the water goes affects the floor as well as the drywall below the floor, which in turn can impact a lower-level room under the shower. He recommends flooring options as well as surface preparations need to be considered before ADA accessible showers are installed. When Jeff Hogue, Realtor with Prudential Landis, steps into a home he looks at the flooring through the eyes of potential homebuyers. One of the first things he notices involves area rugs.

“Why are the rugs there?” he asks. If the rugs are protecting the flooring but cover the entire floor, he suggests the wrong type of flooring is being used. He also will look under the rugs to see what is being covered, which can include stains or any other damage to the covered flooring. As far as

Some homeowners using Brazilian Cherry in open areas with a lot of light, find damage to their hardwood from UV rays. Continued on page 14


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Flooring options as well as surface preparations need to be considered before ADA accessible showers are installed.

Every job performed by skilled craftsmen.

Another trend worthy of flooring consideration involves ADA accessible showers being installed in bathrooms. A lot of people are putting in ADA accessible showers, which gives to dicey installation changes and processes. For example, where does the water go since the shower has no curbs?�

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february 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs 13


Continued from page 12 “You wouldn’t buy an expensive antique and leave it on the coffee table. You need to take care of your Brazilian Cherry,” shares Hogue who recommends proper polarized windows to protect the hardwood.

Planning “Flooring starts with planning for now and the future,” shares Hogue. When building a home and choosing flooring, consider the molding, the flooring outlay, and the home design. Then he suggests to “get the flooring you want at that time since the flooring will be financed instead of paid with solid cash in the future with higher costs for supplies and materials.” He also acknowledges that homeowners “grow into a home” and remodel flooring as needed,

One such place to start with internet research is virtual design rooms on flooring sites, such as Armstrong or Mannington. These rooms allow you to select sample rooms or upload your own room photo to see how different flooring options would look in that room. If online research isn’t available, Eshbach recommends going into a bookstore to pick up home renovation magazines for pictures and ideas. “See what you like, and keep a binder of what you like. Clips and pictures go a long way to making it easier to help you when you say this is what I’m looking for,” he suggests.

He also reminds homeowners to look beyond flooring trends. “There are no hard fast rules. It’s your house. If you want hardwood on your ceiling, do it if you like it...it’s your space. Don’t get hung up on what HGTV says or on the next big thing in flooring.”

References and websites: Jere Kochel at Martin’s Flooring: www.martinsflooring.com Kevin Ohlinger of Residential Design: http://kevinohlinger.com

such as when young children grow up and no longer spill items that may damage flooring.

Floor planning also includes the purpose of each room. “People need to ask themselves what are you using the room for and then make the spaces unique spaces,” adds Baranowski, He continues; the internet helps educate customers on flooring choices and what they specifically want for flooring. This, in turn, helps him know how to help homeowners in the showroom. 14

AT HOME IN BERKs february 2013

John Baranowski from About All Floors: http://aboutallfloors.brandsource.biz Jeff Hogue with Prudential Landis: http://jeffreyhoguerealtor.com Zach Eshbach at Malsnee Tile & Stone: www.malsnee.com Armstrong’s Design a Room: www.armstrong.com/flooring/design-tools.asp Mannington’s Virtual Decorator: www.mannington.com/virtualdecorator


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Why a Community Bank? By J. William Bargfrede

W

hether located in small towns, suburbia, or large city neighborhoods, community banks are committed to the towns and cities where they are located.

The Big Difference Community banks fund small businesses and use local dollars to re-invest in the communities they serve. And, they help families purchase homes or build new homes by offering competitive construction mortgage financing programs at competitive rates. They have a strong focus and place an emphasis on the needs of local families, businesses, and farmers. It is a priority for community banks to help the communities they serve build financial security.

They “Get It”

Because community banks are themselves “small businesses,” they understand the needs of small to mid-sized businesses owners and individuals. As members of the community, they take great pride in 16

AT HOME IN BERKs december 2012

the services provided and always look for opportunities to deliver superior customer service, second to none. Community banks have a clear vision to channel most of their loans to the neighborhoods where they live and work, all in an effort to keep local communities “vibrant and growing!”

It’s Not Just Business, It’s Personal

decision making. This can be an invaluable asset in considering requests that may be “outside the box.” You will be please to know that community banking officers and employees are deeply involved in local community affairs and events. Making every effort to give back to the communities served. You deserve the personal attention a Community bank and its employees have to offer, a banking staff that knows you by name.

Community bank officers are accessible to customers and prospects. Their goal is to establish a personal banking relationship by getting to know the individual(s), understand their needs, and come up with viable financial solutions that work for everyone involved. This, in turn, helps to develop healthy and full banking relationships within the communities they serve.

