There is quite a wide range of paving and exterior surfacing services that you might decide to offer. For example, you might undertake some or all of the following activities:
- laying blocks, flags, slabs, cobbles and paviours of various different shapes, sizes, colours and materials - this might include machine laying for large areas
- laying macadam (asphalt), concrete, gravel and other external surfaces
- laying systems such as pattern imprinted concrete, colour hardened concrete, resin-bound aggregates and so on
- installing timber decking
- cleaning, repairing and maintaining existing exterior paving and other surfaces. This might include replacing broken slabs, applying sealers and cleaning off unsightly deposits like moss and algae
You might be asked to lay the above surfaces in various different locations, for example driveways, patios, forecourts, paths, pool surrounds, car parks, pavements, roadways and so on. You might also decide to offer some specialist surfacing services, for example tennis court laying.
Some of the work that you do may be for new-build projects such as new housing or a new supermarket, while other work will be general renovation and home improvement. You might also decide to sell some materials on a supply-only basis to DIYers.
There are many different types of exterior surface that you could offer, giving your customers a choice of colour, pattern, durability, permeability, cost and so on. Certain products require specialist skills if they are to be laid correctly. Some manufacturers may offer training and advice to you and your employees and it may be possible to become listed as an 'approved supplier' of certain paving products.
Much publicised flooding episodes around the UK have raised awareness of the importance of 'sustainable drainage systems', which allow surface water to permeate the ground slowly rather than running straight off. Special permeable paving products are available and may be specified by environmentally conscious customers and those who need to meet special building regulations requirements.
Depending on your skills and equipment, there are other services that you might decide to offer to your clients. Some examples include:
- general landscaping work, including hard landscaping (garden walls, concrete and stone features and so on) and soft landscaping (laying out the terrain and planting)
- groundworks, including foundations and floor-pans
- specialist flooring, for example mosaic and terrazzo
- floor screeding and other poured concrete applications
- fencing and external carpentry
- general building work
The paving and driveway industry is very competitive and you may decide to offer your customers a range of attractive 'added value' services. These might include, for example:
- free surveys, estimates and quotations
- insurance-backed guarantees on all new work
- membership of recognised trade associations
- a freephone telephone line
- a 'no job too small' or 'distance no object' promise
A complete package
Many of your customers will be householders who will want you to provide a complete package of services from start to finish. This will probably include:
- giving advice and estimating costs
- designing the project
- preparing the site and removing any old surface material plus any excavated spoil
- laying the surface itself plus any kerbing, edging and substrates such as concrete or a membrane required
- clearing up when the job is finished and making good any disturbance to the surrounding area caused by the work