When I started my business, I knew that my core work would come from colored and stamped exterior paving, interior colored concrete flooring, and concrete countertops, as well as some decorative restoration work. After the first year, by April 2003, I was already getting calls from a few clients asking if I would come out and take a look at the work that I did the prior year. At first, I viewed these calls as a nuisance, and was concerned that they would eat up a lot of my valuable time … so I was not open to the possibilities that were unfolding.
In some cases, people were in fact looking to get a free application of sealer on their driveway, or a buff and wax on an interior floor within the warranty period of our work. However most were just interested in protecting the investment that they made, and wanted our help to ensure that the right products and procedures were in place, which put my company in a perfect position to capture an ongoing annuity from each job that we were installing.
Today, we include maintenance programs right in with our bids for new work, tailored to the application and client. This allows the client to know up front what we suggest for the product that we have created for them. This is great information for commercial clients that need to understand life-cycle cost and annual budgets.
To make all of this work financially, we start early in March setting up schedules for our exterior projects. We schedule maintenance in ways that are the most efficient for our crews based on gaps in their workloads and location within our market. Our clients generally agree to a framework of time instead of scheduling a specific day, so this work does not get in the way of our core business. I learned early on that it could be a real mess to have to pull a valuable technician from a large pour to go out and wash and seal a patio, so having flexibility with our customers and our schedule is very important.
In the winter months, we actively look for interior floor and countertop projects, to provide any type of maintenance work that may be needed. The toughest jobs for us are commercial spaces like grocery stores, where we may have to work at night, or restaurants where the logistics of getting in and moving tables and chairs to just get at the work becomes a challenge.
In summary, I think that maintenance work can be a great source of revenue if you take charge of how you offer and perform the work. A great side benefit is that it really helps our projects look great over time, which is huge for referrals and new prospects that want to see our work.