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A message from Mark
This year we introduced the World's first and only FREE Steel Building Software, IQS and it is awesome. We designed it completely with the user in mind - and it shows. Designing and pricing a new Steel Building has never been easier, and IQS is heating up the marketplace each and every day. Thousands of people have already used IQS to create plans and specs instantly from their designs. Pricing is a snap, and tapping into the resources you need are instant. Download IQS now!
ALWAYS confirm your Codes and Loads with your local Building Department. DO NOT take a salesman's word for it. This industry in plagued by unscrupulous sellers! By using IQS you will be able to generate the plans and specs you need for your building department to approve. It is easy and free. Utilize IQS to generate as many projects as you want. You can save an endless amount of projects, open them later, modify or create new projects as you desire.
We are passionate about what we do and it shows. We are proud to be the industry leader and the world's number one source for steel buildings online. We are dedicated to pushing every limit to bring the latest technologies to your fingertips. DO NOT BUY A STEEL BUILDING FROM ANYONE WITHOUT USING IQS FIRST!!! We have the best pricing in the industry matched with world-class customer service. Do not throw your money away with another supplier. When you compare our products and services, you will see why we are the NUMBER ONE steel building company in the United States - period.
Thanks for reading..
- Mark
February 12, 2007
A message from Mark
Changing Market Conditions
There are many words that might come to mind when I think about the current market. I am not referring to the"steel market" but our economy. The media spins up the scare and the press paints the ink in a fashion that allows us to believe we are headed down the road of a recession. By definition none of us can know what that means except recession equals less spending.
None of this makes me nervous, and it shouldn't bother you either. I could explain that the economic cycle is one that has been fairly predictable over the last 100 years, but then if I did say that - I would be about as retarded as most of the media creeps. We can't know exactly what will happen, but if enough people are saying things are bad for long enough, eventually we will start to believe it. Now, consider this - there is a dynamic involved in our economic strength that we have not yet had the time or ability to measure - it is called the Internet.
Can you imagine life without it? The web has woven itself completely into the living fabric of our world. We simply cannot live without it. This thing, this incomprehensible interlace of connectivity has opened doors and borders and minds across the globe. The economy is no longer confined to the corners of the world. We are a global economy. Any market trending that is localized, be it compressed or a particular"hot spot" in the real estate sector can be thought of in the same light when considering the global economic benchmarks. There are always"micro economies" in the United States, and similarly we are just a piece of the global market picture. There is an economic net that now stretches across the world, and just because the strings are weak in one place doesn't mean we are all going to fall through.
Times have changed beyond what our parents and grandparents could have ever imagined. I am a bit shy of 40 and I got my first computer and started to program at the age of 8. I used a suction cup modem and an analog phone (rotary) to chat via BBS to my friend Uresh Patel who lived less than 2 miles away. Today, as the leader of the ICON group of companies, I look at how many people we employ across the globe. I see the business partnerships forming in other countries and I see how that benefits the parties on both ends. Of course the economy of the US plays its role in what we do, but when the dollar is weak we become a country of exports and the money comes rolling back in. Don't worry about the waves of the ocean not coming back to shore. Friends, we are in good shape - it's a long road and there are always pot holes in it.
- Mark
January 15, 2007
A message from Mark
The truth about the price of steel
In days reminiscent of February 2004 it seems we are crossing the grand threshold again. Instead of blaming China for over consumption of steel and scrap, where we stand today is totally different. There is no shortage and should be no shortage of steel. The truth is the dollar has fallen far enough to turn away the import steel that keeps our market balanced. What happens next is going to be much like the oil companies who are shoveling in the biggest profits in the history of gasoline. In the oil rich Middle East gas has been seen as low as 35 cents per gallon, but commonplace is $1.00 per gallon. Why are we paying so much then? I will repeat the phrase of a close friend who is a retired oil man -"The hogs got in the trough, and guess what? They like it."
The US steel mills will shut down furnaces and critical facilities to slow production and create a"demand." And, they do this as they know that imports won't be hitting the docks until the dollar rebounds. They have us by the short hairs and I suspect things will definitely get worse before they get better. We can blame politics, or anything else, but at the end of the day this is about the mills taking advantage of an already weakened economy, not to mention the hard-working people who have supported them for generations. I don't like being kicked when I am down, and I know none of you do either.
Though I cannot predict what will be taking place over the coming months, I can assure you that we will be fighting to keep costs to a minimum, and doing what we need to do to maintain the highest quality of products and services on the market. As of today we are not raising our prices. Though our hands may be forced at some point, for now I am taking a stand and will go find the supply we need at the right price. I am not going to rush you to buy - though as you shop you will hear about price increases - so talk to us and let us know what you are up against, and we will do what it takes to earn your business.
Thanks for listening,
- Mark
January 12, 2008
A message from Mark
Life Online Part 2
Listen up people. We all know the internet is a powerful tool to shop with. But it comes with a heavy price for a lot of unsuspecting consumers. There are lots of ways to separate the wheat from the chaff, but let us set the bar for you. No other company offers you free design software. They can't - but we do. Only a few sources allow you to price online. We were the first to provide it in REAL-TIME. Others have tried to copy us, and have failed. Each time they have attempted to try to reach our level of technology - they have failed. It is easy to see that we offer the most comprehensive solutions - period. When we launched people were amazed at the technology. Some competitors said we would fail. The same people have seen our business grow leaps and bounds beyond theirs. We are not just a"handy tool" or a"flashy website" we are a group of passionate people dedicated to being the best - and we hold ourselves above the rest. We work harder and we never stop trying to improve.