About the Author:

Community bankers know the communities they serve and offer local

J. William “Bill” Bargfrede is the AVP / Residential Mortgage Lending Manager for Fleetwood Bank. Contact Bill at wbargfrede@ flooetwoodbank.com or 484. 334.9946.

Decisions Made Local

Visit a community bank in your neighborhood...and come on down to Main Street!


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FORETHOUGHT

&

TRAINING

MAKES MANAGERS By Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM

S

enior management in every industry is well-known for setting-up our best skilled workers for failure. It is as if we are specifically trying to sabotage our own companies by reducing the workforce skill level and using poor management to try to fix it. A fancy new title and a raise does not a manager make. A top-notch management selection process and training program is the only road to ensure future success.

LEADERS MAKE GREAT MANAGERS: The best worker does not make the best manager, the natural-born leader does. Though scholars continue to argue the finer details, it is widely accepted that “leaders are born and managers are made.” Leaders are followed. The directives of Managers are carried out. The Leader is the person spreading news from the grapevine, teaching trade tricks, and from whom co-workers seek advice. At breaks, the Leader can be found telling “there I was” stories with an attentive audience and organizing the weekend fishing trip or bar bash. The Manager is the person given that title by executives to be in charge of people, projects, and money. In theory, anyone can be taught to manage well. Managers can be taught efficiency, organization, project flow, and even to earn the respect of those they manage. Managers, as the theory goes, cannot be taught how to lead. Though it is possible that the best worker is also a natural leader, this is rarely the case. Instead of looking to the firm’s best workers to 18

AT HOME IN BERKs february 2013

serve in open management roles, consider promoting and training the natural leader. Management selection processes should begin pre-hire with an eye on identifying potential leaders. These employees should then be observed in their current role for signs of leadership and future advancement.

TIERED MANAGEMENT STRUCTURES: Think large when developing the structure of management. All large companies were once small. So, instead of waiting until the company is large and then having to revamp the entire reporting chain; develop the structure at the outset. It is better to have a structure with unfilled positions, or those not currently needed in the smaller organization, then it is to remodel the entire structure at a later date to adapt it to the growing firm. In some industries, the lowest level of management is the Shift Manager, Department Director, or Section Chief. In construction, we refer to this position as Foreman, Job Supervisor, or Superintendent. Each firm must chose these titles carefully and the reporting hierarchy with which they are associated. For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that the person who manages

workers directly is called the Department Manager (DM). The Department Manager keeps the work flowing, assigns tasks, coordinates with other departments, ensures items are in-stock, and briefs the client, all while still working alongside their subordinates to facilitate the day’s activities. Department Managers report to the person who manages a number of departments, a position that is primarily office and paperwork intensive, usually called the General Manager (GM) or Project Manager. GMs, in turn, report to a member of the Executive Staff, usually the Chief Operating Officer (COO). It is not uncommon to further break up the management levels of DM and GM into subcategories. For example, the DM category could be sub-divided into: Junior Department Manager, Department Manager, and Senior Department Manager. A Junior DM may be the term


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used to describe a new entry into the management ranks who works under the direction of a DM or Senior DM. A DM would be an experienced manger with a bigger workforce and larger job assignments. Finally, a Senior DM would have the most experience at assisting with employee training, x-large projects, and those jobs requiring specialized skills or in dealing with detail-oriented clients. The Senior DM would likely run the largest or most complex department. The GM ranks could be similarly divided.

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It is also wise to have pre-management positions that introduce potential entrants to the ranks without the accompanying official responsibilities. Thus, an Assistant Department Manager would serve as a normal crew member most of the time; but would be available to take over a portion of the project as needed by the DM. Additionally, they will fill-in as acting DM when the DM is on vacation or off work for personal reasons.

The most successful restaurant-chain in world history, McDonald’s, is the brunt of many jokes. They are, however, so successful because they are experts. Not only are they experts at “flipping burgers,” their world-renowned Hamburger University is a benchmark for educating management trainees on operation procedures, customer service, cleanliness, and business development. Similarly, Disney, United Parcel Service (UPS), Dell, and many others have been recognized as best-inclass for management and/or customer service training. Unfortunately, many other industries have the opposite distinction. They are recognized as the industry that provides no management training or has the worst

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customer service. Digging deeper will usually find that these industries promote their best hopefuls with a new title and a pay bump, only to throw them to wolves by telling them to go run the workplace. Throwing a fellow in the Mississippi River to teach them to swim may have been accepted in Tom Sawyer’s day, but is a procedure doomed to fail with management trainees. At the very least, each level of management should be given initial training followed by annual reoccurring training that delves deeper and

broader as employees move up through the ranks. The best place to start is with the job description. What skills/tools will make the new manager improve company profitability and enhance reputation? Focus on key business areas:

