In 1991, a group of concrete contractors and ready mix producers in Kansas City, Mo., began to offer warranties on concrete driveways as a value-added product to homeowners. The group named its product "Blue Ribbon Driveways" and stood behind its materials and workmanship with a five-year limited warranty. The success of the warranty concept in this and other individual local programs has led to a national Blue Ribbon Driveway program. Started in 1994, the program encourages residential concrete contractors to use a potent marketing tool: warranties for driveways. Those who have embraced the program speak enthus- iastically about the positive effect it has on quality and profits.

The goal of the Blue Ribbon Driveway program is to increase concrete driveway quality and concrete's market share. The program establishes strict standards for mix design, placement proce- dures, and training to ensure that homeowners get high-quality concrete driveways. To become members of the Blue Ribbon driveway program, concrete contractors and ready mixed concrete suppliers sign an agreement with their local sponsor. This entitles them to promote and install Blue Ribbon Driveways and use the Blue Ribbon Driveway marketing tools. The heart of the program, however, is the Blue Ribbon Driveway warranty offered guaranteeing that a new concrete driveway will be free of major cracking and spalling for five years.