The value added prospect of decorative concrete is unique for the contractor. It relies heavily on the margin between the extra time and material expense and the customer’s higher perceived value of the finished product.  This difference represents the additional potential earnings for the contractor, versus traditional, non-decorative concrete work.

Non-decorative and non-specialized concrete work is treated like a commodity with low price being the prime selling point. Margins, after material and labor, could be as low as a few cents per square foot. Photo by Michael Coghlan via Flikr.

Non-decorative and non-specialized concrete work is treated like a commodity with low price being the prime selling point. Margins, after material and labor, could be as low as a few cents per square foot. Photo by Michael Coghlan via Flikr.

The Costs

First, examine the additional cost that goes into decorative concrete. An eye for detail and drive for perfection is necessary to make the most of decorative concrete. A decorative concrete contractor must be willing to put in additional time, effort, and labor. Even minor blemishes are amplified by the aesthetic-driven nature of decorative concrete, so extra care must be taken. Additionally, there are extra material costs to consider in every job.

Decorative techniques such as stamping can be well worth the additional cost in labor and materials. Always remember, however, that an added attention to detail is needed. Shoddy work will negatively impact your earning potential. If you don't aren't ready to put forth the additional effort, consider something else.  

Decorative techniques such as stamping can be well worth the additional cost in labor and materials. Always remember, however, that an added attention to detail is needed. Shoddy work will negatively impact your earning potential. If you don't aren't ready to put forth the additional effort, consider something else.  

The Return

Decorative jobs can easily double, triple, or even quadruple the price you can ask with comparatively minor increases in labor and materials (note: average costs vary based on region and services rendered; material costs vary based on region, ready mix producer, and retailer). This means you can earn the same amount while working less, or earn more while working the same amount. This maximizes your earning potential.

How It Works

How is this possible? Simply put, decorative concrete has a higher perceived value to the end user. There are few intrinsic changes in the performance characteristics of the concrete, but consumers are willing to pay more because the product appeals on a more emotional level. They perceive a higher value because it has an improved aesthetic.  Consider decorative concrete as a luxury item. Much like a designer watch or luxury car, decorative concrete does roughly the same job as the more utilitarian alternative. It offers little, if any, additional utility. It does, however, have a luxury value that propels it far beyond regular concrete.

When properlyplaced with care, even subtle decorative touches can significantly improve the value of a concrete placement. With appropriate marketing and the right customer, this can significantly improve earning potential. Photo courtesy of Power Concrete Construction.

When properlyplaced with care, even subtle decorative touches can significantly improve the value of a concrete placement. With appropriate marketing and the right customer, this can significantly improve earning potential. Photo courtesy of Power Concrete Construction.

Make It Work For You

To make that added value work, you need to know your product and know your market. You will not be able to cash in on the potential perceived value if your targeted customers do not recognize that value. Find the clients that will value the additional materials, effort, and creativity it takes to master decorative concrete. When you reach out to them, present decorative concrete as the premium, luxury upgrade to standard concrete.