• Customer Service • Communicating Professionally

Continued on page 20 february 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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Continued from page 19

• Reoccurring Duties • Completing Paperwork • Management & Team Building • Organization & Time Management • Technical Skill Enhancement • Role in Company’s Profitability • Official Employee Interaction • Merit Shop Responsibilities Next, find outside vendors of one to two day seminar-style courses and add self-study activities (books, books-on-tape, videos, webinars, etc.) that specialize in training new or advancing managers. Those activities that are specific to your company (completing a Job Report, corporate marketing soft-skills, or parts scheduling, for example) should be taught in-house by the DM team or executive staff. Skills can be taught in week or multiweek long training intensive courses where a trainee focuses only on management training until completed. Or, conversely, management trainees can complete

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classroom training intermixed with fieldwork over an extended period of time (say, six months for management training).

Your company’s approach must incorporate four overarching themes to profit and succeed in the new economy: • Develop a management structure for where you want your firm to be, not where it is. • Hire even entry-level technicians (apprentices) with potential management in mind. • Constantly analyze the workforce to identify future management leaders. • Train, train, and re-train!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM is the Executive Officer of the Home Builders Association of Berks County. He provides insight on construction issues, business operations, marketing, personal finance, and occasionally, on political philosophy/ history. Contact Christian at the HBA of Berks County office: Christian@HBAberks.org or, to receive notice of the newest articles written by Christian, follow him on Twitter @CDMalesic.

TRAINING SOURCES •

HBA of Berks County / NAHB

International Builders Show (IBS)

Community College or University Continuing Education Department • Regional Small Business Development Center

• Skillpath Seminars (www. skillpath.com)

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Customer Service:

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What’s Your Approach? By Lura Bare

T

he insurance industry is obviously a sales oriented business. With 55 years in the insurance industry, we’ve learned there is nothing more important than serving the customer. As sales professionals, it can be easy to get caught up in the process of trying to make a sale and forget about the customer. It is important to remember that you are trying to create a relationship, which results in a customer, not simply a sale. Remember, the customer is the very reason you are in business today. So the question is...How can we as business professionals express our gratitude towards our customers for keeping us in business? The answer is simple, CUSTOMER SERVICE. Customer Service should be on your mind before the potential client calls on the phone or walks in the door; even before they are a “customer.” It is important to listen and to treat them with respect from the very first moment. Always remember that the customer is our job not an interruption of our job. We, as business professionals, need to take time to listen

to their needs and wants and do our best to fulfill them. Keep in mind that merely “satisfying” customers will not be enough to earn their loyalty. Instead, they must experience exceptional service worthy of their repeat business and referrals. At our company, we can vouch for the truth that one of the most powerful sales tools is word of mouth, as our business has grown over the years primarily from referrals of our satisfied customers. Our Customer Service & the way we treat our client(s) throughout the sale & beyond is going to determine if our referral business will continue to grow.

The Bare Essence

The essence of good Customer Service is forming a relationship with your customer, in other words, instilling an element of trust. How is this approached? Consistency. Consistency is the key to letting your customers know they can count on you to answer the phone when they need you, reply promptly to their email, keep the promises you have made, and, of course, listening to them. In our opinion, to really capture the full understanding of Customer Service, our role can best be defined simply as a courtesy expert. Courtesy itself is defined as something being done out of politeness or consideration for another person. In our business approach to this courtesy, we believe the customer should be viewed first. Considering how your products, services & rates will make your client feel, considering their needs & emotions before making your business decisions, and understanding the experience you wish to create for your

It Really is Simple.

The following items are critical when working with your customers or clients: • Always behave professionally & knowledgeably • Speak positively & be polite • Use good listening/communication skills

• Only make a promise you can truly keep • Deal with complaints promptly and courteously • Always remember that saying ‘Thank you’ can go a long way! • They Are Our Job, After All

customer. Be sure to always consider their needs before considering your business approach. Viewing customers as individuals and not just like every other person needing the same service or product, taking the time to listen, review their needs & show that you honestly care. These are all the most important ways you can attain the highest level of customer service which will allow you to attract new customers and maintain your current customer base.

Listening, caring, and offering the customer the service or product they need based on this communication will open the door to create a long lasting customer. Keep your promises & continue to service the client with a smile and you may be surprised at the amount of referrals & word of mouth new business you begin to see!

About the Author: Lura Bare is the Marketing Coordinator for Gallen Insurance in Shillington, PA. Gallen can assist with Property & Causality, Life & Health, and Auto & Homeowners insurance. Contact Lura at (610) 777-4123 or lbare@galleninsurance. com. Gallen Insurance is on the web at www.GallenInsurance.com february 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

21


BECOME THE NEXT GREAT WRITE R...

