A lucrative business opportunity right at your doorstep!
A successful hardscape business depends on a number of variables. Whether you wish to start a new company or grow your present business, a basic knowledge of what’s at stake will help you achieve your goals.
The key element for any business is finding new customers and the hardscape business is no exception. Most hardscape businesses fail because they either spend too much time chasing the wrong customers or they simply undervalue their services. However, the cost of getting new, profitable clients can be overwhelmingly high. It is certainly less expensive to do additional work for the same clients than to find new ones. They are already sold on your services and most customers prefer to receive all services from one company.
One of the most underrated services in the hardscape business is maintenance. We all agree that pavers are a beautiful foundation for an outdoor living space. However, like any exterior surface, they are subject to the effects of use, weather and time. Dullness, unsightly stains and faded color all combine to prematurely age pavers, robbing them of the beauty with which your customers first fell in love.
Paver maintenance is the ideal business within a business. Think about the thousands of square feet of pavers that you have installed to this day. They will all need maintenance, at one point or another. What’s more, it has been estimated that more than 650 million square feet of pavers are being installed every year in North America, which means the paver maintenance business is valued at well over 1-billion-dollars. These are services that some of your clients will have done anyway. So why would you let someone else have that part of the job?
Unfortunately, some paver installers and paver professionals shy away from the clean and seal business because of a lack of knowledge. They don’t realize the full potential of this added service and most often are simply afraid to botch the job. Yet, it is as straightforward as it is simple, provided you follow these few guidelines.
The paver cleaner and sealer market is flooded with products at all points of the price spectrum. Contractors involved in the paver maintenance business are often lost when it comes to selecting the right product and manufacturer that will truly deliver the efficiency, durability, ease of use and reduced call-backs as promised. Some companies offer much better value for your buck. Techniseal, for example, has been offering contractors top quality sealants for over 30 years. In fact, the company was the very first one to introduce a product line specific to the treatment of pavers. They offer a 3-step treatment system with products to remove stains, to clean the entire surface and to seal the pavers. Their sealant line includes a choice of looks and finishes, which enables you to give your customers several interesting options. Dealing with a supplier that offers a complete line is always recommended because you know the products will work well together. According to Sylvain Dulude, Technical Director at Techniseal, after-sale and technical service should also be at the top of your list when it comes time to choose a particular brand. Several manufacturers offer adequate support to contractors and Techniseal is leading the way. Phil Graves is Director of U.S. Sales at Techniseal. He states that technical support is critical to the growth of the company. “When contractors don’t have this kind of support, they naturally apply techniques they learned using other products.” “This can be a problem,” he added. “The instructions for one brand may differ significantly from another although the products appear very similar,” Mr. Graves concludes.
It takes more than product knowledge to win jobs in the paver maintenance business. When you stop and think about it, it all boils down to this: your ultimate goal is to make a fair and equitable profit which starts with proper project evaluation and bidding. Successful bidding requires a wide knowledge of market environment, material prices and rates of competitors. Do not undervalue your work. Remember, you are not selling a price; you are selling your expertise. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind when bidding for a new contract: 1. Explain to the homeowner the benefits of using quality products that will outlast cheaper offers. 2. Never base your estimate on square footage alone. 3. Keep a log book. 4. Keep in mind, 70% of your jobs will be residential; it’s your bread and butter 4. If you feel something is not right, walk away!
It takes more than product knowledge to win jobs in the paver maintenance business. When you stop and think about it, it all boils down to this: your ultimate goal is to make a fair and equitable profit and it starts with proper project evaluation and bidding. Successful bidding requires a wide knowledge of market environment, material prices and rates of competitors. Do not undervalue your work. Remember, you are not selling a price; you are selling your expertise. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind when bidding for a new contract: 1. Explain to the homeowner the benefits of using quality products that will outlast cheaper offers. 2. Never base your estimate on square footage alone. 3. Keep a log book. 4. Keep in mind, 70% of your jobs will be residential; it’s your bread and butter 4. If you feel something is not right, walk away!
When advertising, be sure to choose the best method to attract the types of customers you wish to target. If you have a limited crew and you prefer not to have it spread out geographically, then door hangers and leaflets are still ideal when it comes time to focus on a particular neighborhood. If you have several teams in place and they are only at 75% capacity, advertising on the radio could be an interesting way to fill up your company’s potential for revenue. Whatever path you choose, make sure you act like a professional business to ensure the first impression is a positive one. It’s also worth spending some money on a basic website, a basic logo, etc. Some suppliers offer a co-op program to customers. Techniseal’s co-op program even includes a free design service for basic marketing material to anyone who graduates from the training course. This is something any serious contractor should take advantage of.
Last but not least, consider forming strategic alliances with garden centers, retail stores and other places that sell to the public. Often, they want to offer their customers some help with the fading pavers on their driveway, and would welcome a partnership that allowed them to offer this service.
With all this information at your fingertips, you are well prepared to increase your business revenue for a very small investment. Armed with proper training, and using the right products, you will find yourself in a position to permanently keep far ahead of the competition.