Has this ever happened to you....

Todd Rose (01-20-2012)

I was recently asked about where my passion to help other contractors comes from.  I know exactly where it comes from.  I love this industry, the skills I have learned, and most importantly the friendships I have made.  I also resent in many ways the things that go on in our industry- mainly the way some manufacturers and reps have over promised and undelivered the products and the amount of money you can make so easily.  The following is just one examples of what I experienced my first few months in the decorative concrete industry as a new contractor.

12 years ago or so I sold a simple spray knock down job on a driveway that had no pattern and was just one color.  Back then you made your own mixes and added polymer, water, and color.  I was careful about adding the same amount of color to each bucket.  Well, as many of you can probably imagine where this is going, once I sealed the job it appeared blotchy in color from bucket to bucket.

I called my rep at the time and he said, “ don’t ever sell a job with just one color without a taped out pattern or breaking up the pattern with some kind of band or border to avoid seeing the blotchiness.  I do admit that faintly remember something like this being discussed in my “extensive” one and a half day training.  What I did or didn’t do or what my rep said to this point is not what I have a problem with.  It is what happened next or better said what didn’t happen that caused me so much grief and was the catalyst to buying my first scarifier.  The reason to buy that scarifier being to tear out one of my first paying jobs.

This is where the problem is and what drives me to prevent this from happening to any contractor- after the installation and my rep saying to never sell a job like that again.  I asked, “well, what do I do now”.  My rep told me to seal the drive again and immediately seed the fresh sealer with sand until it will not take anymore sand……and then basically start the job over and put in a taped pattern to break up the color from being blotchy.  I did as I was told and within ten days the overlay began delaminating.  I was in deep trouble.

I try and approach decorative concrete with the attitude of constantly being aware of what I don’t know.  During this absurd experience I had asked my rep if I could just go to XYZ Corporation and buy their pigmented sealer so the driveway would be a solid color, therefore eliminating my problem.  My rep told me, “ no, that XYZ’s pigmented sealer is not compatible with our products”.  The issue here is that he lied, plain and simple.  See the company he was a distributor/trained for didn’t have a pigmented sealer.  He feared telling me how to honestly and easily fix this problem.  I trusted my rep.  I was unaware of what I did not know.

Was this experience my fault?  Of course it was.  I accepted responsibility, bought a scarifier, removed the overlay, and started over with another manufacturer that had a pigmented sealer. Be aware of what you do not know.  Go to multiple trainings, use the internet daily to learn, and build yourself a team of experts that know what you do not know.