It would be nice if there was a magic marketing bullet you could use to ensure that your company would have work when the construction market is declining. But when fewer dollars are being spent in an industry, competition gets much more intense. Here is one suggestion though: Work on the quality and craftsmanship of your installations.

Joe Nasvik
Joe Nasvik

An acquaintance recently decided to add a concrete driveway to the new home he is building for his family. He decided against asphalt and he let his fingers do the walking in the Yellow Pages. One concrete contractor impressed him with his low price and he said he would do the job right away. So he gave him the go-ahead. The contractor noticed right away that there was minimal pitch available for the driveway and made the homeowner aware of it and said he would work it out. The forms went in on an afternoon and the concrete came the following morning.

However, things got tricky. There was no compaction of base material and no isolation material between the foundation around the elevated entry landing area at the entrance to the home. Hand-grooved joints were added during the finishing process but they were only ½-inch deep, not the depth required to encourage cracking due to shrinkage. The elevation of the driveway was the same as the garage floor where they came together. The general pitch of the driveway, where it existed, was on the order of 1/16-inch to the foot or less. When a spring shower passed through the area a couple days later, the owner opened his garage door to find a pool of water. Then it was learned that the driveway actually was pitched toward the garage for the first 10 feet or so.

There can't be any happy outcomes in a situation like this. The homeowner is stuck with a bad situation and will never recommend the contractor to anyone. Word-of-mouth marketing will all be to avoid this contractor. It also will be worse next spring when subgrade settlement and freeze/thaw movement take their toll. If the concrete was placed with too much water, which often happens in a residential setting, there could be some spalling and scaling as well. The issues presented by this job are more technical than most driveway situations so they require more thorough, careful form work, and more precision when the concrete is struck off and finished. You don't normally think of this as part of a company's marketing program. But it is. This contractor can't count on his past work to carry him forward.

A company marketing program has to be built on good craftsmanship and durable concrete construction. Then figure out how to use that to sell work.