Most of the companies offering you a building are just re-sellers of some manufacturer's "deal of the week." Your project will get shopped out to whoever has the lowest price, after you have already committed to buy. Most will represent themselves as the manufacturer, and in most cases they are not. I got a call the other day from a good contractor who was asked to put up a competitors building. He asked me how someone could field locate all the framed openings on a building and still pass the wind code? "I got these plans from The General and not ONE of the doors openings are factory located." He asked me how a company could sell a customer a building knowing they would have to spend a week cutting up and welding materials on the jobsite. His comment was - "I have to tell them after reviewing the plans my price is now double." What should have taken less than a week to complete, will now take more than two.
We have quality control at every step of the way, and we show you the plans up front. With us you see what you are getting - we won't sell you a pile of metal and advise you to learn how to weld. Hey, and while you are sitting there poking around looking for a deal consider this. Metal Building Depot is the NUMBER 1 Metal Building online retail outlet. We didn't get here by slacking. We didn't get here by taking deposits and not returning phone calls, or changing our name every few months to avoid lawsuits. Since the beginning we have had the same vision. The goal is pretty simple - be successful. In all we do, in our methods, in our approach to problem solving, or simply following up after your building delivers - we do what we know is right. Every day a dedicated group of people show up ready to work hard for you. Almost every employee here has tenure. We don't have a high turn-over rate on new hires. People here stick together. Take a minute to make a phone call to see how you are treated. Ask questions. Ask for brochures, or company literature, ask for help on just about anything and you'll see how dedicated we are to serving your needs. This is only a fraction of what makes us different. At the end of the day, not another company out there will work harder to ensure you are getting what you need - from start to finish.
Hey - that's just the way it is.
January 1, 2008
A message from Mark
More of the Same!
Looking back and taking stock of another great year, I know that 2008 will be our best year ever. ICON Building Systems has a solid history of being focused on customer service and support while offering the most"builder-friendly" system in the industry. Our company values and customer commitments are the cornerstone of our success. Our growth is coupled by our commitment to growing solid partnerships and maintaining value and integrity in our products and services. Our 2007 sales growth average was 60% for the 9th year straight. Not a single one of our competitors can say that.
Our pledge to you is straightforward. We promise to be honest and pay attention to your needs. Your goals are our goals, your success is ours. I guarantee that your experience with us will be first class. We know that 90% of our customers are "do it yourselfers" and we are here to help. Tommy Howard, our VP of customer service has over 30 years experience erecting metal buildings. You won't have a problem he hasn't solved before. We work on weekends, our days off, and routinely give out our personal phone numbers - we are here for you.
There are a lot of"sellers" on the market today. Don't get caught up in a mess with some fly-by-night who will take your deposit and run. Get references from customers and vendors, find out how long they have been around, and get their history. If you do your homework, you will find that we are who we say we are. We have a dedicated team of people here day and night to help make your project a success. We control your project - there are no"outside people" and no 3rd party communications. We don't have to"call the factory" to find out the status of your order. Your project is in our hands from start to finish. Give us the last look at your project - you'll be glad you did.
Happy New Year!
December 23, 2007
A message from Mark
Success isn't cheap
It is hard to imagine how much pain is involved in creating something great. The passion one has towards the making of greatness cannot be explained, only felt. There are many people here who have worked countless and painstaking hours to ensure that you have the very best technology at your fingertips. No, we are not riding the coat tails of someone who's already done it - but we are the pioneers, the innovators, the relentless few who strive for something better. Innovation is in our DNA. We don't have a choice. No one here does it for the money. We measure our success by something different - yours. If what we do makes your life easier, and your project is successful, then we share in that success.
Yep, there are a lot of posers out there and just as I knew when the project started in 1999 that given enough time there would be copycats. Hey, that's good for business. I think it is great. What I really hope is that our company is modeled for the principles it stands on. I pray that as others follow, we show great leadership, giving them something more to strive for. But I will say that today, the richest experience overall will start - and end with us.
From the moment you step into our world, you will see and feel the difference. From the experience you have on our website, or through the use of our building design software packages, you will know that none of this happened overnight. We worked hard to get here and we have a deep commitment to providing the best services in the industry. You don't have to look around much to know that we are the only logical choice as your project partner.
In the beginning, rival companies would use scare tactics about buying online or from an"Internet Company" because you never know what is going to happen. I am proud to say that our chargeback ratio to sales is less than 0.3% and no one else in the industry can say that. We are proud of our customer service and the network of people supporting it. Our reaction times are always same-day, and resolution times are less than 4 days on average. If there is a problem, it is our number one priority. After selling many thousands of buildings through our e-commerce efforts, I can proudly say that we are the number one online retailer of metal buildings on the planet. With our recent release of our new design software, IQS we are going to be taking things to a whole new level. Watch out World!
Thanks for listening,
December 10, 2007
A message from Mark.
Happy Holidays
From our family to yours - we want to wish you a very happy holiday season. This is the time of year I like to look back and reflect on the year's successes, failures, and opportunities to grow as individuals and as a business. With every project we sell, we hope to build a solid relationship with each and every customer. Too often "corporations" lose sight of what is important. Our customers are the foundation of our business. Of course the product is important, but it is secondary as we already know we sell a superior product. Creating a good experience and customer loyalty is crucial to our success.
You don't have to look far to see that we are ahead of the rest. Our commitment to quality speaks for itself - we care about the way we do business. Not that we don't have our share of screw-ups, because we do - but given the opportunity, we will prove that we also provide the best customer service in the industry. Our growth is a result of our efforts. Since the year 2000 ICON has grown a staggering 3,600% and not another Manufacturer in this industry can say that. We owe this to you, our valued customer - and as your project partner we know that your success is our success.
