The two owners offer a couple of other tips. Fouts’ store offers rental kits to customers looking to enhance a garage or basement floor. The kit includes a vacuum, diamond tooling, a polisher, and, if necessary, a generator. The store offers a similar kit for contractors, but sells them diamond tooling instead of renting it because their equipment gets more use. He notes that decorative concrete countertops are also gaining in popularity, creating a market for smaller polishers.
Branch often packages together products and rental sales. If customers buy colors and sealer from the store, they will get a discount on equipment rental. “This is one way to combat big box and Internet sales,” says Branch. “We’ve also transitioned to selling powered color. Liquid color just seemed to get a little messy. Now, by stocking only six different base colors in 10-pound bags, we can offer customers 24 different colors.”
It always pays to know who your best customers are. Fouts, for example, notes that finish carpenters and painters, those contractors who are exceptional at detail work, could become your next decorative concrete customer. It’s not always the concrete contractor who comes through your door looking for products and solutions.
Whoever walks through your door – general contractor or concrete contractor, finish carpenter or painter, even a DIYer – they need to know you’re in the business of renting equipment and selling products to the decorative concrete market. Just like renting a cut-off saw, pole pruner, trailer or other more traditional rental equipment, upfront instruction is a requisite. But so to is having the knowledge base to help customers turn ordinary cement into decorative concrete opportunities.
Based in Neenah, Wis., Rod Dickens is a freelance writer specializing in the construction industry.