I recently received a email from a contractor and have responded to the idea of waiting to get a project before getting trained in Hand Carved Vertical Decorative Concrete.

I have read many emails like this and have responded to each of them in similar fashion.

Advertising, talking about it and putting pictures on your web site will get interest and then eventually work....but I would caution you to not wait until you have a project before learning the craft.

The thought "When I get work I will get trained." is a nice notion but a detriment as well.

There are many reasons for not having this approach.

All of these may not apply to you but are a few:

1.) All the time spent waiting for work is valuable don’t waste the opportunity, without the training you are completely uneducated as to how to approach a hand carved project, represent the craft, and execute the craft. This puts you at a great disadvantage to even getting the sale.

2.) One of the critical elements in sales is establishing confidence and trust. There is no confidence in your abilities because you do not know what your abilities even are. Your client will “read” this and it will be very difficult to establish trust.

3.) There is a learning curve. You will get better and better at your craft each and every time you execute it. If your first time executing it is on a job site you are leaving the door wide open for beginner mistakes and "learn on the job" practices. These can be avoided and the industry at large can do with out the misrepresentation and failure.

Don’t let your fist client be your first client. You be your first, second, and third cleint

4.) Can you do what I do? In reference to those who use the web site or brochures to get jobs. I believe you can but you must first put your time in (hands on) and watch the videos, read the articles and most of all practice your craft. You will be able to do anything you like once you are experienced, armed with the knowledge and have undergone the “learning” process of this wonderful craft. If you try to by pass or short step the learning curve, your work will reflect it and the client will have reservations as to whether or not you even know what you’re doing.

I hope this encourages you who have not been trained to re think your position and consider your future clients.

I would love to have any of you weigh in on this thought process from all positions.

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There are so many variables that can go wrong if you are not prepared. Even the things that you think are the simplest things can go south very fast. Call backs, tear outs, stripping and repeating the work can for the most part be avoided with training and practice. Every geographical area has its own unique "situations" that you have to deal with, never mind the client issues and change orders. If a project goes awry and you have practiced and trained it is much easier to come up with a solution. Believe me you do not want to be practising on a clients dime.

That being said, this is still, at least for me one the most enjoyable mediums to work in. The vertical carving and functional art has saved my bacon a few times this last year and it is still working to open up other opportunities for my family and me.

Good Luck
That's right Randy...great perspective...
Shoot! I've been doing this for a year now and just getting comfortable with the idea of dragging tons of mud into a customer's house!!!

this is a good disscusion beth. i can say now that this is very very true. 2 years ago i was chomping at the bit to get my first job as i have done a few terrarium stands that sold i hadnt really dun any real rock jobs however i did lots of practice pieces sample boards and sample columns and what not attended 2 hands on classes with nathan and whatched his training vids a bunch on the sub site many of them multiple times and looked at so many pics on this forum some are permanetly burnd into my memory and now and i mean just now do i feel that im truly capable of carving nice looking stone that i feel is giving the customer there moneys worth and proud to stamp my name on it! so even though i felt ready i now realize i was not ready and really im glad i did get to practice and try so many things before starting this current job so that i feel confident in my abilities to solve any problems and move at a decent pace all the while cranking out sweet lookin stone !!

happy carvin people!!

Well I have a long way to go. I'm excited. I started a little while back with a book on making artificial water falls and I have been making landscaping boulders. I am excited to try and take it to the next step. It will be a little while before I can afford some of these classes. Like everyone else money is tight these days. I continue to try and make practice rocks and thing like that. I go out into the woods and make my own texture pads with RTV silicone and glycerin mixed together which cures pretty fast.

Does anyone have any suggestions on some things I could try until I can afford to pay for one of the classes to get me started?

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