We are closing our year with tremendous success. I want to say thanks for the support, and I sincerely hope you all have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year.
Until Next Time,
November 9, 2007
A message from Mark.
Dear Diary...
I am sure some people might be confused as to my motivation to speak up about what I think, and truth be told I am a little lost about it at times. I reserve the right to make an ass out of myself at any time without notice. This is my life, and it is too short to sit back and not do anything. The old cliché"life is short" probably has no real meaning anymore, but I found out some years ago that life is in fact here and we are all living in it.
Sure, life has meaning, but not the kind of meaning where short doesn't really mean short and jackass really does refer to some kind of horse looking thing - but the kind of"meaning" that makes you feel something in your gut. Some of what I feel is spewed out without thought or remorse; other thoughts are delicately placed with care and compassion. People reading my rant may not always get everything I am squawking about but the bottom line is clear. Do your homework, read up on company histories as if you are protecting yourself from a criminal. Most likely you will be dealing with one in this industry.
My elegant posturing comes from the sickening, rotten stinky feeling in the pit of my stomach when I hear about some assface salesman lying about the weight of their building or some distressed sale where an unlucky customer put half down and now can't take the building and you can get if"half-off" if you do the deal today.
Let's get one thing clear, building manufacturers are all about making a building as lean as possible without sacrificing safety. Recently a Pennsylvania Manufacturer was bidding a job against one of our dealers. The building was small and the other side claimed to be 10,000 pounds heavier. (my thoughts) PROOVE IT JACKASS! (of course I am meaning horse-like animal) We produced the actual shipping documents to prove our weights up front. The other Manufacturer elected to let the customer go - in other words he got caught with his pants down... yeah, the customer bought from our dealer. And you know what? That customer will actually receive a superior product at a better price without getting screwed by some assbag liar who can't put his money where his mouth is.
Ok don't get me started...
September 5, 2007
A message from Mark.
My toilet runneth over.
We all know we can't always please everyone all the time - we've all been there, pissed off at bad service or lack of service altogether - but let me tell you my story about customer service.
Last weekend in an all-star effort we trekked down to the local Sprint Mobile store to upgrade my PDA phone. Keep in mind I have a"company" phone (one of many) and most of them are Nextel (owned by Sprint) but the new phone I wanted is only available from Sprint. Ok, so I was going to lose my beloved"direct-connect" walkie-talkie thing-a-ma-bob. And though disappointed, I was willing to give it up for something that would hopefully allow me to stay better organized and connected. I learned all about this miracle phone online, and by talking to the online service representative, who volunteered to send me the magical powered phone via mail and charge me full price for the phone and up my contract for another 2 years.
I want to see it, touch it. At the Sprint store at the"podium" where we give our name and sooner or later a representative will call out our name when he or she may or may not become available. There were a total of 10 reps and 2 customers. We stood there for 20 minutes watching and listening to two reps talk about what night club they were going to that night. At this point I am only mildly uncomfortable. They chat endlessly and pop gum as I stare at them, I am invisible. It is a sad day. Finally some other rep comes from the back room and wanders about. When the chatter-boxes noticed the other rep they looked up only long enough to point at the lady and say"she will help you."
Ok - I'll get to the point. Finally after all that, they handed me the phone and I started to set it up, and after 4 or 5 calls to the"customer" center, the rep told me I could not have the phone because my account was Nextel and we are on a business account, and while there were many available slots to add Nextel phones on our account we had to get permission to add a Sprint phone."Could take two days" says the rep. My left eyebrow launched high on my forehead as my head tilted like a puppy in earshot of a kazoo. Are you serious? We have been a Nextel customer since they hit the market - Sprint buys them and replaces all the actual"customer service" reps with retards? Ok that was mean, but I still can't bring myself to hit the backspace key. Ok - so no new toy. Screw 'em! Damn idiots. We go to dinner.
At 8:55pm on the way out of the restaurant I spot an AT&T store. Could it be? I "Sprinted" over to AT&T. The people working there had the cash register trays on the counter. They looked like I do with a 13 margarita hangover - but they smiled and asked"how can we help you?" I pointed at the rack on the wall and said"I want that phone right there." A whole 15 minutes later I was back in the car with my new phone. This was Thursday - on Saturday we went back and bought an AT&T phone for every"Sprint" phone, companywide. Tuesday (after Labor Day) we cancelled our Nextel and Sprint accounts. So long losers!
Moral of the story - customer service is everything! Oh, and don't be a dumbass and people will probably like you.
Hey - it is what it is.
- Mark
August 28, 2007
A message from Mark.
Burning Down The House.
For those of you who don't already know, there are a lot of things that piss me off. I am going to leave out my dirt-bag"competitors" for today and track back to something I wrote a while back. The subject was recycling - and how important it is. There is a lot of buzz out there about"carbon footprints" etc. but the bottom line is it comes down to individual responsibility. I personally know that I am responsible for making a mess of things. I can't imagine how much plastic I have put into landfills, not to mention glass, paper and metals. I have left my mark on this place. Now it is time to do something better. I listen to my iPod and peck out words that end up in cyberspace, sitting on my ass thinking about how to be a better human. The cynicism growing inside only compliments the hypocrisy. It is time for a change.
