It's 5:30am. Most people are still sound asleep. If you are the go-getter type you might be begrudgingly brewing your coffee in the dark. Frank Guzman is mixing his second ton of concrete for the day. Frank is no stranger to early mornings like this. He has been pouring concrete in Dallas since 1995 and in late 2015 decided it was time to take the reigns of his own operation and started Concrete King. Having worked mostly on large commercial projects for years, Frank was looking to build a business that focused on people.
"The commercial jobs paid more, but we would do two or three a year and just interact with corporate types. Now that we focus on residential concrete we get to see a project through from start finish and really be a part of the customer's experience. It's a lot more fun."
Concrete or Asphalt?
We asked Frank why he was focusing mainly on concrete driveways instead of some of the alternatives.
"It really comes down to the market. We work in Dallas and concrete is more popular in urban areas."
We did some research which involved driving to a Chic-Fil-A and noticed the driveways in the neighborhoods on the way. Through rigorous scientific observation we noticed that, yes, most driveways in Dallas are concrete.
"I wanted to focus my business on what my customers wanted and get really good at that one thing."
That makes total sense and we thought it was such a great move we wanted to get to know Frank and Concrete King a little better in this edition of the Dallas Metro Review.
Why are concrete driveways more popular in urban areas?
It really all comes down to cost. It's cheaper to get the materials for asphalt out in the country. Then there's durability. On average you're going to see more traffic in urban areas and concrete is more durable to stand up to that traffic. Asphalt is softer.
Why did you want to start your own business?
Like a lot of entrepreneurs I had reached a point working for somebody else where I was bringing more value to the table than my employer was willing to pay. I had years of experience planning and managing projects, purchasing, inventory, hiring and firing and that was after almost a decade of being a concrete laborer. I figured it would be easy to take those skills and start working on the kind of projects that I wanted. Small, residential jobs that we can complete in a few days to a week. The transition hasn't been as easy as I thought but it has been worth it.
What was the hardest thing you went through when you got started?
That's a great question. There were a ton of challenges but most of them were challenges that you would expect like cash flow, customer acquisition. Those challenges were expected, we prepared for them so it wasn't that bad. What I didn't see coming was how proactive I had to be with the local governments to get permits, inspections, or utility lines marked. My crew can get a job done extremely quickly with outstanding quality but we can only go as fast as the city we are working in will let us go with their schedule.
If someone had to pick between you and 3 other concrete companies why would they pick you?
I have been involved in the concrete business for 25 years. I know a lot of really skilled guys working in Dallas. I don't want to say anything bad about them and most of the people who are out there ripping people off aren't in business anymore. When somebody is looking to get concrete work done the best question to ask your contractor is what they specialize in. Concrete Kings specializes in stamped concrete driveways in Dallas. Some concrete contractors specialize in foundations or pool patios. I think whatever type of project you need done you should hire a company who mainly does that type of project.
How has the internet played a role in the growth of Concrete King?
Huge. It's almost as big apart of our success as the trucks and the tools. Without a great online presence it's impossible for a customer to find you. Like most old school contractors we relied on word of mouth for a long time but at a certain point that isn't enough business to really grow. Being online and getting that aspect of our business really performing the way it should has been one of the best investments I've made as a businessman.
We appreciate Frank taking a few of his valuable minutes to talk to us. If you are in Dallas and need concrete work done you can reach Concrete King at 214-251-4268 or check out their website and fill out the form to have them contact you at www.dfwconcretecontractor.com