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Paving Companies – Expand Your Business with Hardscape

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As an established concrete contractor always looking for ways to increase your bottom line, you could be facing an opportune time to expand your offerings with concrete pavers and segmental retaining walls. From outdoor kitchens with all the amenities, to elaborate patio settings that resemble indoor gathering spaces, contractors who leverage their existing skills, tools, equipment, and resources to capitalize on this market stand to see a fruitful payoff as a result. Why consider adding pavers and walls to your offerings? Let’s dive in and explore the opportunities.

Homeowners Are Choosing Pavers Over Poured Concrete More Than Ever

According to market research company Grand View Research, the increased interest in pavers is expected to play a major role in contributing to the construction market over the next half-decade. In addition to this, the rising popularity of outdoor living spaces, which often entail outdoor kitchens, patios, fire pits, and other features, is also expected to bolster the demand for pavers as the foundation for entertaining and relaxing areas outside. Taking into account that half of the homeowners who renovated their homes in 2018 also chose to improve an outdoor space, and seeing as how the median expenditure on such projects was $5,000, the growth of this market would be tough for any concrete contractor who is looking to expand to ignore.

Part of the uptick could be due to more homeowners realizing the benefits of cooking and dining outside. Even before the Covid pandemic forced many to entertain outdoors, the concept of what qualifies as a satisfactory “outdoor kitchen” had already begun to evolve. According to a National Kitchen & Bath Association report, homeowners spend an average of about $13,000 on outdoor kitchen projects, and they have moved past the simplified combination of grill, patio, and picnic table to include amenities like built-in refrigerators, sinks, plumbing and drainage, bar areas, shelter/overhead structures, lighting and atmosphere controls, fire pits, fireplaces, patio heaters, and ovens. Nearly a quarter (22%) of homeowners who install them opt for a high-end kitchen in the $30,000+ budget range. While this explosion in outdoor cooking and dining demand can certainly be addressed through poured concrete applications, homeowners are increasingly looking for the high-end look of segmental walls and concrete pavers with the dynamic range of textures and colors they offer over poured and/or stamped concrete solutions.

Paver Benefits

Premium pavers give contractors the power to build long-lasting patios, walkways, and other outdoor living features for homeowners. When crafted with such products, these spaces can reflect optimum style while also giving both the builder and the owner complete peace of mind knowing the pavers are made of durable quality. If the earth beneath the pavers settles and moves, they adjust with it. This cuts down on cracks, which unfortunately eventually happen with poured and stamped concrete over time. Homeowners are also increasingly adverse to the expansion joints that necessarily run through stamped concrete flatwork.

Homeowners and contractors alike appreciate that even in the rare event that a paver needs replacing, it is not a complete do-over. Today’s concrete pavers are made with innovative technologies that resist stains and color fading. If damage occurs, just one paver could be removed and a new one put in its place.

For concrete contractors who pride themselves on bringing the best ideas and inspiration to their clients, pavers open up an array of incredible design opportunities. One quick look at Pinterest will show you literally hundreds of thousands of different creative and unique ideas for what you can build with these amazing hardscape elements. Consider Unilock Beacon Hill Flagstone pavers as the starting point for a poolscape and outdoor dining room patio. With the use of Mattoni accents in a darker tone, the two activity areas could be clearly delineated. The Unilock U-Cara Multi-Face Wall System offers a way to further set the outdoor living space. Other options for introducing beautiful textures and colors to a landscape include Bristol Valley, Copthorne, and Eco-Priora pavers from Unilock.

More Forgiving in Extreme Weather

As you are well aware, extreme temperature changes can cause poured concrete to expand and contract under the demands of the often repetitive freeze-thaw cycles, ultimately leading to cracking. Even with calculated measures and expansion joints, the reality is still the same.

Contrast those results with concrete pavers, where the pavers themselves are salt resistant and long-lasting, and the installation method allows for necessary flex during freeze-thaw cycles. As a general rule, once they are laid, compacted, and sanded, concrete pavers perform better in cold climates than poured concrete and stamped concrete surfaces. You can lay pavers in any moderate weather conditions, and they are more forgiving to lay in really hot weather than concrete. Pavers also maintain their color better over time, and come in a larger array of vibrant styles and textures.

