Atlanta and Indianapolis Concrete Craft Franchisees Continue to Book High Paying Jobs During Challenging Economic Climate
As people spend more and more time in their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic and related stay-at-home orders, they are taking advantage of this time to make changes to their spaces. A May 2020 Adweek article, for example, noted that home improvement retailers enjoyed strong first-quarter sales, with experts attributing the bump to stay-at-home orders.
Enter Concrete Craft, a national decorative concrete brand with 53 territories that is especially well-positioned to deliver on this front. Not only does Concrete Craft offer a long list of concrete services, but the brand can also perform many of these services while respecting social distancing guidelines. COVID-19 may have affected a wide range of businesses from performing operations, but Concrete Craft franchisees are continuing to book projects during this challenging economic climate.
“Even with the challenges we have right now with COVID-19, our franchisees are experiencing record months,” Chief Development Officer Jonathan Thiessen said. “People are looking around their homes and taking stock of the improvement projects they’d like to complete. Fortunately, many of our projects can be completed with very little interaction with homeowners, so we’ve pretty much been able to do business as normal. It’s been a good time for our franchisees.”
One Concrete Craft franchisee whose business continues to thrive is Ken Nelson, who owns and operates two territories in northern Atlanta. He opened his first franchise with the brand in April 2017.
“We’ve been really fortunate in that we spent much of last year working with homeowner and community associations as potential referral sources,” Nelson said. “When COVID-19 started happening in March, those associations really wanted to refurbish their community pools, and we’ve been able to do that for them.”
Nelson noted that employees are able to complete many of their usual projects while respecting social distancing guidelines.
“People have greeted us from inside their screen doors,” Nelson said. “As long as we keep our distance and follow protocols, they’re happy to have us work on their homes.”
He praised the Concrete Craft corporate team for their support during this difficult time.
“They’ve been absolutely amazing,” he said. “They have helped us understand how to take advantage of the CARES Act and how to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). They’ve just been absolutely fantastic.”
Another franchisee who is thriving at this time is Dave Lytle, who joined the brand in October 2018 and owns and operates the Concrete Craft of Northern Indianapolis and Hamilton County.
“Business has certainly grown during these uncertain and troubling times,” Lytle said. “We were able to book $182,000 of work in March and April 2020 compared to $99,000 in March and April of 2019. Thankfully, we’ve also been able to complete more work during the same period year-over-year due to falling under the critical trades section of the Indiana stay-at-home order.”
Lytle has seen a very enthusiastic and supportive customer response in the communities he serves.
“We’ve had multiple customers state that they’re signing up partly due to wanting to do their part to support local small businesses,” he said. “It’s too early to know for certain, but whether customers are choosing decorative concrete because they’re home and looking at their pool decks, patios and other ugly concrete, or shifting their 2020 vacation budgets to transform their spaces at home, the fortunate reality for us is that business has picked up significantly.”
Like Nelson, Lytle has high praise for the Concrete Craft leadership team and appreciates the support they’ve provided to franchisees as the system navigates the issues brought on by COVID-19. He noted that in March, the home office rolled out financial support initiatives, including a deferred royalty program. The brand also negotiated longer payment terms on behalf of franchisees with key suppliers.
“Our co-founders, John Kostro and Dan Lightner, have found the right balance between realism and optimism through their continued support while keeping the health and safety of our employees and customers as the priority,” Lytle said. “We’ve also received regular communication from the marketing team related to guidance on customer communication, best practices and ideas and support to navigate these difficult times.”
With its low-cost business model, loyal customers and willingness to adapt and show flexibility in the face of economic uncertainty, Concrete Craft proves why it’s a solid franchise opportunity in any economic climate.