We are all pretty much the same clone-drones who sit on the couch and point the finger at big corporations. Leadership belongs to us, not them. Big Oil touts their commitment to the world and its ecosystem, but my opinion about them is different. I remember seeing the signs at Dow Chemical canals warning people not to eat fish caught there. I can visualize the British Petroleum meetings with the multi-million dollar Public Relations firms, about how they want to improve"image." Maybe it's just image and profit they are worried about. Companies yell out through their"psycho-phones" about being green and kind to the earth. Hey, maybe I can turn this puke into fertilizer? Ok, there is no irony there and no punch line; I have too much Jimmy Buffett, Martha Wainwright and AC/DC on my iPod.
And then there is me. A guy who wants wind turbines, solar panels, electric cars and a box next to everyone's desk to put recyclables in. I want it because it makes sense to me. Not because I want to be"green" too many ass-hats use the word to make them look better - I want to be responsible. Everyone knows I don't give a shit what people think about me, but I do care what they think about. I care about what you think about. Think about being a better human.
- Mark
August 25, 2007
A message from Mark.
Progress over Profits.
People first. The ICON family of businesses and our partners are committed to building and maintaining relationships. Midway into the 3rd quarter we are experiencing the strongest year in our 12 years in business. Our goal is to continue to bring new technologies to the forefront while sharing our success with our dealers, builders and retail customers. We are proud to be the technology leader in the metal building business and things are about to change again in the world of metal building design. In 2003 we brought to the internet and to the world. The launch of this product was the first and still remains to be the only one of its kind and we are about to do it again. Scheduled for release in the 4th quarter 2007, we are very excited to announce the release of IQS™ the world's first and only 3D CAD integrated metal building design and pricing system. With our 3D real-time modeling system IQS™ unleashes the power to configure an endless array of building configurations under endless code and load conditions in fully rendered 3D CAD supported by GDI, OpenGL and DirectX. IQS™ produces to scale approval drawings with full design specification. IQS™ is expected to be available to private labels, dealers, and builders in late September with a full beta release for retail customers in Q4.
Current features include building designs in gable, single slope, modular, lean-to and asymmetrical building designs, with a maximum building size of 300x500x30 with input/output in imperial and metric standards. Roofs can be designed from 0.5:12 to 8:12 pitch. Aircraft hangar structure designs support bi-fold, hydraulic lift, slide and stack door systems. Structural framing systems are available in red-oxide, galvanized and grey primed in any combinations. Building configurations can include eave and soffit systems with full trim packages. Future features will include multi-story structures, mezzanine design (integrated and free standing), multi-building combinations (up to 10 combined structures) and foundation analysis and design. Early 2008 releases will include multiple canopy, parapet and fascia systems including sloped and boxed canopies.
We have dedicated ourselves to creating the finest Metal Building design system in the world. As we get prepared, remember my words as indeed things are about to change.
- Mark
August 20, 2007
A message from Mark.
I'd Rather Eat a Mattress
The majority of people shopping are doing so based on one thing - PRICE. I agree you should get the best Value for your dollar; it would be foolish not to try to make your hard-earned money go as far as possible. What concerns me is the amount of questionable businesses there are out there. Specifically there are problems in this industry. It is easy to put up a flashy website and look like a multi-million dollar company. Unfortunately there are way too many of them out there. I can tell you that more than likely 8 out of 10 companies you will find and contact online will be of questionable character. Does that sound like a lot? It is, and if you do your homework you'll be safe and have a worry free transaction.
There are many ways to fully qualify companies. I like to call and ask to speak to accounting or accounts payable/receivable. If the person answering the phone is the"accountant" then you might consider investigating the rest of the company. Most of the trouble I have seen is from companies with a few people working out of a house and calling themselves a"manufacturer" and this is the reason you should talk to multiple people in the company and ask questions. If you don't feel right or like you're being"set-up" you probably are. Now it is true that there are small businesses out there that can and will treat you right. We're a small business, but everywhere you turn we have a dedicated source of people to help you. We have qualified people here to help you. Is it worth paying more to get good service? Yes, it is. Do you have to? No, with us you get the best service in the industry for less than what others sell for. We have dedicated customer service and account representatives. There are 20+ people here to help you including qualified sales people and account managers backed by degreed Architectural and Engineering Professionals. We have built a great team to serve you.
Our success is your success. We are worth a second look - and if you need references of prior customers, we have them all over the US and internationally. Check out the MAP to see one close to you.
Think before you decide.
August 14, 2007
A message from Mark.
I wouldn't buy this crap either...
What? You mean you don't read your contracts? You don't read the specifications? Should you question the documents provided by the seller? YES, YES and YES! Buyer beware! Get over it. So maybe you're not a lawyer - but you CAN READ. If you don't understand something ask - and have them put the answer in writing. You are obligating yourself to anything you sign, so you had better read, understand and be comfortable with it. Just remember I told you so. We provide the contract up front. No questions asked. You are buying a building - how complicated should it be? There are metal buildings everywhere and you are entitled to buy one just the way you want it - hassle free, no BS.
Week after week I hear stories of people putting down a deposit and getting the screws put to them by changing the deal, the company went out of business, the salesman made a mistake, etc. I promise that we will always shoot straight with you. We will be up-front, honest and treat you fairly. There is an old saying that you can't please everyone all the time, but we will never stop trying.
Monday, August 13, 2007
A message from Mark.
Hey Buddy... wanna buy a watch?
I am not just paranoid about how many scumbags there are out there"selling" buildings; we call them"DEPOSIT TAKERS" because that is what they do - take the money and run. Once you send them money, it is normally too late and you will get hit with change-orders or a barrage of excuses of why the building price must go up because something was left off the contract.
