You just finished a maintenance job at a client’s residence and noticed a crew arriving to build a pool surround. If you are like me, you’re wondering why that client didn’t ask you to do the job. Let’s face it, if your company is a good landscape maintenance service provider, and mow-and-blow is making your company profitable and you’re filling your bank account with cash because of it, that’s a great thing.
However, most businesses today are looking for additional revenue opportunities. Hardscape services could be just the opportunity to add additional profitable revenue to your bottom line.
Concrete paver systems are hot now. Concrete paver sales saw an increase of 15.2 percent in the U.S. in 2015 — expanding from 516.9 million square feet of segmental concrete paving production to 595.5 million square feet, according to ASTM.
Also, margins on hardscaping projects average more than 52 percent, successful contractors tell me. They say the key is providing quality materials and construction. Hardscapes, by their nature, must last many years.
Start with a plan
Evaluate your circumstances before adding hardscaping. You have to be certain you perform quality work in each of your service segments before adding hardscaping to the mix. Consider the risks as well as the rewards before moving forward. Create a project plan, similar to your business plan, to carefully analyze the risk-reward equation of adding hardscape services. Do your research and ask peers how they got started in this segment.
Some companies get into hardscaping by doing only those projects they’re confident their team can complete with quality results. They survey their crews and find employees who can perform these services proficiently. For larger, more complicated projects, they partner with an experienced subcontractor – at least until they feel they are up to speed with hardscaping. They may also outsource design work until they’ve grown to a sufficient size, in terms of revenue, to add staff.
Enter the ICPI
If you’re unfamiliar with hardscaping, a great place to start is by checking out the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI), a leading technical organization on segmental concrete pavement systems with more than 1,000 members. ICPI members benefit from the substantial resources the association makes available to concrete paver producers, contractors, suppliers and design professionals.
Also, set aside Oct. 20-21 to participate in this year’s GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Kentucky, spending quality time at the Hardscape North America trade show. Hardscape North America is becoming an ever-larger part of the EXPO each year, and will be offering great educational conferences along with an incredible array of exhibits.
Hardscape services can add revenue that can make a good year great, as well as adding value to the company while providing more opportunities for employees.
Key Take Aways
1. Be sure you can perform quality work in all services before adding hardscaping to the mix.
2. Consider the risks and rewards before moving forward.
3. Create a project plan, similar to your business plan, to carefully analyze the risk-reward.
4. Do your research and ask peers how they got started in hardscaping.