Expand Your Company’s Opportunities

Bringing another skill set into your operation could be lucrative. It can greatly enhance your offerings and the ideas you can present to homeowners or commercial property owners. You are already building hardscapes and landscapes but may be losing bids where the customer wants to use segmental retaining wall and concrete pavers. Hardscape contractors who have made the expansion did so to increase revenue and to open themselves to productive growth in the years to come.

Earn More Per Square Foot

On average, you earn more for laying a paver patio than you do for pouring a concrete one. The reported net profit margin for concrete companies in 2020 was 2.21%. When you compare this to the 2%-10% (more like 10%-20% for companies with the resources to decrease waste and operate more efficiently) commanded in the landscape industry, the argument for expansion into concrete pavers is a compelling one.

The truth is that pavers often command a higher price point than poured concrete in many markets. Though building pavers and walls out of such materials is a different (and somewhat complicated) process than pouring them, the increased payout for the work makes it worthwhile. This is especially true when you take into account recent hardscape technological advances. One example is the Unilock U-Cara product line. Utilizing a patented wall system of backer blocks and fascia panels, it takes what used to be a complicated, labor-intensive affair and turns it into a streamlined, intuitive process. Using a variety of color and texture combinations to construct pillars, grill islands, water/fire features, planters, and walls has never been so efficient.

Overcome Permeability Limitations

Permeable pavers like Unilock Thornbury or Town Hall offer expanding concrete companies the opportunity to appeal more to the style sensibilities of homeowners while still driving their bottom line. A popular alternative to poured concrete or asphalt, permeable pavers are used for driveways, patios, walkways, and municipal spaces where non-permeable lot coverage is restricted. Designed to allow wastewater to flow through the joints between them and down into the earth below, they’re eco-friendly, hold up brilliantly to adverse weather conditions, and still retain their refined, textured surface even after years of use.

While porous concrete and asphalt offer some permeability advantages not offered by traditional versions of these materials, they come with some pretty significant downsides as well. Their porosity is relatively short-lived when compared to permeable pavers, and they’re also quite expensive. Building hardscapes with Unilock permeable pavers puts your business into a position to rise above the competition, placing you into a bracket that concrete companies that restrict their focus will have a harder time competing with. Benefit From the Expanding Hardscape Market

The hardscape industry is growing. The U.S. landscape industry is valued at $81 billion in total revenue per year. The U.S. commercial concrete pavers market is also expected to grow over the coming decade. This growth is driven by rising expenditures on interior and exterior construction projects. The demand for these products is also being driven by their many benefits, including their superior strength, simplicity of use, variety of product offerings, and reasonable price point.

Many communities are seeing hardscape companies scheduled out six months or more. This is due to the growth of the field (which averages 3.3% growth per year) and the labor shortage currently being faced by the industry. This puts concrete companies that want to build outdoor living spaces out of pavers at a distinct advantage.

Utilize Dynamic Training and Support Tools to Get Started

Unilock offers a Training & Education Center to help concrete contractors learn the art of concrete pavers. U-TEC certificate courses use multimedia and cover a variety of topic areas to level up contractors’ skills and get them the certification they need to advance their business. Learn about basic installation and design, and build on these basics with accredited, professional courses for architects and engineers.

Unilock also publishes training materials available for free on our YouTube channel and blog. We’re deeply committed to seeing hardscape contractors succeed, and believe that craftsmen in many different fields could stand to build a much better foothold in the industry by breaking into the more technical parts of the landscape sector.

We also offer boots-on-the-ground support for contractors who use Unilock products to build their hardscapes, in the form of our expert Territory Managers. Our TMs provide:

  • Vital field support for contractors
  • Product samples and sample deliveries
  • Sales support and training
  • Installation guidance and troubleshooting
  • Uvision 3D Landscape Creator support

Exercise Greater Creative Control Over Projects

Gaining access to such a wide array of different types of hardscape products bolsters your concrete company’s ability to offer a variety of textures, colors, and outdoor living space elements that previously wouldn’t have been accessible.

This gives you more power over the creative elements of your craft. Utilize Uvision 3D Landscape Creator to plot out beautiful outdoor living spaces. Introduce more creative options to your portfolio and reduce maintenance calls by opting to construct the kind of hardscape elements that will drive up the value of your projects and increase your bottom line.

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