Imprinting of concrete surfaces was pioneered by a Palo Alto, California company, Bomanite Corporation, that not only manufactured the tools but established reliable procedures, franchised contractors with exclusive territories, trained them in the special operations needed, and provided them with continuing services. John M. Wilcox, president of Bomanite Corporation, was recently asked about his company.

Q. So our readers will understand the product, could you explain the basics of pattern-stamped or imprinted concrete? A. Essentially, imprinted concrete is a cast-in-place concrete slab which has been colored and imprinted with a pattern. It utilizes the characteristics of concrete that make it a sculptor's material. The designer can choose from a great variety of patterns, colors and textures, so that each project can have custom-designed architectural paving or flooring economically. Imprinted concrete usually costs only 50 to 70 percent of the cost of conventional brick or tile on a concrete sub-slab. It usually costs between two and three times the cost of a plain gray concrete slab.

Q. Why did you choose franchising? A. We considered several business plans, and franchising was the one which made the most sense. One of the most important reasons was that doing imprinting work successfully requires extensive training, technical service and quality control. We chose to form an ongoing close relationship with each contractor so that there would be strong national control over the quality of the end product. Another reason was because franchising would provide active local sales promotion work in each area to architects, landscape architects, homebuilders and developers. A common misconception about our product is that it must be easy to sell in large quantities. First exposure to our product generates a lot of enthusiasm, but experience has proven that it takes a long time and a lot of continuing and expensive sales work to develop much volume.