Announcements, Updates, Information and the ability to learn from others mistakes!
3-13-2013 Entry # 1 here should be titled boiling point. Mainly because I am at that point in regards to the subject matter I need to write about today as it has happened several times very recently. It is a mistake that with very little research can be avoided very easily. Had a customer contact us yesterday. We had been working with him to find a good quality used table for a couple weeks that fit his space in terms of color etc.. He had found a table on his own and already had it purchased and in his truck. It was an American Heritage. Its a beautiful, solid wood table he tells me. Got a good deal on it too. He had talked to 2 other "pool table people" locally and both told him American Heritage was a good brand. Which is really sad that other services want your $ so badly they will not be honest with you about the quality of certain products. Whether they do it to be deceitful or from lack of knowledge I wont speculate, but it happens all the time. After talking to him for a while on the phone I did warn him about the problems we encounter with AH tables.... not solid wood, bad rubber, leg receivers that pull out when you tighten the legs down..... but I did tell him we could get it together right so he asked us to come up and put it together for him. We arrived to find exactly what we expected. First grab of the cushions and the rubber was hard as a rock. Every rail was like that. So now with the assembly, new rubber...which meant bringing the rails back to the shop as rubber is not a job that can be done correctly on site, and a new cloth the customer had an extra $600 in expenses with this table. After we gave him a really good discount. We then took the top frame off of the table so the body would fit where it was going and low and behold..particle board construction with a very convincing Oak Laminate. Got it in the room and set it on the legs. Funny thing happened....2 legs would not tighten. The receivers pulled right out of the wood. Luckily we prepare for this as it really does happen every time we work on American Heritage tables. We got it right and once we re rubber the rails and put a new cloth on it it will be a nice looking piece of furniture and play just fine. But a lot of expense, hassle and frustration could have been avoided. To illustrate further what kind of junk American Heritage pumps out I get the rails stripped this morning to re rubber the table and the cushions say Sure Shot K66 on them. Now by visiting our Pool Table U section you will learn that K66 is a particular size and profile of cushion rubber. The size is standard throughout the billiard industry and does not change with different manufacturers..K66 is K66 period. Of course when low quality stuff is produced they write whatever they want on it. Wouldn't you know I pull out a piece of K66 rubber and it is totally the wrong size. Turns out the cushions are a K55 profile. What you as a consumer can take from this is simple. 1. Consult our product review section before buying anything, this would have saved this particular customer a lot of time, fuel and money as he needed to sink an extra $600 into a table he drastically overpaid for to begin with. At the very least call us, tell us what you have found and we will tell you if it is a good value! Just because a table looks really fancy, has solid wood top rails, sells on the internet for $2500 or is slate with leather pockets does not mean it is a good quality table. there is more junk out there than quality stuff and the quality stuff IS available in the same or lower price range. 2. Let a professional pick it up. Yes there is an extra cost for this that you may be tempted to save but had this customer contracted us to go and get it...even though it was already disassembled..we would have found the problems before purchase and saved in the long run a lot of money for him. (This is the second time in a month this exact scenario has played out with an American Heritage table) Don't let this happen to you. You work hard for your money, don't waste it because you think your saving long term. Consult a professional, not a hacker like the 2 our customer in this case talked too...actually 3 because the person selling him the table had a "pro" who knew the table that would install it for them. Even if you don't use our service we are more than happy to help you buy something of quality.
20 Minutes after previous post.............SUCCESS! Just saved a customer form purchasing one of 2 huge mistakes! Another American Heritage, and a Brunswick for 4x its value !
3-21-13 It amazes me how much money some people have to throw away. They just go to a website selling pool tables and believe everything they read about the build and quality and just click buy...... Got a call from Ozone Billiards today. They sell pool tables on the internet. Looking at their website they are the cats ass of pool table companies. All solid wood, lifetime warranty etc. etc. We have worked on these epic pieces of crap before, they are far from quality furniture. So the call begins with the rep explaining they have a customer in Ellsworth, Maine who needs a "white glove install". That they will ship the table to us and we can bring it there and install it. Well Ellsworth is a hike but well within our coverage area so I gave him the install a piece of crap 2 hours away price and he said OK!! Now this bothers me for several reasons. 1. Someone in my state didn't do any research on pool tables and bought this piece of junk without ever looking to see if they could get something else for less money that was actually decent. Must be nice to have money to flush down the toilet. 2. This online junk peddler website did nothing to qualify me as an installer. Not one question about our methods, warranty, company...anything! So who the heck do these guys have going into homes installing for them? Pretty scary in itself. Of course I am not really interested in installing for these junk websites anyway so I requested payment up front, which they don't ever do, but I have been burned by these types of sites in the past so I don't take the chance. They decided to go elsewhere...good for them. I mean the person didn't want a quality pool table, why would they want a professional install. The moral of this story? Someone spent at least $2100 of their hard earned money on a table that is total garbage......I asked the guy on the phone what brand it was and all he could tell me is "its a China table"....really? that is all you can tell me about your product...China table...wow. For less than that they could have bought something of actual quality from me, one of the other 2 professional companies in Maine or even one of the hackers! Do your homework folks. The resources are out there.