I decided to get on a mission and I have been doing some research to prove what I have known all along. We started calling a lot of different companies to listen to what they had to say. Once, I started laughing so hard I had to hang up. I just can't believe that in this day and age people still get by with shelling this crap out.
This is me calling to inquire about a 40x60x12 building.
{Customer name} HAVE I GOT A DEAL FOR YOU! We had a customer order a building 5 weeks ago, he put down 50 grand on this building and he can't take it because his property deal fell through. It is only 2 feet more in width and 3 feet longer than the one you are looking for. Since we can't sell it as new, even though it is, we have to discount it to move this from our factory. {Customer name} THIS IS A ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY. This building was sold for 200 grand plus, and the customer put down 50 grand, the balance was 150 grand, but {customer name} YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS but my manager says we need to move this and to sell it to the first person who will give me half of that! What I am telling you {customer name} is that you can have this building for $75,000.00 if you are willing to move on this right now. Since this deal is being pushed by every sales person here I have to have a deposit today to lock this order up, otherwise I am going to lose this deal to another salesman. {customer name} this is your shot to make a hell-of-a deal, hell if I had a place to put it I'd buy it myself, but my wife just had a baby. {Customer name} you can save $125,000.00 right now by doing this deal with me. Hell that is enough money to complete the rest of the project, concrete work and labor to put it up, hell you'll have money left over. Don't pass this up {customer name} because tomorrow this deal will be gone. Click! That is me hanging up. Thank goodness for caller-ID block. After this call - errr - after this"greasing" I felt like I needed a shower. UHHG!
For the sake of time I am going to stop talking about these creeps, and let you know that we have placed MANY calls and more of this is forthcoming. Think about this before you go. We just had a customer call that purchased a metal building 100x200 from"THE GENERAL" and called us stating they needed to get plans for permitting. WHAT!!!? The building came without PLANS!!! She mentioned there is an ongoing lawsuit, to which I say good luck - but we cannot help you now.
Your session is now over - that will be $65.00 please.
August 1, 2007
A message from Mark.
8 days in Mexico.
My vision became foggy as Veronica jammed her elbows into my back."You have a lot of knots" she said as I lay there thinking about who owned each one. On the massage table, I found myself once again reflecting on the pieces of my life I wish I could somehow magically rearrange. I think about an ex-business partner who stuck the knife in my back, and my good friend of 20 plus years who recently did the same. I think about the knots that belong to them, and I think about trust and how people change over time. As a kid I wanted to be a garbage man, I thought it would be cool riding on the back of that truck going down the road. That is, until one day my pant leg got caught in the sprocket of my bike.
One early morning I was outside cruising around on my bike. My pants got snagged and I fell over just in time to see the garbage truck coming directly towards me, stopping briefly at each house. It was about 20 houses away - was there time? I thought I could easily turn the pedals and free my tethered leg, but not this time. As I frantically tried pulling my pant leg from the sprocket I realized I was not getting out. The big truck was getting closer, and closer. I screamed bloody murder. My mother came running out of the house wide-eyed, in a panic - only to find me safe and sound, all limbs and digits intact. I was so shaken I could barely speak.
I wish someone could come and save me like that, and tell me not to worry and things like that don't happen. So great would be the day when the innocence of childhood reappears in an adult life. My mother passed away some 12 years ago, but I think of her every day, and remember the lessons, the profound statements that have embedded themselves into my memory. I remember my childhood more these days and I am not sure why. Perhaps it is just the journey of my life, the path of the plan that does not exist.
The reality is bad things happen, and they always will. I watched CNN live as the coverage of the Minnesota bridge collapse unfolded. From my hotel room, just steps away from the beautiful blue Caribbean ocean, I thought about the people sitting on that Minneapolis Bridge and what they must be feeling, how their lives were changed or ended. Unfortunately we are programmed to think in a way that is not normal. We mix in thoughts of lawsuits, and finger-pointing terrorism. It's hard not to think about that stuff, when we are a society of litigation and entitlement. We find opportunity where we shouldn't, and instead of feeling the right emotions, we think about who is going to pay for our pain.
I miss being a kid, but I feel lucky I am not one in today's world. Sitting on the couch all day playing video games and watching TV just doesn't sound as good as exploring the neighboring woods and building tree houses. We planned the world we did not live in, and imagination was our tour guide. Now the video game makers and Hollywood sell our imagination to us for a price.
And today I watch helplessly as the moral fabric of our world unravels. Given the circumstances in which we exist, my only goals are to find health and happiness. As I am working the rest of the knots out, I plan on losing 10 or 50 pounds, finding my"center" and putting the rest in perspective. I promise to stretch more and gripe less. You only get one shot at life - make it worthwhile.
Until next time,
July 20, 2007
A message from Mark.
I am probably the worst businessman ever.
What is my problem anyway? I stick to my values without regard to consequences. I just don't care. Well, technically I do, and that is my problem. I care too much about hanging on to why it is we do what we do. These other jackasses out there have absolutely nothing in mind but taking your money. I have weighed the risk of putting profits before people. People come first, regardless of the outcome I will fight for what is right. I know and care about what happens and why. I make my bed and lay in it. We are a product of our actions and our actions speak loudly about who we are. We have built a great business. No one can ever take that away, we worked hard for it. We are on top of the mountain. Yes, someone can knock us down - but they never take away the achievements. What is it all about? Hell, I guess I don't know. It's just about doing the thing that feels right. Knowing that you can contribute is something that has a meaning. There are all kinds of positive things I can say about our company, but at the end of the day what matters is how hard we try. I feel great, no matter what happens, knowing that we are taking care of families, providing a great environment to work in. To provide benefits like health and life insurance - when 80% of small businesses don't - and to know that we are making a real difference in the lives of the members of our family here. ICON family values start with individual integrity and the desire to do the right thing - even when it hurts.
