Topic: Schluter Systems has done it again! They have everything to make the installers life easier, and they just made training easier too! E-learning is available along with all their great installation projects.
Guest: Andy Acker
3 Points for Success – Andy Acker:
- Communicate, communicate, communicate!
- Manage expectations
- Under promise, over deliver!
James [00:00:00] So good to have you with us for another episode of CareyBrosPros. Hi, I’m James.
Morris [00:00:04] And I’m Morris. And you know as professionals were always looking for ways to give our pro listeners great information that will help them work smarter instead of harder. On this edition, we’re welcoming an old friend to talk planning projects and e-learning.
James [00:00:21] And who can’t learn enough? And that old friend is not so old. He is with Schluter Systems. Andy, welcome to the program.
Andy [00:00:30] Thanks, guys. How are you doing today?
James [00:00:32] Very well. And for those that may not be familiar with Schluter Systems, can you explain what it is? In a nutshell?
Andy [00:00:41] In a nutshell. We make installation systems for tile and stone. We’re making the installers life easier through faster prep to get to the tile part where where you really make your money. We lessen the amount of potential failures you might have, say, in a in a shower where a leaking could be an issue. Floors where cracking despondent tile can be an issue because of products like our kerdi membrane for waterproofing and our deidre for tile underlay meant that other couples the child and air from the floor below.
Morris [00:01:18] So basically and a year the envelope, you’re the old mortar and hot mopping, you’re the waterproof backing. You’re behind the tile. You don’t sell tile. You don’t do anything except put the waterproof barrier in on the walls and floors. Correct.
James [00:01:37] And some decorative trim.
Morris [00:01:38] Oh, yeah, yeah.
Andy [00:01:39] Yeah, Morris, the only thing that you would see of our product. It would be like James just said, some of our trim. We have some profiles that the installers are getting really used to using for edge protection so they don’t have to come back and fix a tile that got chipped or broken. Also, it opens up design possibilities. They don’t have to tell their customer, no, go pick another tile because the one you pick doesn’t come with any trim and you want me to tile your whole bathroom, not just the floor, but the shower and the tub deck and even tile base and that type of thing. So now we’ve opened up those possibilities. So, yeah. But most of our stuff. You’re right, Morris. Most of our stuff’s behind the tile. It’s more of the function than it is the design, even though we do have some design elements.
James [00:02:25] I was, I love to tell the story. The time that Morris and I were remodeling a place that I had in the desert and he was doing electrical work and I was doing some carpentry, building, a very nice bench out of two by fours and plywood and had 700 like five dragged back that thing out. And I took the pressure, treated a material and attached it to the shop on grade for the threshold. This was gonna be a steam shower. It did become a steam shower.
James [00:02:58] And Schluter said, listen, we’d like to introduce you to the product and we’d like to send one of our lead tile contractors to show you how the product installs and what it looks like. I said fine. And he came onto the site and I went into the other room to do some work. And I heard all this banging. And I walked into the bathroom and he had torn out the pressure treated product that was there for the threshold. And he tore out my beautiful bench. I said, What are you doing? I want the bench. He said.
Morris [00:03:33] He had eight thousand dollars worth of lumber and high fashion threat.
James [00:03:37] I’m here to show you how you can create a bench and a threshold easily without whipping out your saw, without tugging lumber around and how the installed product will be more waterproof and less vulnerable than what you’ve created. And so he proceeded to take kerdi board, which is your rigid board that comes in various thicknesses. And he took out his knife and cut it and created a bench in no time used the kerdi fix, which is the oil.
Morris [00:04:11] He tore up my blocking for the soap dish too.
James [00:04:14] Oh, yeah. And that’s because he used a prefabricated rider pro, right?
Morris [00:04:18] Right. Right. Right.
James [00:04:19] So we learned that was, I don’t know, six, seven, eight years ago, whatever. And it was quite interesting. And he said, well, listen, I’m gonna build a vanity for you out of kerdi. And he built a beautiful vanity which was surrounded that covered in stone on all sides with pedestal legs. And that was all out of the Schluter kerdi product.
