8 Valuable Things We’ve Learned From Visiting Successful Countertop Shops

by | Mar 3, 2020 | Business

Our awesome team here at Moraware has been visiting countertop shops for years. Meeting our valued customers not only helps us establish long-lasting relationships, but it helps us make improvements to our quoting and scheduling software.

While these visits are so valuable to our own staff, we’ve learned so much that we think other fabrication professionals would benefit from! Don’t worry – we’re not spilling any trade secrets here – just some tips and tricks from fab shops that might come in handy.

1. Your shop’s process should be unique to you.

After visiting so many shops, one thing’s for sure – they’re all so different! Some shops have elegant, extensive showrooms where clients can get lost choosing the ideal design for their dream home. Other shops skip the showroom entirely and opt for a one-on-one consultation.

There are pros and cons to both. The showroom can be a real wow factor for customers who love to browse. It gives a ton of credibility to your business, and it’s great for people who love lots of choices. (Showroom photos also look great on your marketing materials!)

On the other hand, the consultative approach is great for people who don’t want to make any decisions. They’d rather answer some questions and be given specific recommendations meant to fit their needs, budget, and style. 

Decision fatigue is a real thing, and many businesses are offering fewer options to counteract it. For example, have you ever been to a restaurant with a 20-page menu? Choosing what to order is exhausting! That feeling is called decision fatigue, and a study out of Columbia University really hits the concept home.

Researchers decided to offer some jam samples. When 6 flavors of jam were available to sample, 30% of tasters made a purchase. When there were 24 flavors of jam to sample, only 3% of tasters made a purchase. Too many choices is not always a good thing!

Whichever way you choose to go, be sure the process matches you and your shop. You are unique, and your process should show it!

2. Even the most experienced shops can learn something new.

Some fabrication shops have been Moraware customers since the very beginning – you’d think they knew all there was to know, right?

But as we all know, there’s always something new to learn. Stone Age Tile, one of our longtime customers, asked us to demonstrate quoting through CounterGo during one of our visits.

Even though they’ve been using CounterGo for a long time, they still were eager to pick up any new tips or tricks to speed up and optimize their quoting process. Sometimes those simple tips or process tweaks make all the difference in how successful a shop is with software.

This desire to keep improving is awesome to see, and we’re always happy to do demos or offer support! Full support is included with all of our products, and we want to encourage you to utilize it. You never know what your shop might be able to button up or optimize. Try starting with browsing our help section!

3. Touch screens can help speed up your shop’s process.

When we visit shops, it always takes us aback to see how integral Moraware software is. When everyone on the team has it opened up on their device, it really blows us away! If software is the core of your business’ process, you might consider adding more advanced devices to speed up your day-to-day.

One Moraware customer, Precision Countertops, had touch screens in the shop. The guys in the shop could then easily start, stop, and pause jobs. The touch screen is quick to use (less “I’ll update this later” attitude), so it keeps everyone updated on a job’s progress in real-time.

We loved learning this and couldn’t wait to pass it on to other fabrication professionals who might be thinking of doing something similar.

4. Shops that use Moraware feel noticeably calmer inside.

We’ve all been to businesses that felt frantic and disheveled inside. Whether it was a mountain of paperwork overflowing on the front desk or staff members flurrying around, that hectic energy is in the atmosphere. As corny as it sounds, you can feel the stress when you open the door.

One thing we’ve noticed when visiting our customer’s shops is that it feels calm and collected inside. It’s hard to explain other than saying it’s just a feeling in the air, but when we talk to these shop owners, they talk about how their processes are calm and efficient, and the employees are happy and less stressed.

That’s powerful!

5. Focusing on efficiency and automation is key to getting through tough times.

The financial crisis of 2007-2008 was a tragic time for many businesses. Imagine investing a ton of money in new equipment and a new building right before it happened. Well, that’s exactly what B. Shea Surfaces did. After the financial crisis, they retrenched and really focused on increasing their efficiency and cutting costs where possible.

That tough time taught us a valuable lesson about how important Moraware software is. CounterGo and Systemize have the power to increase efficiency by automating many of the time-consuming tasks of countertop shop staff. This can help you make it through tough financial times.

In fact, many Moraware customers talk about how our software has saved them a ton of money!

Over the last couple of years, B. Shea Surfaces has added significantly to its revenue without adding additional employees or reducing the quality of their products. That’s the power of streamlining your processes with software!

6. Company culture can be just as important as the numbers.

You want to attract, hire, and retain great employees, and in our industry, that can be quite the challenge. In fact, one of the polls shared at one of Park Industries’ Digital Stoneworking Expos last year shared that labor is the No. 1 business pain for countertop shop owners

One way you can attract better candidates is by putting more focus on your company’s culture.

In fact, Joe’s company, Carolina Custom Surfaces, addresses culture on their performance reviews. Everyone’s fit for the culture is weighed as heavily as their performance on the key metrics in the business.

Joe explains that when you catch someone in the act of doing something that supports your culture, you should quickly acknowledge it!

Another fabricator, Sepp from Sarto Granite, says that he treats his employees like family. He found that by caring for and treating his team well, they shared the same level of concern for their work.

While we nerds here at Moraware are really into the analytics and the numbers, it was a valuable lesson for us to learn that culture is just as important.

7. Big shops weren’t always big!

We visit with all kinds of fabrication shops – big and small. When you visit with a fab shop that has hundreds of employees, it can be kind of daunting. But then you take a step back and realize they started out just like the majority of small countertop fabricators, and that’s one job at a time.

If you can consistently do great work at a fair price, you’re bound to grow. The big shops have clearly focused on increasing their efficiency and tackling bottlenecks as they arise. Building a large countertop business is possible – we’ve seen it firsthand!

8. Fabricators have the best desks!

OK, so this one isn’t necessary a valuable thing we’ve learned, but it’s so true! Fabricators always seem to have the best, most immaculate stone furniture.

Our team here at Moraware has serious desk envy.

Thank you so much for reading, and if you’d like to see how our quoting or scheduling software can increase your efficiency and give you a ton of time back, schedule a free demo below.

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