By Christian D . Malesic, MBA, IOM Editor-in-Chief, At Home in Ber ks

not the best place to start. Consider magazine, journal, newspaper, or newsletter authorship.

There are two common ways to proceed. The first, and most common, is to find a need and fill it. Talk to the editor of the publication for which you wish to write to find out what content they need. A little known fact is that most magazines and journals theme each issue and often make available their Editorial Calendars, outlining the themes for the upcoming issues. If your expertise corresponds with an upcoming theme, contact the editor to see if they will allow you to try your hand at a piece for consideration.

Write it down! Tell the world. Accomplished authors, whether known worldwide or only in smaller professional circles, are able to reach every dream faster... and then some. Want to grow your business - write. Be offered the next promotion - write. Get a job, or a new job - write. People look up to the successful among us. They affiliate themselves with the accomplished. They hire, promote, or buy from the expert who has demonstrated they are a mover and shaker in their field. Are you?

What to Write You are an expert. There is something, maybe many things, which you do exceptionally well or know much about. Putting your wisdom to the page provides credibility to your work, helps your fellow man in an area with which they want to learn or improve, and gives you a strong 22

AT HOME IN BERKs february 2013

sense of self-satisfaction when your work is published. Focus less on becoming the next multimillion dollar author of Harry Potter and more on being you. If you are not a storyteller, fiction may not be your area. Plus, unless you want to change careers to become a full time author, it will do little to help your current career. Write non-fiction; that is, how-to, why-it-works, knowledge, and educational pieces that will help others know what you know. Don’t worry about writing yourself out of a job, thinking if you write it down they won’t need you anymore. On the contrary, you will become THE source for your clients and coworkers alike.

How to Get Published

“You should write a book” is a common phrase in American lexicon that we hear, or say, often. Maybe a book is in your future. But, if you are not a writer now, and have never been published before, it is probably

The second, less common approach is to just write. Find a topic to which you bring passion, expertise, and experience and write an outstanding article. Work it and rework it. You are on your own time – you have no deadline. Revisit it in subsequent days or weeks to lay “fresh eyes” on it. When you have it almost where you want it, share it with a trusted advisor for their input and feedback. Rework it some more. Only after it is perfect – shop it around. Send it to editors of journals, magazines, newspapers, and newsletters to see if they will accept it. Don’t just send it to any editor of any publication. Research them first and make an honest judgment call on if your article would fit well in their publication. I have personally had much more success with the latter method; though, fellow authors tell me it is the path less travelled and much more difficult to find success. With over a dozen articles published in national publications and dozens more in state and local print, I have not found this, however, to be the case.

How Long Publications differ. In broadly speaking terms, there are three different article lengths – think of them as small, medium, and large. The common measuring tool is in number of words, as opposed to characters, found with some social media (such as Twitter); or, column inches, found predominantly in the newspaper world. A small article, then, is 600 to 800 words. Anything smaller is not really an article


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

at all; but rather, an interesting fact, very short story, or report on an event. After being laid out on the page, adding graphics, advertisements, or sidebars, a 600 to 800 word article fills less than a full printed page. Medium-sized articles are the bread and butter of most publications, ranging from 800 to 1,200 words with a median length of 1,000 words. They either fill the printed page or extend to a second page when laid out and enhanced in production. It is possible that they will extend to a third page, though this is rare. I recommend you focus your early attempts in targeting this size. This is the perfect sized article to get an editor’s attention.

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As articles approach 1,200 words in length and exceed it, they become feature articles. Most magazines and journal have three or less feature article in each issue. Newspapers have one per section. And, newsletters have one per issue. Every author wants a cover story. You have to earn it. History is full of ‘naturals.’ Maybe you are one of them and can hit it out of the park on your first time at bat. Most of us thrive at on-the-job training. We make our mistakes along the way. Learn. And, improve.

All Authors Hate Editing You should have enough to say. In fact, you should have too much to say. It is much easier to ramble on long-winded than it is to be succinct. If you find yourself on the other side of the equation – searching for what to write – you have picked the wrong topic. As an example, after writing, rewriting, reviewing and tweaking this article, it was 1,557 words (I cut 362 words).

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Continued on page 24 Aspiring authors should become familiar with proofreaders marks on their submitted content. Naturally, most authors hope to see as few of these markings on their text as possible!

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Continued from page 23 Editing it down to size is always the hardest part of writing a piece, large or small. It separates the adults from children. Never send out into the world any piece unless you are convinced it is your latest masterpiece that outshines all previous work. Should an article not rise to that level, keep it to yourself until you make it so.

