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The Steel Detailer
Steel Advice - The Fabricator's Resource
Surprised as you may be to learn it, chances are that some steel fabricators
you deal with know little to nothing about steel shop fabrication drawings. To some, shop drawings are a nuisance and they almost despise the fact that they have to supply them to their customers.

If the steel fabricator is one who does not fully understand shop detail drawings, they will likely have even less understanding for your hard work that goes into them.

This type of potential customer is one you have to make a decision about. Are you willing to make the time to help train them, or will you purposefully price yourself out of the market to prevent having to deal with them? Your initial gut reaction is to send this potential customer packing. You don't need the headache, and chances are no good deed will go unpunished here.

On the other hand, this may be an opportunity to transition an ignorant steel fabricator into a great future customer.

It all depends on how you handle the situation. Spend some time talking on the telephone with this potential customer. Learn as much as you can about their company as well as what they know about the job they might be offering you. Get a feel for how they operate by asking questions regarding recent jobs they have done and how they went for them.

After completing that step, see how it all settles in your gut. If you still feel uncertain about this potential customer, then give it a pass. If you feel like testing them out with a small job, then move forward with that. Do one small job and grow from there. It is better to try and fail then to pass on what could be a very lucrative opportunity for you.
The Steel Detailer
Choose your Customers Wisely!
In this Internet world we tend to be a bit impersonal and think it adequate to deal in emails, File Share, and Go to Meeting.

If you can, go visit the steel fabricator's office. Get to know the people face to face, and get a feel for how they operate.

This personal touch will go far to create the level of understanding and familiarity you need to gain their confidence.

You will become more comfortable in your business dealings with them as well.

Customer Training
Get to know your Clientele!
Often we will find that a problem customer for one steel detailer will fit a different steel detailer quite well. It is the combination of personalities and expectations for both the steel detailer and their customer that will make the difference.

There must be a meeting of the minds about how to manage the steel detailing for the project for the combination to work.

You may have to take a 'hands on' approach to facilitate getting RFI's submitted and answered correctly.

You may need to provide more than 'normal' support with change order information to be able to get costs reimbursed.

Teaching your customer how to best facilitate their steel detailing can be a slow process.

If you are committed to creating a strong customer base, the extra work will prove to be worth it.
National Institute of Steel Detailing
Dedicated to promoting the awareness and continuing education of steel professionals everywhere!
January
  2012