Spray Pave Australia Pty Ltd, now an industry leader, has had a long and varied history full of changes and surprises. Chris Bylhouwer, the founder and Australia Operations Manager (AOM) of the company, started the business in the late 1980s. Back then, the company was mostly concerned with the maintenance of public housing. Over time, Chris started to focus on his private clients and discovered spray-on paving, a relatively unknown trade back then. In 1991, the company was renamed to Coast River Coatings. Once more services were added in and concrete decorating was firmly established, the company name was finally changed to Spray Pave Australia in 1999.
Since then, Spray Pave Australia has applied its expertise to a huge number of projects. Their work can be found in public facilities such as shopping centers, churches, airport hangers, and display sites as well as privately-owned areas including factories, car dealerships, and houses. Despite any obstacles encountered in the early days, the business was built by constantly improving and applying the best practices in the right situation.
“I could see the profits. I could see the demand, what the customers wanted. I could see the appreciation for the job. The customers were pleasing, they were calling me back for more work, I was getting referrals. It was very rewarding, and had a great social side to it as well”, explains Chris.
Establishing systems and services
Spray Pave Australia mainly focuses on the core trade, though it does offer additional services associated with concrete decorating and maintenance too. These include polishing, epoxy, staining, and non-slip treatments. As Chris says, different clients require different services as they tend to focus on specific things. Homeowners, for example, are mainly concerned with having a beautiful driveway. On the other hand, government departments are highly concerned with safety. Spray Pave can cover both areas equally, so all clients can trust them in any case.
As the business continued to grow, Chris wanted to find new ways of spreading the word and strengthening the brand. In 1998, after some careful planning and consultations, he established a franchise system. The first franchise was sold in 1998 and though there were some excellent results, Chris believed there was still more room for growth. In 2006, a decision was made to drop the franchise system and upgrade into a license system instead. By dropping the fees, charges, and reporting requirements, license owners were free to grow their business as much as they wanted without any restrictions.
Chris explains. “The difference is in the level of control. In a Franchise system, the Franchisor tells you what you can do. In a License system, only you decide what you do, in all matters”.
Of course, the license system still shares some elements with the old franchise system. First and foremost, Spray Pave still offers a life time of support and training to potential licensees so that the foundations on which they grow their business can always be solid. More than 150 have been trained at the training center in Adelaide and continuous support is offered to all licensees who require it. Furthermore, the company guarantees at least 25 customer leads when they start, plus more for free for life, so that they can have a solid footing in the early days of their business.
The right people for the right job
Though all people are welcome to enquire about joining Spray Pave, there are certain qualities that the company looks for in interested parties. Aside from the obvious elements of having an eye for detail and willing to learn, having good people skills is another factor of the utmost importance. Face-to-face conversations are highly valued in the company and are a vital part of the process. The licensees are usually the ones conducting the work, so need to sit down with their clients and have detailed discussions about spray paving or whatever other service is required. Furthermore, they also need to be motivated. People who are not dedicated rarely do well in any business.
Opportunities for growth
As the business has been constantly growing over the years, Chris has seen a lot of different things during his tenure in the company. However, establishing a license system was the best decision he has made for Spray Pave. And when he talks about unlimited opportunities for growth, he can back up his claims with real facts. For example, one of the more dedicated licensees is currently turning over more than $1 million annually by working all the trades with members of his family. Their hard work, dedication, and close-knit communication has allowed them to grow their business to extreme heights.
If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that the spray paving industry has virtually unlimited in opportunities. After all, there’s no shortage of existing concrete in Australia and there’s not going to be one for many decades to come. Spray paving breathes new life into any concrete and there’s a constantly growing demand which means that more and more licensees can take advantage of it. Right now, Spray Pave Australia is already offering a great number of services, enough to specialize in the main trades, however there are also a number of other minor associated trades that Licensees can offer.
Maintaining the best business practices
Chris’ aspiration for his company is to keep doing what they are currently doing and keeping customers happy. Though there are no specific corporate goals or objectives, Spray Pave has been growing at a steady pace and Chris is certainly happy with that progression. In addition to that, welcoming new licensees into the business is always fantastic as most always change their life for the better.
“We don’t have any major growth projections, or any plans to conquer the world, or anything like that! Because I run the business with my family and staff and promote our own work/life balance, I’m very happy with how Spray Pave has grown and to where it is now. My vision is to keep it at the same status. Keep training people as they come through all the time. The best reward for us at training, are the good stories afterwards. It’s life-changing for them”, says Chris.
And even though no business is free of challenges, Spray Pave Australia has proven they are definitely ready to conquer anything that comes their way.
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Spray Pave Australia
WHAT: Concrete resurfacing company offering a variety of service including spray paving, staining, polishing, epoxy, etc.
WHERE: BOX 501 Greenacres, South Australia 5086