Professional vs. Amateur Pros get paid. Amateurs do not. Again, unless you are interested in changing careers to become a writer, use it as a supplement to your current career. Focus

... RITER W T A GRE IDEBAR) (S

your efforts in writing the best piece possible and getting it to print rather than the few hundred dollars a paid author may receive. Success begets success. The more you are published, the easier becomes to get published. If you are good, editors will want you. Whether writing is your passion or you write about your passion, my advice is the same: get a few dozen publication successes under your belt before you ever consider doing so for payment. Stay an amateur writer as long as you can. When you go pro, go fast and make a splash. Dream big. Choose the most glorious publication in your field and work your way up to becoming a regular author in it. Your peers, contemporaries, clients, and boss will all appreciate your accomplishments and

Topics cover the gamut on issues of interest to Berks County residents; but, can be thought of as falling into two general categories: residential & business.

Residential:

Articles of all sizes, shapes, and colors covering the obvious ones you might expect from the Home Builders Association (such as: How to Hire a Remodeler, Tips on Getting the Perfect Deck, Preview of the 2012 Parade of Homes) plus the not so obvious ones (Property Tax Independence Act, The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media, Decorating Techniques) and everything in between. At Home in Berks magazine is the Home Builders Association of Berks County’s (HBA) 32+ page, four color glossy, premium magazine that is distributed to more than 2,500 locations bi-monthly.

Though a copy is delivered to all members of the association, its target audience is the homeowner or soonto-be homeowner who resides and/ or works in Berks County, PA. Thus, copies are also available at dozens of distribution points throughout the county, including: doctor’s & dentist’s offices, retail locations, big box stores, mini-marts, building supply outlets, appliance stores, remodelers, and builders, to name a few...

2424 ATATHOME HOMEININBERKs BERKsdecember february2012 2013

Business:

Most of our business articles are geared to the small business owner with a “News You Can Use” flair, that is, information you can put to use immediately in your business without a lot of glitz, glamour, philosophy, or pontification. What’s more, though we may love our fellow Americans in the Great States of Iowa, Maine, and Oregon or enjoy visiting warm-weathered Florida, New Mexico, or Texas, our articles are focused on home – business in Berks. Some topics have included: Leasing Commercial Real Estate: A How to Guide; King Cash, Queen Cash Flow, and Prince Profit; and Using Social Media to Increase Business.

will reward you with greater success in your career of choice. Become an author. Grow your career. Improve your life!

About the Author: Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM is the Executive Officer of the Home Builders Association of Berks County. He provides insight on construction issues, business operations, marketing, personal finance, and occasionally, on political philosophy/history. Contact Christian at the HBA of Berks County office: Christian@HBAberks.org or, to receive notice of the newest articles written by Christian, follow him on Twitter @CDMalesic.

At Home in Berks is especially unique as it is written by experts, not professional authors. In fact, employees of member companies are given top priority to write for the magazine, according to the editorial calendar, on topics on which they are exceptionally proficient. Additionally, budding amateur writers (defined as: unpaid), who are Berks County residents and are willing to write on topics as assigned by the Editor-in-Chief, are also given the opportunity to grow their talents and build their portfolios such that they may someday become professional writers (paid for their written work). As such, the magazine works with the communications and journalism departments of our wonderful Berks County colleges and universities to give students this unparalleled opportunity (though anyone is eligible to write for us, not just students). Your only investment is time, not money. The article cannot be an ad to use your services, though you will get credit as its author in the by-line and in very short “about the author” paragraph at the end. This FREE public relations is the reason the Board of the HBA created At Home in Berks - to give our members the opportunity to go directly to the public to demonstrate their expertise and increase business.


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Still local. Still friendly. Still hard-working.

Renting the best equipment throughout Southeastern PA

Still VlST. VlST Bank is now part of the Tompkins Financial family.

PARTS & SERVICE Power Equipment & Hand Tools SALES New & Used EQUIPMENT RENTAL Large & Small Tools & Equipment

Offering a wide variety of consumer and business banking services.

stoneycreekrentals.com info@stoneycreekrentals.com 610.926.4567 / Blandon, PA

1-888-238-3330 | www.VISTBank.com Member FDIC

Preparing Your Own Whether Cycling or Tax 1040 Tax Returns? Planning, I Always Give 100% ■

Did you know the IRS estimates that the average taxpayer call now for who prepares his own return spends 23 hours y ear-end tax preparing his 1040?*

planning!

Did you know that Pennsylvania CPAs are required to pass the rigorous CPA exam and obtain 80 hours of Certified Professional Education every 2 years, to retain their licenses?

