I’ve written more than 40 articles over the last eight years. Writing is my way to contribute to our industry’s growth, to help create an industry where truly “the more, the merrier.”

This article won’t teach you all there is to know about equipment, tooling, or chemicals. That’s why you join the Concrete Polishing Association of America (CPAA) or attend the World of Concrete. Instead, it’s designed to help you build your company’s foundation by successfully integrating equipment, tooling, and chemicals into your vision and making that vision profitable.

To improve your chances of success, you simply must keep your eyes and ears open to new ideas and points of view. Invest in yourself before investing in equipment.

Do not fear paying tuition (my term for making mistakes) as you or your employees grow your business. A failed project is an investment in learning and getting smarter. Twice for the same situation, though, and it’s time to become fearful. Though uncomfortable, that fear can be a very positive motivational force.

Does this sound familiar?

The designer looked at the floor, looked at the superintendent, shook her head, and then looked at me.

“What the heck were you thinking?” she asked. “You’ll get paid when this floor is done right.”

I shook my head, threw up my hands, and looked at the floor. I’d swear we did everything we’d agreed to.

I woke up soaking in sweat. “Never again,” I said to myself. “Never again.”

How many of you have had that dream or, worse, actually experienced the scenario?

I did. In fact, I lived both scenarios and they aren’t very much fun or encouraging. I lost my company because I lost my focus. I took my eyes off the ball and didn’t pay attention when I should have, where I should have, or on the necessary individuals. Bottom line: I messed up big time.

Let’s make sure you don’t.

Creating a strong foundation goes a long way toward building a resilient and sound company. But no matter how diligent you are, you can’t always control external forces that can keep you from being paid 100%, or being paid at all. What I hope to accomplish with this article is to teach you how to successfully get from the First Phase (the investigative phase) to the Fifth Phase (providing a maintenance program and getting paid), while minimizing hurdles along the way.

Five steps to greatest profitability

The First Phase defines that initial “aha” moment: the moment you first chose to bid a concrete polishing job, whether small or large. Your second “aha” moment is when you realized that putting down an acrylic sealer does not equate to delivering a true polished concrete floor.

In fact, from this moment on you no longer have the excuse of being naïve. To paraphrase the CPAA: To truly be polished concrete, the floor must be refined through a sequencing of bonded diamond abrasives in conjunction with the application of a chemical densifier/hardener.

How well you define the grinding and polishing stages goes a long way toward reaching the final phase: getting paid the full invoice amount.

Ongoing success is based on storing knowledge for your future use and the use of your employees and knowing how to access it. Polishing contractors who build a strong knowledge base via computers, books, and associations and continually update it become the go-to contractor for owners, architects, and general contractors.

Think of this article as the start of your reference library.