Andy [00:04:43] Yeah, isn’t that nice. Sometimes it’s dimensionally unstable. It won’t work. It won’t rock, it’s waterproof from the get go. And yeah, you just described how quickly the remodel or the tile installer can actually introduce a bash, which was what consumer doesn’t want a. Tension there in the shower these days are a niche. Like you you mentioned Morris.
Morris [00:05:04] You know, Andy, are you guys catching on with the building sector?
Andy [00:05:08] Yes, we are. Once they discover the products and the ease of use and all of the features and benefits of of using our family products there, that they are wowed by this man, this really speeds up the prep. This again, lessens the amount of potential failures and leaks. And, you know, I don’t have to worry about plywood rotting there are ever getting exposed to any water because this stuff is so stable and it’s all waterproof and it’s so quick and easy. It uses very little dust. You know, there’s all these elements that the installer takes a look at. This man that. That. Good to go.
James [00:05:43] Come on. Now, listen, we’re remodels. And if we’re doing a bathroom that’s on a second floor, if we have to install drywall or some other mortar board as an example, it’s handy. It’s dirty. You make a mess either inside or out cutting it. And with this product, it’s feather light. It cuts with the utility knife and it doesn’t take two men and a boy to install it. It’s you know.
Andy [00:06:14] That’s right. It’s you don’t damage the walls or the door casings or the cabinet tree like you would with, say, a concrete backer board or lumber. I don’t know about you guys, but man, are people becoming aware installers all around the country of all the dust regulations that are coming from the EPA. You know, you can’t generate any dust inside, outside. You have to have containment tents and positive airflow respirators. And I don’t know. It’s getting to be a real nuisance and an a time consumer. So if you had materials that don’t create any dust when you use them. Think of the time you’ve gained and the fuss you’ve eliminated by using these type of products.
James [00:06:53] Well, that’s good for the guys in the field. What I like for those of us who have a vested interest in the the health of the company, and we know that leaks are a real profit robber. We feel good about the fact that we have an installed product that is leak free and that we don’t have to worry about going back and tearing it out because we’ve got something that’s failed. I think that’s one of the biggest things for us.
Andy [00:07:21] And it’s one stop shop. Right. It’s one stop. As you get the whole the whole system, you know, is designed to work together from one manufacturer. If you do a traditional shower, think you got back on board, you’ve got mortar, you’ve got a pan liner, who are you going to call if you’ve got a problem? You know, so it’s nice to have one. Manufactures the latest and greatest. Morris, we have got a two meter wide roll of Curdie membrane now. So instead of one meter thirty nine and a half, five eighths of an inch roughly, we now have it twice as wide, which means one fell swoop around a shower stall and you’ve got all the walls done very quickly and seamless. That’s a real benefit for for installation time.
Andy [00:08:06] Oh, the lack of lapse seams and potential places for leaks. Another thing is our new sand trays. You’ll love this, guys. Our trays are so thin. Many of the sizes are so thin that in order to do a curbless shower, which is just all the rage these days with the with the homeowner or the consumer, you only have to drop the floor three quarters of an inch, which is typically the thickness of your sub floor. And you about say like our Ditra Heat, which is our uncoupling membrane, that’s our tile underlayment and also holds the heating cable in place for comfort floors. You heard about the Ditra Heat to the front edge of the tray. That’s all the the thicker the tray is sticking up out of that record at recess and you have your will shower all watertight. You can tie that waterproofing from the shower with security onto the Ditra because Ditra is waterproof, too. So, you know, you get a nice big wet area. You don’t have to worry about any moisture sensitive material ever getting wet. And and you take the curb out which, you know, is.
James [00:09:12] We just did that. We took a tub shower out for aging couple who have lived in their homes since 1964. One bath and there’s some health concerns. So we took it out. We had to break some concrete out of the slab and we’ll talk about a feature that you have, which is pretty cool that I’m sure our pros would like to know about as regards to drains and you know what I’m talking about. But we had to relocate this tub drain. We went from an inch and a half to two inch for the shower and we got one of your Schluter trays and put it in and we recessed the new concrete three quarters of an inch. The tray worked beautifully. The tile went in yesterday. It looks absolutely splendid. Tile, floor, tile pan fully accessible shower and we used a center drain on the tray.
Andy [00:10:04] Isn’t that nice? The meeting of design and function. Yeah. So I’m giving the customer what they wanted. And then you got the function you guys needed to have. So what I said, that’s a real nice.
