Rather than demolishing and replacing existing concrete floors, many decorative concrete contractors turn to overlays for solutions. However, says business developer Alexander Lorenz, there’s a better way to remedy the situation and achieve longer-lasting results. Namely, transform and restore the integrity of the concrete that already exists.
The founder and CEO of RenuKrete, a concrete franchising and restoration company based in Bridgewater, New Jersey, Lorenz is the originator of RenuKrete Engineered Concrete Flooring (ECF). RenuKrete ECF is a system that brings new life, safety and durability to existing concrete decks and floors. These include floors with cracks, stains or other blemishes, or are just unsightly.
Opposite of an overlay
Largely a mechanical process that’s custom crafted via proprietary technologies, the ECF system addresses structural concrete issues and repairs. Unlike concrete overlays which can peel and chip in short time, RenuKrete ECF restores the integrity of the existing slab. It beautifies it by creating the look of natural flagstone, slate, tile or hardwood. The system aims to meet the customers’ design sensibilities, indoors and outdoors.
When it’s freezing in the winter, moisture can get underneath an overlayment in the outdoors, Lorenz explains. “And once it cracks and peels you have to start all over again.” This is especially true, he adds, with outdoor installations in the northern reaches of the United States.
“We do the opposite of overlays,” Lorenz says. Instead of adding a layer to the surface, “We go into the concrete and give the existing slab new life.”
The process is not unlike what artisans in Rome did some 2,000 years ago when they chiseled away at boulders and transformed them into statues. “That’s what we do with concrete,” he says. “We make it look and feel like natural stone in color and texture.”
On solid business footing
“Nobody does what RenuKrete can do,” says Lorenz, who has a background in engineering, technology and business. “We are offering the concrete flooring industry a unique solution and an investment opportunity.” Presently franchise opportunities are available in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and selected states first in the northeast, before rolling out opportunities throughout the country.
Aside from the proprietary technology, products and equipment, RenuKrete offers its franchisees a solid, proven business plan.
“Just as important to success as technology and materials is how you run the business. How you get customers and make them happy. How you organize crews so you can run a profitable operation,” Lorenz says. “Only a business with a solid plan to sustain its profitability can make its employees, customers, vendors and owners happy.”
Franchise owners’ relationships with RenuKrete begin with at least a week of training. Then they are embedded into one of Lorenz’s crews to learn firsthand how the system operates.
From there, RenuKrete continues to support its entrepreneurs through the company’s call center. An experienced customer service team fields incoming calls and funnels prequalified leads to the franchise serving that area. In addition, a specially developed mobile app serves as a personal assistant. It helps with everything from driving directions and tracking job progress to sending out quotes and providing key analytics.
“Franchise owners don’t have to reinvent the wheel to operate. We’ve got all that figured out for them,” Lorenz says, including the all-important customer acquisition. “Basically we supply all the things needed for a successful business. Franchises are up and running very quickly.”
Lorenz says that RenuKrete is a very hands-on organization that knows the ropes. “I must talk to 250 customers in person each year and visit countless of our job sites. That firsthand knowledge bleeds into every aspect of our company.” With a gross profit margin of 85%, he adds, his is a proven business system and has been for many years.
A new look for concrete indoors and outdoors
Although RenuKrete is most popular for both residential and commercial pool decks and patios, it can also be used indoors. Finished basements, apartment building hallways and lobbies, offices, places of worship, retail space and showrooms are among the types of clients who’ve received a RenuKrete makeover.
Indoors in the basement, most RenuKrete customers prefer their concrete slab to resemble either ceramic tile or hardwood planks. Outdoors, they lean toward the flagstone or slate look for concrete pool decks, as well as patios and walkways.
In addition to sculpting a surface to achieve a new look, the RenuKrete system can also incorporate dyes for a color change. And with indoor and outdoor flexibility, franchise owners can continue working year-round.
“We are offering interested decorative concrete contractors a business opportunity with a unique level of protection,” Lorenz says. “The way I look at it, we put everything together in a kit for our franchise owners. They don’t have to figure out what products they need or how they should proceed. The table is already set. All they have to do is go out there and start making money.”
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