Did you know that CPAs can prepare your return for nearly theCPA same costTax as Planning the “chain” firms, For: Rodger Krause, Offers andtax Preparation with a better chance for above average returns?  Individual, Partnership & Corporate Returns

  Auditing, Reviews and Compiled Statements *According to the IRS Disclosure, Privacy ActFinancial & Paperwork Reduction Act Notice

RODGERKRAUSE, CPA Certified Public Accountant

Expert & Professional Tax preparation for over 26 years. We take great pride in our work.

2210 Ridgewood Rd., Wyomissing

610.670.1040 info@RodgerKrauseCPA.com february december 2013 2012 AT HOME AT HOME IN BERKs IN BERKS 25 25


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Sell Your Wares... By Erica Caceres

Be Different Dividing your partners into sections to work on the marketing aspect of your company will be beneficial so there are not too many people handling the film. Too many fingerprints on a project could cause for a blotchy ad.

You are sitting at a round table with your business partners coming up with ideas for a new product. The pitch is perfect. There are no negatives. And, everyone has on matching lenses - you’re pretty much on the same page in knowing what the product is and what you are going to sell. Now, you must capture the moment where people will smile at your advertisement and develop the inclination to purchase it.

Who are Your Buyers? The best way to sell a product is to know who your customers are. Suzy Lysczek from Suzy Rae Design indicates that knowing your audience is the most important part of advertising. If you don’t focus on the right audience, you may not attract those who want to buy your product. Or, you will not attract enough buyers to make you successful.

Lysczek advises, “The still moment of an advertisement is a one chance to make a first impression.” I couldn’t agree with her more. A picture says 1,000 words and you want it to be a clear first vision.

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AT HOME IN BERKs february 2013

There are many businesses locally that will be willing to help sell your product. Lori Gerhert from Reading Eagle Company works in advertising and people ask her for her opinion how to market successfully. “You have to stand out. Make your colors pop. Show your consumers what is different about you.” Lori focuses still further: without letting your clients know what makes you unique, they will be reluctant to purchase your product. This holds true, people have the attention span only for what is familiar to them. We all know what the golden arches sell, what the famous swoosh sign is for, and even the crazy rabbit selling breakfast cereal that has made a name for himself. I bet, without a flash, you thought of McDonald’s, Nike, and Trix. That’s what you need: a logo to flicker into the minds of your customers. This did not happen overnight; because, people tend to tip-toe to change. No one wants anyone to move their cheese without a warning.

Clarity Your message needs to be clear and concise. You don’t want your customers to think (too much) into purchasing a product. It has to be easy as 1, 2, 3! Who are you? What you’re selling? Why should they buy? These three factors need to be organized into your advertisement so that people get what you are trying to sell.

Use Modern Technology Being that we are a society that is branded by our technology, you may want to consider using social media to use your advertisement to sell your product. There are so many options, but the social medium that businesses tend to use most is Facebook. Facebook allows you to put more material out there about your company and what you stand for. The places for albums of pictures and room for text gives you an easy way to describe what you are and what you are trying to sell. The other social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn serve more as business-to-business communication.

Once you have your all your components of your ideas for your product, it is essential that you know who it is you want to buy your product so you can advertise. You cannot take pictures without knowing what you are targeting. This is the same as selling a product. Without your customers, you don’t have anything. Make sure your brand is clear with colors that are going to pop right at your consumers. Be confident and make yourself look good. You want to be represented in a professional way. The questions of who you are, what you are selling should be visible and always remember, there is no take two at making a first impression! ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Erica Caceres is a university student at Penn State Berks (in her 3rd year) majoring in professional writing. She was assigned this article by the Editor-inChief to give her the chance to “try her hand” writing an interview piece.


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

What’s HOT ON

HBAberks

Health Care Reform offers an opportunity

channel

for employers to rethink how health care benefits should be designed and delivered. – Mark Kunkle

There will be dramatic changes in the future of the employee benefits landscape. We’re experts at benefits consulting. We’ll perform a Health Care Reform Readiness Analysis for your organization. • We’ll review your existing benefit programs and determine which will be affected by the health care reform provisions now and in the future.

Is your company prepared and complying with new regulations? What do you need to know? What plan do you have in place? Are you heading in the right direction? Contact us today. We’ve gained the confidence of over 450 local employers.

• We’ll determine the financial impact of healthcare reform to your organization.

Avoid Workers’ Comp Claims: Managing Employees Sometimes employees get hurt on the job and it cost the business dearly. Businesses can avoid or minimize employee injuries and Workers’ Compensation claims by preparing NOW, hiring the right employees, documenting, and training. As part of an on-going educational series of business topics, Richard Holland, SPHR, CCP, Vice President of Tompkins Insurance, presented “Managing Employees” to a live audience of HBA members. (Length: 10:17)

We’ll steer you in the right direction and help you implement your company’s health care reform strategy.