James [00:10:15] Here’s that. Here’s our concern. Got a drain that’s not in the right place and it needs to be moved. You have created a solution for that. Share it.
Andy [00:10:23] We do. We have a horizontal outlet to our are well renown kerdi drain. So instead of the the tail piece, the outlet for the drain going straight through the bottom, it comes out the side. Which means you have the option to move it up to two feet away from where it’s coming through the floor. In your case, you had a slab. So, you know, that’s a bit of work.
James [00:10:48] Yeah.
Andy [00:10:48] To get in there recently relocated, as you just mentioned. So, you know, two foot away maximum from where it’s coming through the floor. You can now with the horizontal drain, put it where you want it.
Morris [00:11:01] Tell me a little bit about e-learning.
Andy [00:11:05] E-learning. Yeah, we’ve embarked on e-learning quite a few years ago. We started it with internal training, onboarding new new sales staff. Also, our authorised slaughter dealers all across the country were getting training online. It’s really difficult for them to find time to come to say workshops to get trained. But if they have a few minutes here or there, they could go on, ah, our Web site to had a private portal for them and they could go and do some continuous education and get up to speed on many of our components. And now we’re we’re opening that up to the general public with our own learning management system and our own our own platform for that, which is going to be coming here real soon, where you can have anybody who sells, specifies or installs our product go take courses that are pertinent to them. And they can they can use that to get themselves up on the latest and greatest. Well, you know, we’ve always had our installation videos, which seems like the installers really like those step by step installation video so they can take a look at that. We now have our new app that’s out and they can access a lot of those through the app. So that makes it extra convenient on the job site to go. How did that thing go together? Let me look at that just one more time.
James [00:12:23] So I was waiting. I was waiting in the past. I was waiting for you to mention that app. You can use your smartphone camera to measure your room. Edit and save your results.
Andy [00:12:33] Have you tried that out?
James [00:12:34] No, I haven’t. I just just discovered at this very moment.
Andy [00:12:38] Yeah, that’s pretty neat. You wait till you use that there. James, you can go into a room, point it in the corners and it’ll tell you the measurements on if you will tell them. I want Dieter Heat on this floor. It will tell you how much did your heat map and what the size of the cable spool you need to get to cover it for the heat. So, yes, it’s really nice.
James [00:12:58] I’m loving this. We have embraced technology full bore in our business and so many of our pros listening know that technology is the way to go. It’s working smart. You still have to work hard, but you have to work smart as well. And so speaking, you’re working smart. You know, we ask all of our CareyBrosPros podcast guests to share three points for success. And it’s not necessarily related to your product. It can be. But in general, best practices, things that are approach should think about that will help make them successful.
Andy [00:13:37] I think it’s a fully explain message and materials to a potential customer, to a potential client. They’re going to earn their trust because they’re gonna show they’re going to be able to demonstrate that they’re competent. This is how I’m going to put it in and why. And here’s the materials that I’m going to use and why. Another nice one is managing expectations. You know this one, do you not?
Morris [00:14:02] [laughs] Yeah.
James [00:14:03] [laughs] Well, you just covered communication is number one. Number two is managing expectations, which requires communication. From my perspective, expectation management is absolutely fundamental.
Morris [00:14:17] That’s everything.
James [00:14:18] That’s everything.
Andy [00:14:19] It is everything you want to under promise and over deliver, as they say. Right? Never the other way around. That leads to conflict on the job site, which in a lot of cases is the customer’s home. They may love you, but they want you done and gone through threatening, do they not?
James [00:14:36] That’s exactly right. And your final bit of advice, say sage advice, Andy.
Andy [00:14:41] Oh, man. Always tell the truth. How about that one?
Morris [00:14:44] Honesty and integrity that’s the best.
Andy [00:14:47] You know, I mean, what else have you got when it comes right down to it, guys? That your reputation. That’s what you’re. That’s what you’re banking.
James [00:14:54] He is Andy Acker. The company is Shooter Systems. And you may. Learn more about their products, their app and this technology, it truly is a system and the website is S C H L U T E R dot com.
Morris [00:15:16] And remember, you’ll find our guest information as well as additional podcasts, videos and articles on our Web site at CareyBrosPros dot com.