Profiting from Pavers
Why do some mason contractors shy away from doing pavers? According to Beau Felux, central regional manager for Pavestone Company, Grapevine, Texas, "The primary reason that masons shy away from pave stone installation is that they have a different mindset. Masons are very meticulous; they talk in terms of 300-500 sq. ft. of production per day, not thousands of sq. ft. per day. They have not been exposed to screeding sand and placing base materials and the resultant handling of tons of sand, base and pavers per day. Masonry installation usually requires a more experienced crew and a higher hourly rate of pay than typical paver crews. And masons have not had the opportunity to understand the nature of interlocking concrete pave stones, their cost-effectiveness, speed of installation and low maintenance requirements."
So what is the solution? Felux suggests that contractors should become comfortable with the available materials in the paver catalog. He offers, "There are many benefits of the interlocking concrete pave stones. Professional training and certification is available through the ICPI (Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, Washington, D.C.) and generally sponsored by manufacturers. We also offer a training program on business opportunities that introduce contractors to the industry and train them to be successful at estimating and installing pavers. We believe the more knowledgeable the contractor is about the industry, the more he will be successful. Ultimately, if the contractor is strong and successful, the more successful we will be as a company."
There are cost-savings for both the contractor and the project owner, says Felux. "An installer can increase profit margins by utilizing a crew consisting of one lead foreman and the remaining crew members can be general laborers, as opposed to needing more higher-cost skilled labor typically used for the installation of masonry products. Additionally, since the pavers are set in a bed of sand, they are flexible. They can move and flex with the earth, requiring less maintenance than cast-in-place concrete, stamped concrete or other mortared systems. Since pave stones do not require mortar, they do not need time to cure. Installation is much faster and easier. Pave stones have a lower lifecycle cost than traditional pavement methods and also have ecological benefits."
So how can a mason contractor keep up with the newest/latest creations in the paver world? Felux points to the way his company approaches this by saying, "Pavestone has a large force of sales and technical representatives. They can provide new product literature, physical product samples, and technical assistance. The Pavestone web site has all products, colors and textures available online as well as technical specifications. Additionally, our 17 manufacturing locations across the U.S. hold a product and technical demonstration each Spring to introduce contractors, specifiers and end-users to new products. We also host paver and segmental retaining wall training seminars throughout the year."
According to Felux, "Pavestone is the industry leader in providing the greatest variety of shapes, colors and textures in concrete pavers. The product variety is similar to an artist's pallet, delivering unlimited creative options for decorative and durable pavements."
About the Author
Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at www.masonrymagazine.com.