Concrete polishing is a relatively recent trend in flooring that continually attracts people who are looking for a practical, beautiful and sustainable way to decorate their homes and businesses. Here are some things to keep in mind as you consider this potential new revenue stream for your equipment rental business.
Concrete polishing machines are usually large, cumbersome units that require hundreds to thousands of dollars worth of diamond tooling in order to achieve best results. Because of this, seasoned concrete polishing contractors are likely to own their own equipment, renting only occasionally from very specific suppliers.
“Not all polishing projects are large in size,” notes Dennis Von Ruden with General Equipment. “Polishing a ground-level patio area or even a garage floor is becoming a popular choice. It may not be cost effective for a professional contractor to get involved because the size and power complexity of his equipment might not allow him to be profitable. Here is where an equipment rental dealer can satisfy the demand of a niche market by having the proper-sized polishing equipment available.”
As noted, one of the challenges facing homeowners and small contractors who wish to rent concrete polishing equipment is the power requirements. According to Chris Lavin of Xtreme Polishing, a company which offers training, equipment and materials to contractors and rental businesses aiming to break into the concrete polishing market, large, professional machines normally require 480-volt power, which is not usually available in the typical two- or three-stall garage. To overcome this obstacle, his company has introduced the Concrete Genie, a program that includes a floor prep and polishing machine that runs off single-phase, 220-volt power by hooking up to a dryer outlet or a 30-amp breaker. “As long as the operator follows the proper steps, they should achieve good results,” Lavin says.
“If the emerging customer base is small contractor or homeowner oriented, it will be critical to have equipment available that meets their transport, operational and power requirements,” adds Von Ruden. “If the equipment is simply too heavy and complex for a customer to transport and then operate, it will become difficult to achieve any financial success renting it.”
In response to this challenge, General Equipment developed the ProPolish system which utilizes popular low-speed, surface grinding equipment commonly found in the rental industry. According to Von Ruden, it delivers productive, professional-looking results, but is simple and easy to use by small contractors and homeowners alike. “It also has an initial purchase cost that will allow the average rental dealer to develop a local market demand without risking substantial capitalization on a relatively new and niche process,” he says.
“What our company developed is an attachment that increases utilization rates for the surface grinder,” Von Ruden explains. “There’s no need to be a seasoned contractor or even a rocket scientist. It may not be as fast as the larger, more complicated professional equipment, but it still produces excellent results.”
It’s important to keep in mind that small contractors and homeowners renting polishing equipment will be very dependent upon their rental dealer for the stains, hardeners and other consumables their projects require and they will expect the rental dealer to have the necessary expertise. “The biggest key to concrete polishing is having the right diamond tooling,” Lavin says, noting that Xtreme can offer the tools for use on the floor prep machines most rental businesses already have in their inventory. “Rental centers are ready for this. They just need to be taken through the process so they can instruct customers.”
Von Ruden concludes, “A proactive rental dealer is always searching to provide new solutions to customer problems. That includes a determination of how popular polishing is or will become within a specific trade territory. What is the potential for polishing? Who will be doing it? What will be required for them to be successful? Can I make money being a resource and providing solutions? These are the tough questions that every proactive rental dealer should be asking before any decision is made.”