May 7, 2010

Paver Repair or Paver Installations ?

After 27 years in the interlocking brick paver and modular retaining wall industry, I have finally fine tuned the paver services that best fit my paver expertise and customer needs. So it begs the question, Do I perform paver repair or paver installations?

The largest customer need in this maturing brick paver industry is the need for brick paver repair, cleaning, sealing, replacement, and on going paver maintenanceBrick Doctor Bill's main focus is the fore mentioned customer needs. Ed Bryant, the owner of Unilock, Inc. told me 12 years ago that a maturing brick paver and retaining wall market will have a tremendous need for paver repair and maintenance services, much like, the maturing markets of wooden decks and cement work.

When the new housing market was booming, most of us brick paver contractors turned all our efforts & resources to installing paver patios, walkways, driveways, retaining walls, etc... at a tremendous rate.  All to often, the past customer needs for touch-ups or paver maintenance services where put off in an untimely manner or ignored by most brick paver contractors. I fear that when the housing market improves, that this much need niche will be ignored again.

Brick Doctor Bill is centered around the paver repair, replacement, clean & seal, and maintenance service that most customers desperately seek. This has been the fine tuning of my brick paver services the past 3 years.  It takes a brick paver expert & specialist to perform these services using updated & quality techniques that the prior brick paver contractor may have missed.  All paver repairs are NOT the result of poor paver installations.

Every day I am tempted with brick paver installation calls and requests.  It is very hard not to be tempted by doing a $10,000 installation job over a series of $500 paver repair jobs.  But I have to admit that the paver repair work is very rewarding for both the customer and myself.  When you install a larger paver patio in Ann Arbor, the anxiety of both customer (cost) and brick paver contractor (time & performance) can get the best of both of them.  I would briefly estimate in the past that about 20% of the time both the customer & contractor did not feel completely rewarded at the end of the paver project.  My experience with the paver repair business has been pretty much 100% customer & contractor satisfaction.

Due to the high demand for my paver installation services, I have limited the number of paver installations I perform in a year.  A brick paver installation that I will perform must be a good fit for both the customer and my business.

The most important aspect in a brick paver installation is to best meet the customer's needs & objectives. I must have a feel that this is a very necessary and functional need for the client and it is not "breaking the bank" because they must have.  Next, I must have some flexible control over the needed paver design to insure the proper use of interlocking pavers and modular retaining walls for long-term success & beauty!  Finally, I must be able to meet an acceptable time frame so that the customer needs will be met.  I am very upfront at the beginning about my schedule and expected time frame of starting.  These current parameters have made the limited number of paver installations I perform each year more rewarding for both the customer and myself.

One example of a brick paver installation request that I will not do and I get several times a year is "I need to fill this area in because I can not get grass to grow there!".  Brick Pavers is one of the more expensive pavements to install. Most often I  just instruct them to install mulch or stone mulch. Everyone wants brick pavers! but when the cost out weighs the benefits, it makes no sense to have them installed.

I also want to state that when it comes to Brick Doctor Bill selecting and performing brick paver or retaining wall installations, I do NOT just select "large" projects (over $10,000). In fact, I usually prefer mid-size (under $10,000) to small projects (as low as $500). Large paver projects tie up too much time & resources. Mid- size paver projects can be rewarding if both client and paver contractor are on the same page and function and beauty is at the top of that page.

The most rewarding work is the small paver or wall projects that range from $500 to $3,000. Much like my paver repair services, these seem to be the most satisfying for both the client and myself.  Usually a small project meets an immediate need and does not "break the bank" and I am easily able to complete this brick paver service in a timely manner.

So, when I am asked what type of work Brick Doctor Bill performs? My answer is the type of brick paver services that will best meet a customer's need and best fits the brick paver expertise I offer.  I continue with paver repair services and limited paver installations because it is a business model that works for Brick Doctor Bill and his clients!