Neil rents all of the equipment he needs including the cranes required for loading and unloading. If he is working on a tall sculpture he will also rent a lift so he can reach the top of the sculpture to add the stucco and paint.
The importance of marketing
Like many contractors, Neil knows the importance of getting his name out there. Neil says the Internet is a huge part of his business. Aside from his website, www.tjneil.com, he also has several pictures and articles on sites such as CNN and Google. Neil has also created a few YouTube videos to get his business and sculptures out to the general public.
He is also the author of two books on concrete sculpting, one he says is for beginners and the other geared more toward contractors with concrete experience. And Neil isn't shy when it comes to talking to other contractors interested in concrete sculpting. In fact, Neil encourages contractors to call him with questions. "People call me all the time for advice, and I answer all of their questions," Neil says.
Neil is an established name in the concrete sculpting business, but he isn't afraid of a little competition. In fact, he welcomes it. "I encourage people to do this type of work," he says. But if a contractor is going to get into concrete sculpting, Neil has some advice. First, do your research. Neil says to read books, watch videos, search the Internet and any other type of research you can find. Then, maybe do some test sculptures before you start doing full scale ones for customers. "There's no magic here. You have to try things yourself to accomplish and learn them yourself," Neil says.
Concrete sculpting can be a very creative field, and the concrete artisans involved are only limited by their imaginations. With that said, Neil reminds us that it is a business and the customer always comes first. "You need to do what the customer wants," Neil says. Even if it is something you wouldn't necessarily choose to do on your own or in a certain way.
Like many decorative concrete contractors, Neil has done a few sculptures he didn't necessarily like, but in the end he loves his work and his reputation as the Concrete Sculptor.