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Are the surfaces you created being properly maintained? The answer can mean the difference betweeen a turn on or a turn off.

by Lindy Ausburne, Jan-7-2012

All decorative concrete surfaces, interior and exterior, require proper cleaning and maintenance.  At least 70% of the time residential and commercial property owners are negligent as to following guidelines they are provided (be it the cleaners they are using, frequency, or cleaning methods)…  resulting in surfaces losing their luster, becoming stained or discolored, or worse yet degrading.  Generally speaking, they don’t look in a mirror in order to see that they are not a victim, they are the perpetrator; instead they seek to blame either the materials used or the contractors’ workmanship. Regardless of who is to blame, everyone that sees the surface will have an unjustified tarnished image in relation to the lasting beauty and overall survival rate of hardscape creations. 

References where interested people can see our work (such as public accessible commercial locations) are an important asset, equal to the referrals and customer satisfaction testimonials (be they private/residential or commercial application).  How many times have you provided potential customers with places that they could see examples of your creativity and attention to detail, with a little voice in the back of your mind thinking “I hope it is clean and still looks good” (since you had not seen it in months, or perhaps years) … its possible it has not been cleaned or maintained properly over time, becoming a negative in lieu of a positive in regards to closing a sale.

Who has the necessary knowledge, proprietary materials, and experience to protect and shield their investment, assuring the maximum rate of longevity, lasting beauty, and “survival?” … “you” do. Many commercial properties have a janitorial service clean and maintain their floors who are clueless about the materials used and care required …with residential homeowners have maid services that have even less insights … ergo: the surfaces you created are not being treated in a manner that insure that they endure.

Take matters into your own hands, while increasing your revenue … when you complete a job, offer a “cleaning and maintenance service” (weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually), tying it into your warranty. In other words, a janitorial/maid service for maintaining interior and exterior services (mopping or scrubbing with appropriate cleaners that don’t leave a soap film build up, waxing if/when deemed necessary, cleaning and power washing exterior surfaces, etc.).  If you are thinking, I have better used of my time than these mundane tasks than ask yourself “do I want my indoor floors and exterior surfaces” to continue to serve as showcases that spotlight my decorative concrete professionalism, or do I want them slowly destroyed due to negligence?”  Of course, you could hire and train individuals to do so, paying them a percentage out of every surface they clean; if actual resealing or repairs were needed they would see them, reporting back to you, at which time you could address them with the property owner … college kids needed extra money work out great for this sort of thing or those needing part time work (pay them a contracted amount by the sq.ft., NOT by the hour). 

You will find that a large percentage of residential and commercial property owners will be open to your cleaning and maintenance service (be it weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) in order to protect their investment (especially those that use private janitorial companies and maids).  This will guarantee you a monthly income, due to scheduled cleaning appointments … those that have swimming pools have a “pool maintenance service” because they either don’t want to go through the effort of cleaning the pool itself as well as to keep their water properly balanced, with them referring to the person doing so as “their pool man” … well, you are capable of being there “decorative concrete” pro in the same way.

At the point of sale, offer your customers a choice of warranties, either standard 1 year, “or” 5 to 10 years, if they opt to have their interior or exterior surfaces cleaned and maintained by you on a pre-scheduled basis for a certain amount each year, with resealing and repairs during this time being an added charge.    

 

Lindy Ausburne

Decorative Concrete Forums Contributor  Writer