610-685-1790 | www.pkbenefits.com | 999 Berkshire Blvd., Wyomissing L e a d e r s h i p

  

The government of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is out of control. Over-taxation and over-regulation places handcuffs on the economy from which it must try to escape. Businesses are fleeing Pennsylvania in droves; or, are never coming here in the first place. On behalf of the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA), Executive Officer Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM testified before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Policy Committee on August 21st, 2012 held on-site at Exeter Community Library. Though he was respectful and cordial, he was also direct, forthright, and unwavering in delivering the association members’ message to the legislators on the damage done by over-burdensome regulation and taxation affecting business in the Commonwealth. (Length: 7:32)

S u p p o r t

|

S o l u t i o n s

Custom Deck Specialists 

Get the government OFF OUR BACKS! Let us do OUR JOBS!

|

Inspect Repair Design Build

PA 010620

610-376-8086 BreyerConstruction.com

Douglas E. Wood, CPA, CCIFP

Saving Energy Saves Money: Energy Efficiency 101 The Home Builders Association of Berks County presents: President of East Penn Energy Solutions, David Wallace, explaining how to save money through reduced energy consumption in your home to a live audience at the Habitat for Humanity of Berks County ReStore in Temple, PA, USA. (Length: 6:49)

2763 Century Boulevard Reading, PA 19610 Ph: 610.378.1175 dewood@herbein.com www.herbein.com

Proud to Support the Berks County Home Builders Association

Food Gardens: Gardening 101 The Home Builders Association of Berks County presents: CEO of Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc. and Master Gardener, Diane Salks, her thoughts on starting a garden, raised gardens, selecting food plants to grow, and which plants go well with each other with an enthusiastic audience at the Habitat for Humanity of Berks County ReStore in Temple, PA, USA. (Length: 5:35)

Gilbertsville (610) 367.2036

Pottstown (610) 327.1120

admoyer.com

february 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Membership happenings

2013 Upcoming Events...

feb 6

feb 7

feb 21

RMCTC Career Roundtable Reading Muhlenberg Career & Technology Center 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

HBA Power Education Hour: Merra

Lee Moffit, The Good Life Financial Group

HBA Conference Room 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Wind Down Thursday Blind Hartman’s Tavern 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

feb 28mar 2 mar

PBA Board of Directors Meeting Wyndham, Gettysburg All Day

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

9

mar

15-17

Seminar: Home Automation-featuring Charlie Bock of Stereo Barn 11:00 am – 12:00 noon

Southeast PA Spring Home & Garden Show Greater Reading Expo Center All Day

Thank You to renewing members of the Home Builders Association of Berks (HBA).

mar 23

mar 28

apr 11

Easter Egg Hunt HBA Complex 10:30 am – 12:00 noon

Membership Orientation HBA Conference Room 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Legislative Luncheon Toscani Events by ViVA` 11:30 am – 2:00 pm

Member 2 Member Discount Program

A

s one of the many benefits of membership in the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA), the following members are offering the discounts listed to HBA members only. If you would like to join the HBA or offer a Member 2 Member Discount, contact the HBA office: 610.777.8889. Aluminum Associates / Sloan Corporation Contact: Kert E. Sloan 610.921.2201

5% discount on all services

AmeriGas Propane. Contact: Jim Scheaffer 800.533.3537

Free tank set & 5 cent per gallon discount on propane (Some restrictions apply)

Berks Transfer. Contact: Bob Quinn 610.926.7626

$50 off 1st can order to new customers

Quality Floors Inc. Contact: Chuck Smith 800.446.6035

10% off any order

(Not valid with any other offers or prior purchases) Geoff Penske Buick GMC. Contact: Victor Popescu 610.777.1300

GM affinity program & partnership with HBA (Call Victor for more details on how you can save)