Hey, it's just the way it is.
June 1, 2007
A message from Mark.
Scrutiny on the Bounty
My life online is not as glamorous as one might think. But, there is satisfaction in getting a lot of great comments from customers and site visitors. Some people weigh in on my ranting, others just tell me to keep it up and I have even gotten feedback from some competitors - some nice.. some not so nice. The not-so-nice guys seem to have a fake/bogus free email address and apparently don't have enough [insert idea] to identify themselves. While it is humorous to know they spend so much time checking up on me, they should probably be spending time improving on their quality instead.
OK, to be fair I doubt it is any of the"big guys" out there - I highly doubt the real business CEO's out there are watching me (but one can only hope) but the"Beach Brokers" well, they don't like us very much. Look, I have said it before and I'll say it again. CHECK OUT THE COMPANY YOU ARE DOING BUSINESS WITH. These guys are going to say and do anything to get you to send in a deposit. Yeah, we all want to make sales.. but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about doing things.
Come on people. Get a grip on reality if they plaster the AISC Logo on every page of their site, check them out on the AISC website @ (see our listing) and you will find out the truth. Be warned that some posers have become 'associate' members whereby you pay a fee and POOF! You can use the logo. Cheap and effective, I suppose, to fool the consumer. But check them out to see what kind of status they have and therein lies the truth. If they claim to have factories all over the US, then they should be one of 5 players in the market and I can assure you that none of them have corporate offices on the beach. Anyway - just food for thought.
The last email that I got was decent and the question was -"why do you do it (the ranting) and do you think anyone reads it? Hmm.. well... I do it because I don't like seeing people get ripped off. I do it because I can. I do it because I want to. I do it because it is the right thing for me to do. And do I think anyone reads this? My answer. Duh?
Until next time,
April 9, 2007
A message from Mark.
This business sucks...
These are my thoughts, as I stare out at the tarmac outside the D Terminal window at Houston Intercontinental awaiting a flight to Mexico. I didn't want to come back from the last short"working" vacation. Prior to loading up for this event I remember saying"Honey, be sure to get the charger for the Blackberry, oh and my laptop charger too..." (pause)"Did I just say that?"
— I hadn't even made it on the plane yet and I was already dreading the return. How could this be? After all we are experiencing growth in a down-turned market. Our sales are up and we're doing more business than ever. Hell, we have not seen a year with less than 60% growth in over 7 years.
I sit uncomfortably on Aero Mexico flight 6001 to Cancun knowing that the next 4 days are going to be filled with great food, frozen margaritas and 10 key company team members - yes indeed, we all needed a break no matter how short (although we all have our attached communication devices - just in case). It took years of relentless fighting to get where we are, this is a tough, fiercely competitive industry. The big boys are trying to get into the little man's market and technology seekers are not skilled or funded enough to make it into full scale e-business efforts, so there is a mash-up of flagrant idiots trying to pump up their image on the net and generally polluting our industry with their garbage.
The internet can be your greatest tool, or your worst enemy. As more sellers enter the marketplace, and with the ability to shop for bargains, the prices are steadily driven down. But buyers beware. Predators are everywhere, and they have your number. If you are not careful you will get burned. These crooks are out there, and most days I feel like I am stuck in a market filled with criminals. These guys are thieves that have no shame or remorse and the real problem here is you can't tell the sheep from the wolves. I want to say I am exaggerating, but unfortunately I am not. I think there should be a policing governmental agency on steel building companies in general. Not that I am a proponent of"Big Brother" but you can look up our skirt any time - in fact we don't mind at all, we're proud of the way we look.
I occasionally"gut-check" the market by searching the internet to see who is up to what, and what image this crop of"deposit takers" are portraying. I have seen so-called"manufacturers" pop up in different places claiming to have 300,000 square foot of factory floor and 300+ employees, and they probably are nothing more than a $500.00 website working out of a pay-by-the-week motel room. These guys will take your money and disappear, and you will have no recourse or any chance at getting your money back. And don't get me started on the cancelled building guys - they love to put you in a corner and push the"once-in-a-lifetime" deal. Hey people! Wake up! If it sounds too good to be true - guess what? Oh, and while I am venting - I especially love these guys that chase the race-circuit and cough up the initial money for a NASCAR paid endorsement deal. Wow, now that is settling, you PAY someone for the use of their image and that validates you?? THAT makes you a good company? It is sickening.
A bar chart or graph cannot tell you what the value of a good idea is. Innovation is only as good as the execution, implementation, follow-through, and maintenance of the plan. It takes being different to make a difference. So the problem I have is not a lack of success, ideas or the end of an era... hell the dotcom bust days are gone, and long forgotten. My problem is the crowd, the"competitors."
I hate cleaning up other people's messes, and I hate being on the same Google search page result with these ass-hats. I am sick of hearing about people getting ripped off... for crap's sake people - call the BBB or get some references, there aren't really that many manufacturers out there anyway, find out who the broker is buying from and call their supplier for a reference. If they put an MBMA or AISC logos on their website go check to see if they are really a member. AFTER ALL YOU ARE ONLINE! Help us clean up the garbage; a little due diligence goes a long way.
Well, that's the World as I see it...
