Opportunities abound in hardscaping—from residential pools, patios, floors, walkways, and concrete driveways to malls, event halls, waterfronts, sport courts, skate parks, theme parks, business parks, hotels, and hospitality. However, decorative concrete projects increasingly need to meet architectural design specifications or aesthetically match existing work.
Yet typical stamped concrete is not always up to the task, particularly when stamp quality is insufficient and training is limited to the usual one-day seminar provided by some stamping tool manufacturers.
“Starting with a quality stamp is crucial, and so is proper training,” says Darlene Rodriguez, co-owner of Patterned Concrete by Rey, a Plano, Texas-based full service provider of stamped concrete, resurfacing, overlays, staining, and scoring. “But many stamps look artificial, nothing like our rock, wood, or natural patterns that people want today. What’s more, every job is challenging due to differences in location, layout, and weather, as well as stamping pattern and stamping alignment used in the field.”
For contractors considering whether to work out of their trucks being the low-cost bidders or to become highly referred and compensated craftsmen, Rodriguez cautions, “If you sell only on price, anyone with a truck and some tools can replace you. If you sell top-notch quality with a trusted brand, your work will set the industry standard and the work will come to you.”
To grow their businesses and take advantage of hardscaping opportunities, proactive concrete contractors are turning to Patterned Concrete, a name familiar for decades and often used interchangeably—incorrectly so—with the generic term stamped concrete.
Patterned Concrete® is actually a registered name and trademarked brand of stamped concrete with industry expertise that goes back to 1972. The brand has expanded throughout North America and now includes franchisees in both the U.S. and Canada. Beyond stamped concrete, its franchisees get exclusive branding, marketing, training, tooling, and support for a competitive edge.
“The Patterned Concrete brand helps us win jobs because everyone knows the name,” says Rodriguez. “Architectural designers are increasingly specifying Patterned Concrete in their plans, which helps us to secure the work and outmaneuver low-cost bidders.”
Featured Image: Patterned Concrete stamps were used on a skate park.
Above: Example of a Patterned Concrete stamp used at a stadium.
Unlike typical soft rubber stamps in the industry that lack sufficient detail, Patterned Concrete stamps are imprinted from true pieces of stone and other natural materials to produce a textured, authentic look.
As such, the pattern for Old English Brick displays worn out identification stamps in the brick; Adoquin has a volcanic look with course ridges, chisel marks, and craters; and Board comes complete with nail holes. Some patterns, in fact, are deep enough to be grouted for an even more authentic look.
“Builders and stone masons have entered my Patterned Concrete showroom and tried to order pavers or stones, not knowing that our product is actually a trademarked, very aesthetic form of stamped concrete,” says Rodriguez. “It is nice to know that our product can pass the scrutiny of even some stone mason industry professionals.”
Because franchisees can rent stamps from Patterned Concrete corporate or any franchisee, they have full access to any style required without having to own every tool. Currently, the company offers over 30 unique styles in a number of sizes.
“The textures are seamless and we can give customers an authentic look in any style they want from wood, slate, and brick to cobblestone, herringbone, and random cut flag,” adds Dino Padula, a project manager at Patterned Concrete Mississauga Inc., a franchisee in Mississauga, Canada.
When the need arises, the company will even create new custom patterns at a reasonable cost. Though the stamps of franchisees are made with great attention to detail, they are also made to last. “I have been using my original Patterned Concrete stamps since 1992 and they are still performing well,” says Rodriguez.
Example of a brick pattern stamp by Patterned Concrete.
Though the typical one-day, stamped concrete class offered by stamp manufacturers may be enough to get a contractor started, it is just as likely to get him in trouble according to Rodriguez.
“One-day classes often teach you on a 10-foot by 10-foot slab,” says Rodriguez. “That’s easy—you just start in one corner and go. But when you work in a backyard, you’re dealing with variables like weather, timing, and backyard shape. That may include alcoves that require you to cut in the stamping work by hand.”
While Rodriguez and her husband had almost two decades of textured concrete pool deck experience before becoming franchisees, they found the Patterned Concrete training they received invaluable for developing their business.
According to Rodriguez, “We were trained for 4 months on the job by a neighboring franchisee before we went out on our own. Afterward, anytime we had a question we could call headquarters or a franchisee and someone had an answer.”
Because franchisees have exclusive territories and are routed sales leads, the relationship with other franchisees is cooperative rather than competitive.
After decades in the business, a highlight of the year for Rodriguez is the annual Patterned Concrete convention. There she and other franchisees learn the latest techniques, and share tried-and-true tips with each other. “As franchisees, we work as a team because the brand is stronger when we all succeed,” says Rodriguez.
Another advantage of working as a franchisee is that the corporate office tracks all jobs to ensure a consistent, quality match when future repair or renovation is required. Specs including footages, color, and pattern used on the project are logged into a central database at the company’s headquarters. This allows the franchisee to match previous work at any later time.
“Any contractor that wants to take their business to the next level should look into becoming a Patterned Concrete franchisee,” concludes Padula. “It is the best investment my partners and I have made.” ■
About The Author: Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, California. For more information about patterned concrete, call Patterned Concrete Industries, Ltd. in the USA at 800.252.4619, in Canada at 877.728.8266, or visit www.patternedconcrete.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions – March 2016
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