Martin’s Flooring, Inc. Contact: Richie Zook 877.445.7799 Fisher’s Rental Center, Inc. 1st Year Anniversary Freedom Builders L2i Construction LLC Glen-Gery Corporation – Tim Leese, Affiliate Leesport Farmers Market, Inc. (Ask about our contractor referral program) Hartman’s Home Improvements 2-5 years KGM Fabrication Masano Architects Group, Inc. Berks Concrete Restorations, Inc. Millers md. Restoration Contractors C T C E Federal Credit Union (Affiliate) J/M Fence & Deck Company Diebolt Landscape Co., Inc. Renaissance Carpentry & Remodeling Inc. 16-20 years John D. Smith, Inc. Freedom Toyota Zee Medical Service # 52 Boyer’s Floor Covering, Inc. SAH, Inc. Glen Miller Demolition & Excavating 11-15 years Dan Fiskaldo Remodeling/Framing 26-30 years Heat & Cool HVAC Services Dennis Smith Commercial Refrigeration & A/C M & M Mechanical, LLC Bodden Contracting Group, Inc. Fulton Mortgage Company Reading Rentals, Inc. Manmiller Electric, LLC Calvin L. Smoker Builder, Inc. Gentile Homes, Inc. Ronnie Folk Paving, Inc. Pro Max Fence Systems, Inc. Comfort Pro, Inc. Glen-Gery Corporation The Seltzer Group 31 + years Dick Wessner, Inc. M & A Excavating The Water Guy/Shinn Spring Water Eugene W. Miller (retired) Rainbow-Environaire Corporation Berkshire Greens, Inc. Wise Signs Heffleger Kitchen Center, Inc. Welbilt Homes, Inc. Dutch Valley Door & Window Co., Inc. 6-10 years Martin’s Flooring, Inc. Karrick Heating & A/C LLC 21-25 years Our City-Reading, Inc. RE/MAX of Reading – Jim Williams Berkshire Systems Group, Inc. Redstone Company A. R. Adam & Son, Inc. Robert L. Weidele, Contractor Bursich Associates, Inc. Dave Himmelberger Construction, Inc. Stanley W. Bauman General Contractor Spring Valley Millwork, Inc. Elite Vinyl Railings, LLC

10% off materials only

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AT HOME IN BERKs february 2013


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

The Home Builders Association Annual Installation of Officers and Directors.

O

n Friday, December 7th, the Home Builders Association hosted its Annual Installation of Officers and Directors. The event took place at Toscani Events by VIVA` (HBA member). Officers terms are for one year and Directors terms are three years. George “Geep” Moore, the 2012 Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers Council performed the installation of Officers and Directors. Also in attendance was Larry Eberly, the 2013 President of the Pennsylvania Builders Association (PBA).

Installation of 2013 Board of Directors 2013 HBA President Cathy Sloan, Aluminum Associates/Sloan Corporation (Temple)

1st Vice–President Patrick Dolan, Dolan Construction, Inc. (Reading)

2nd Vice-President Ed Anewalt, Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting (Bernville)

Secretary Chad Camburn, Bursich Associates, Inc. (Pottstown)

(Back row from left) Kevin Kozo, Owner of Turnberry Custom Homes, Ed Anewalt, President of

Treasurer

Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting, John Schmoyer, Vice President – Regional Sales Manager of Fulton Mortgage Company, James Gavin, Esquire at Masano Bradley Attorneys at Law, Brad Kehres, VicePresident of L A Kehres Building & Remodeling, Diane Salks, President of Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc.

John Schmoyer, Fulton Mortgage Company (Wyomissing)

Past President

(Front row from left) George “Geep” Moore, President at Moore-Built Construction & Restoration,

Kevin Kozo, Turnberry Custom Homes (West Reading)

Inc, 2012 Chairman of NAHB Remodelers, Sherrie Hallowell, Business Development Financial Center Manager of VIST Bank, Daphne Frownfelter, Owner of Deer Mountain Kitchens, LLC, Marco Folino, President of Folino Homes, Inc. , Bryan Moll, Commercial Estimator of B & G Glass, Chad Camburn, Managing Engineer of Bursich Associates, Inc., Larry Eberly, Owner of Larry Eberly Builder, 2013 PBA President Catherine Sloan, Office Manager of Aluminum Associates

Builder Directors Marco Folino, Folino Homes, Inc. (Blandon)

(Not pictured) Eric Keller, Project Engineer of Berks Fire Water Restorations, Inc., Patrick Dolan, President of Dolan Construction, Inc.

Daphne Frownfelter, Deer Mountain Kitchens (Robesonia) Diane Salks, Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc. (Temple)

Brad Kehres, L A Kehres Building & Remodeling (Leesport)

Eric Keller, Berks-Fire Water Restorations, Inc. (Reading)

Associate Directors Jim Gavin, Masano Bradley (Wyomissing) Bryan Moll, B & G Glass (Reading)

(Back row from left) John Schmoyer, Kevin Kozo, James Gavin, Chad Camburn, George “Geep” Moore, Larry Eberly.

(Middle row from left) Marco Folino, Sherrie Hallowell, Cathy Sloan, Daphne Frownfelter, Diane Salks,

Sherrie Hallowell, VIST Bank (Wyomissing)

Ed Anewalt

(Front Row from left) Bryan Moll, Brad Kehres february 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

29


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At Home in Berks, Feb. 2013  

Published bi-monthly, At Home in Berks is mailed directly to over 400 members and advocates of the HBA within the Greater Reading area, and...

At Home in Berks, Feb. 2013  

Published bi-monthly, At Home in Berks is mailed directly to over 400 members and advocates of the HBA within the Greater Reading area, and...

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