Until next time,
Founder, Chairman
March 28, 2007
A message from Mark.
90% of our customers install their own buildings even though they may have no experience with Metal Buildings. Our buildings are the most erector friendly buildings on the market. What we do is provide you with the information and educate you as to what you need to get the job done. Take advantage of our hard work. We have created an easy to follow interactive installation guide CD that will allow you to virtually walk through the process of installing your building.
FIRST - A COMPLETELY WELDED BUILDING. Always ask the supplier if they use loose clips.. if it's not fully welded.. you will spend more time and money bolting a clip to a frame, so you can bolt a girt or purlin to that clip. SECOND - FULLY DETAILED DRAWINGS AND ANCHOR BOLT PLANS. These are generated in our office and can be sent to you for review by fax, email, regular mail or express mail. Not only do we take the time up front to make sure your building is designed right, we have a full time customer service staff to answer any questions you have. THIRD - our staff is made up of people who care. Call in to test us. Email us or write us and you will see the difference. You will be treated courteously and with respect BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE SALE.
Do your homework people... you will see why we are a better choice.
Mark, Founder
ICON Building Systems
Metal Building
You have until January 25th to take additional 5% off of every online quote and you can call one of our professional sales specialists to receive additional savings. Send us a competitor's quote for an additional $250.00 off any quote - even sales and specials. Ask your sales specialist for the EXTENDED Christmas discount... to help make your NEW YEAR even better!
Thanks to you! The ICON Brand has grown to be one of the most recognized brands in the US, and we are very proud of that fact. Better Products, Better Service - That is our commitment to you!!!
Happy New Year!
Founder & Chairman
ICON Building Systems
Metal Building
Dec. 12, 2006
Mark, Founder
ICON Building Systems
Metal Building
We are happy to announce that we are taking an additional 5% off of every online quote until December 23 AND you can call one of our professional sales specialists to receive additional savings. Send us a competitor's quote for an additional $100.00 off any quote - even sales and specials. Ask your sales specialist for and extra Christmas discount... to help make your holiday season better!!
We want each and every one of you to know that we take the utmost pride in our work. From start to finish we strive for perfection. We want to earn your business. The ICON Brand has grown to be one of the most recognized brands in the US, and we are very proud of that fact. Better Products, Better Service - That is our commitment to you!!!
I hope that you and yours have a safe and happy holiday season!
Kindest Regards,
Founder & Chairman
ICON Building Systems
Metal Building
60% is good enough for me.
Dec 4, 2006
Mark, Founder
ICON Building Systems
Metal Building
I am proud to announce that for the last 5 consecutive years we have grown more than 60% each year! Our December sales will take us beyond that... but hey - who's counting? This trend was started in 2002, and we have held tight and made our goals and then some. This would not have been possible without the support of our valuable customers - and I want to say"thank you" for your business and continued support. We are working hard to provide the best products and services to you.
We have the strongest growth pattern in the industry. Just like our products and services, our growth is unparalleled. How did that happen? Why have we become the leader in our industry - what? Did I just say that??
In today's world it's easy to make a false claim like that, seriously, look around and every metal building"seller" will state that they are an industry leader. Hmm..
Well, in our case we are very different. And it happens to be the absolute truth. Though our competitors routinely bad-mouth us, all of them want to be more like us. We are smarter, faster and more efficient (and definitely better looking). Look at us closely and you'll see. Our sales support staff is world-class; you will not find a higher quality group anywhere. We are just better - that is the truth - and I can't help it.
Check around and you'll see that most other"sellers" are not manufacturers. They claim to be - but check them out and you'll find out they are not. Think we are not..? Think again. We are now building our second facility in Seguin TX, located just outside of San Antonio. We've already begun construction on a multi-million dollar corporate office and manufacturing facility encompassing 15 prime acres on Interstate 10. Come by and see us 2 miles north of exit 604 west of Seguin.
What does the future hold for us? One thing's for sure - the sky is the limit. We have definitive plans for 2 more facilities to be completed by Q3 2008. While we are not ready to disclose the exact locations yet, we'll keep you posted.
We want your business! Doing business with us makes sense in so many ways. There are many reasons to choose us over other suppliers. How about integrity, honesty and the drive to succeed? We promise to take good care of you and make sure you are getting the very best value for your money. TRUST. Thousands of customers have chosen wisely by placing their trust in us. We are not going to run off with your deposit money. Beware of people who have not been in business long, (or have been sued by the attorney general for fraud and deceptive trade practices) so look around, do your homework and don't listen to some schmuck trying to pressure you into making a commitment over the phone. Get it in writing.. Ask for the drawings, a copy of the contract and warranty papers - a little bit of work up-front will save you a lot of heart burn in the end.
Adios amigos,
Founder, Metal Building
Recently I received an email from a customer asking me what made our company different than"Brand X."
Well, this can and will probably be a long story. The most important difference between us and our"competitors" is our integrity. From day one we were all about the customer. We give you what no other company will. Freedom. We give you the freedom to design and price the steel building you want, without a high-pressure salesman calling you 10 times a day trying to get you to put down a deposit because"the price of steel is going up." If you have been calling on other suppliers then it is likely you know what I'm talking about.
We built the most sophisticated design and pricing site on the market today - for you, our valued customer. We wanted you to be able to have the freedom to play around designing and pricing your dream shop, or work seriously on a commercial, industrial or agricultural or church building to suit your needs. Others try to imitate us, but none give you the flexibility to design and price anything you want without talking to a salesperson. And if you do need help - there is plenty of it here. We have a dedicated staff of steel building experts waiting to answer your questions.