Been a while since I have blogged, guess I'll start up again. I think I stopped because its the same things happening every time. I guess if I can keep putting it out there people may start to research, make informed decisions and qualify the people they do business with. So of the several thinks boiling me this morning I will start with insurance. Insurance is very important to have in the pool table business. First, its the sign of a business being legitimate, caring and set up correctly. Which is a sign of a true professional. There are 3 types of insurance that make a company FULLY insured. General Liability, Workers Compensation and Commercial Vehicle. If a company is missing any of these they are absolutely not FULLY insured. So what is the big deal? Why as a customer, is this important to you? The guy has 30 years experience.....what does insurance matter? First, each type of insurance is a big deal. Your homeowners insurance absolutely does not cover persons working on your property...which is why the 3 types of insurance I outlined are required by law. A company having General Liability insurance is covered if they damage your home or table while working on or moving it on your property or a previous owners property. it also covers you if you are hurt by something the company does. General Liability is important but in reality it covers very little that could actually go wrong. NO general liability insurance covers the people working on your table. This is why workers compensation insurance is also required by law. Workers Compensation covers injuries to the people working on or moving your pool table. If they are hurt working on your table and do not have a workers compensation policy you can be sued by them for their injuries. Principal owners of a business do not need workers compensation coverage on themselves however it is required by law that they sign off on it or else you are in the same boat in terms of opening yourself up to lawsuit. It is also important to mention that in most states simply not having it is NOT an automatic sign off. Commercial auto insurance is also very important. There is a reason commercial and personal auto insurances are different, if a company does not have commercial insurance and they are transporting your pool table and something happens your table is not covered! If a company does not have commercial auto or workers comp or has not signed off on comp then they are NOT fully insured. If they claim to be, they are falsely advertising themselves. Do you want to do business with someone who strait up lied to you in their introduction? If they cant set up their business correctly how are they going to set up your pool table correctly?
12-23-13 I'm also a little wound up about other "companies" mis representing products and product values to customers just to get the business of the table move. Call it lack of knowledge or just plain deceitful, when a table is listed for double its value and these guys tell customers its a good deal just to get the moving job, that is not good business. We would rather loose or postpone getting a job to make sure our customers are cared for then deliver something overpriced or not of real quality.
3-1-2014 Very exciting week! We have just secured direct from the factory access to Drawknife Billiards line of rustic log pool tables and game room furniture. Drawknife will be a great line for us to carry and we look forward to providing New England with the best quality log pool tables on the market.
We are now Retail Members of the BCA (Billiard Congress of America)
We have joined up on LinkedIn!
No sooner do we get an order of new Connellys into production and I have twice had to call our rep to add more to the order! Even the add on games like Air Hockey, Foosball and Shuffleboard have had pieces added since the original order. No sooner did I finally cap the order off so we could get our tables in time and we wrote the first new table up for our next order. I see a great summer ahead!
The sign for our showroom will be going up next week, very exciting!
We are also going through full vehicle wrap designs for our service van! Pictures of those will be up in the not to distant future.
Inventory is great right now! We have a wide selection of used tables in every size and price point. Our walls and storage area are filled with wall decor! We don't even have room for all of the lighting. Orders are pouring in from all of our vendors too!
We have signed one advertising deal for radio and are working on another for later this year as well as producing a television commercial! Maine Home Recreation will be dominating all of the airwaves this fall.
We recently advertised the ability to obtain and install a couple of well advertised brands of pool table. We were able to obtain these tables through a couple different avenues, friendly dealers etc. We believe 100% that dealer co operation is a much better path than dealers striking at each other. Apparently we have some competition that A. does not believe that and B. Reads our blog! Because they felt so threatened that they had to run to the manufacturers and complain about it. Either way, there is one of those brands I have no intention of working with, they wont be around in their current form much longer anyway....and the other...well, no big announcement yet but the term "Blowing up in your face" probably wont even cover what is happening. Its not what I wanted, not what I was looking for, but when opportunity knocks, answer the door! I would absolutely rather co operate and work together, you catch more flies with honey right? I guess some people just feel threatened when someone new comes into the market and offers superior quality, service, product, inventory and pricing! Oh well, their loss really. I'll always leave my door open to them though.
In a related note I heard from a couple of the manufacturers that they were told we do not have a showroom...work out of a garage actually!! Well we do have a home office, all business calls can be and often are forwarded directly there, yes, we own a Landscaping company also. Sorry we provide all day and hour phone access and customer service. Apparently some people forget that many dealers install swimming pools....I struggle to find a difference. Maybe later today I can cancel our sign and tell our landlord we no longer have to pay rent because we do not have a showroom..Ha ha . Of all the tactics to use against your competition...really guys? We let customers decide where to shop. We encourage our customers to call our competition, go visit even. We know where customers who shop both places buy. And we don't have a big or fancy showroom. We are not dealers of the big well advertised brands. And we would never spread any ill about what our competition is or is not. We are sorry though....nobody will be playing pool the whole time you are with us, nobody will be doing their nails and we regret, we do not sell kites.