Ever notice how most metal building brokers (that claim to be a manufacturer) web sites don't even show a physical address? And practically all of the ones that do show an address, it is a suite number...??? What is that all about anyway? Are they working out of their apartment, or what? They claim to have multiple shipping points (like they own multiple plants), but there are VERY few companies that are big enough to honestly make that claim.
We've got what you need from the word go. We have a knowledgeable staff of steel building design professionals, foundation design specialists, engineers, detailers, erectors and fabrication experts waiting to serve you. Technical issues may not seem that important up front, but the level of knowledge and expertise of the company you are buying from will be the most important thing if there is a problem with your building or if you have construction or assembly questions.
We deliver top quality products and services. Check around and you'll see. I spent some time on the Better Business Bureau's web site checking out some of my competitor's histories and MAN!!! what a shocker. I could not believe it. Almost every single one of them had a significant amount of complaints... I was very surprised at the number of problems with other companies, I am left wondering how they are still in business.
Do your homework. A little due diligence will go a long way. Check out the company you are considering doing business with. You owe it to yourself to understand the company you are trusting with your hard earned money. Listen to what the salesman is telling you. If all he or she is doing is pushing you for a deposit - then you should think twice about sending them a check.
So... the answer is we care. We care that you are a satisfied customer. We will work hard to earn and keep your business. It is my pledge to you that if there ANY problem at all when doing business with us, it will be handled professionally and courteously.
Thanks for your time.
Metal Building Depot designs and manufactures the finest Steel Building Systems available.
We ship nationwide and have the fastest turn-around in the industry.
Indisputably, we offer the most cost-effective metal building and steel building systems in the United States.
We specialize in metal and steel buildings for commercial, aviation, agricultural, military, industrial, and residential building use.
Also check out our QUICK PRICING for our everyday low-priced buildings.
Call us for steel buildings clearance specials.
At Metal Building Depot you will always find all our steel buildings offered at substantially discounted prices.
With us you will receive personalized service from professional building specialists who respond to your needs.
Our philosophy is to offer the most flexible building designs, professional engineering, the highest grade domestic steel, a 50-year structural warranty protection, many years of design, manufacturing and construction experience, and 100% American made products make us the right choice for your pre-engineered steel buildings and metal building systems.
Because our all steel metal buildings are sold direct, you save time and money by getting the best steel building price up front ONLINE with no hassles.
If you require assistance of any kind please call us toll free at 888-372-4266 with your steel building questions.
Everyone wants a good price, but at what cost?
When you are considering purchasing a Metal Building, we know it is a big decision. We also know there are a lot of reasons NOT to buy a building without doing your homework. Recently a Colorado based steel building seller was sued by the Attorney Generals office. Why? Deceptive trade Practices. The company was fined and ordered to refund the customers they ripped off. Another Florida based company was taken to court in a class action suit and a Judge ruled that the company refund hundreds of customers unscrupulously bilked out of their hard earned money.
We want you to do your homework. A little research will go a long way. Find out if the company is real or not by checking them out with the Better Business Bureau. Also check to see if they are really affiliated with the logos that are plastered all over their website. If they have an AISC logo on their site - go to and find out if they are really a member. If a company misleads you from the start - do you really want to buy from them?
Don't listen to the salesmen who push you to make a quick decision and want a credit card number or you to FAX them a check. RUN from these people. Everyone in business needs to sell a product or service, but it should be done in a professional manner. Do not get pushed into buying something when you have not shopped around for price and quality. Thanks for listening...
Metal Building Depot
ICON Building Systems
The basic requirement to erecting a building is instruction, tools, equipment and manpower. Our buildings are engineered to bolt together easily. When you buy from us we send you an erection manual along with your plans. This 77 page booklet takes you through every step of the process. We start with laying out the foundation, anchor bolts and setting templates. There are general guidelines as to the basic foundation design, but footing sizes need to be designed to work with your soil profile.
Additionally, our instruction literature covers many facets of the building process including material handling, storage and most importantly SAFETY. While most of our customers do not encounter difficulties installing their new ICON Building, rest assured that our knowledgeable staff of designers, detailers and engineers are on stand-by to help you when you need us.
On another note. You will find as you speak to other companies - most of them do not manufacture the products they sell. They play no part whatsoever in the design, detailing, drafting or engineering of your structure. If you have a problem in the field, it will be highly unlikely that you will be able to get adequate help from a Broker. Our product is controlled and manufactured to exact specifications - custom made to order - one building at a time.
A steel building from Metal Building Depot is the most economical building choice you can make. Our steel buildings are long lasting and trouble free. Steel is stronger and more resilient than conventional building materials. LOW COST Our steel buildings are more economical than conventional methods due to the originating costs and reduced labor. Complete steel buildings are delivered to the jobsite and quickly erected. QUICK CONSTRUCTION On average, a steel building system can be completed in approximately one-third the time required for conventional construction. BETTER APPEARANCE The appearance of steel buildings can easily be enhanced with stucco, stone, brick or glass. Metal building systems can attain a remarkable exterior that will merge with the ambiance of the building's surroundings. LOW ENERGY CONSUMPTION A suitably insulated metal building can drastically decrease heating and cooling expenses. Insulated roof and wall systems preserve and reassure thermal efficiencies. LOW MAINTENANCE Extended life materials reduce maintenance, and eliminate troubles such as structural deterioration, rotting and insect damage. EXPANDABILITY It easy to enlarge a building by removing the end walls, erecting new framework and adding matching wall and roof panels. In most situations, the original end wall panels can be reused.
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