Burnt out article

I’m Busy!

15-20 years ago, a young man started out with the goal of getting as busy as possible. Chasing the dragon and making that mullah baby! Work booked in a month in advance, my chin held high, a sense of accomplishment.

After ups and downs, nearly in clasp of said dragon, I pondered my aching joints thinking, “man, only a month worth of bookings would be a nice break from this shit I’m knee deep in”.

I pushed to mid 30’s. More skilled and building a reputation. Three months bookings ahead. Although the joints didn’t ache any more yet, the brain struggled to keep up as I tumbled and stumbled along my path….still the dragon eludes me…bastard.

I’m now facing 40. My body is fucked and my head is mush. Six months. Not 1, 2 or even 4. We’ve been working on a 6 months schedule for such a long time now, I forget even what job we did last week, let alone a month ago. Where the fuck did that dragon go? I swear I saw him yesterday…..

It’s funny how you consider yourself “busy” in life. At any given time, a person or contractor can consider themselves busy. But there’s always another new, crazy level of “what the actual fuck is this” you tumble into, (if you’re trying hard enough), that just makes the last section of busy look like a sunshine and lollipops.

I love what I do. I really do. I’m a bush kid full of ADHD and had basically no chance at what “normal” people would consider a productive life through education. I grit my teeth, worked through my problems and figured it out for myself. Every penny and accomplishment earnt, through blisters, blood, sweat and tears.

I’m also so damn thankful these days that our clients, and people in general, can look past my personality disorder, look beyond the small things that make me hard to deal with on a social basis, but then take notice in the hard work I put into my trade and business, see what I am working my ass off trying to acheive, so my client, who has taken the time to show faith in my abilities, has something truly wonderful and inspiring installed in thier home.

It’s a funny game though in my line of work. You seem to be struggling early on, not keeping up with the rest of your peers throughout life as we’re learning our skillset. Then we start to make progress, start to see something moving forward as we get better. Then by the time we really get bloody good at what we do, we’re burning out by all the hard work it took for us to get here. A viscious cycle. But one well travelled all the same.

Myself, and now my wife since she came on board, have been running into brick walls for a long time now. Working our fingers to the bone until we physically and mentally can’t push any harder, then taking a week or so off to reset again, before jumping back in the deep end. But, those little resets are not working anymore.

We’re only back a week or so after a reset and I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’m not enjoying what I do. All I can see if tough bloody jobs in front of us…that dragon so far from reach at the peak of the new hill that seems steeper every month.

You see I’m the guy contracting the $50k project, 6-8 employees onsite, concrete pumps, supplying all materials, thousands of dollars on the line if anything goes wrong, and be calm as a fucking cucumber, having a laugh with the lads and getting shit done. She’ll be right mate.

But recently, I’ve been snapping over absolutely minor, stupid details of everyday work. Things like a skip bin hasn’t been arranged. Dumb frigging things. It’s time to step back.

I guess maybe, have we reached the absolute pinacle of what “busy” can be? Maybe we can’t push “busy” any further? 6 months bookings with 70-80 hours a week trying to stay on schedule for months and months and months on end, without end. I never knew busy until it finally slapped me on the ass as I fell back down that hill, exhausted, watching the dragon fly even further out of reach.

Either way, we’re stepping “busy” back and taking back control of our (my) life. I am quite aware in a modern society, I will be working (to some degree), until I’m frail and old. If I don’t slow down a bit now, I will not make those old, frail bones to begin with.

I think the hardest thing with having a 6 month schedule ahead, is that even if you only have minor delays here and there, it’s nearly impossible to stick to a date given to a client. Imagine trying to take some personal time off in there as well? Taking even a week every 6 months just to reset and keep the quality of work to our typical standards? Impossible. Almost as stupid as trying to catch a fairytale dragon.

Clients from here forth, will be given simple a month in which we expect to start their project. At least that way, WHEN we’re late, it’s still (hopefully) at least in the same month that we advised them of (lol).

To maintain a small business. Maintain work standards. To not become an Ogre and want to rip peoples heads off on a daily basis….exceptions need to be made. Money is the only thing driving us to push the extra hours. I will still make the money, just over a longer period of time and who knows, maybe I’ll rediscover the reason I love my decorative industry as much as I did a few years ago. Maybe I’ll finally find those hours to put down a few new artistic designs I’m always thinking of……

Maybe.

Maybe is better than never, at any cost.

Tile removal and new concrete resurfacing Benowa

Tile Replacement Driveway at Benowa

Here’s another of our long standing, very patient clients who have waited god knows how long for us to arrive. Faced with a driveway with old tiles, that not only were coming up, but were also extremely slippery, our scope of works was remove the tiles, grind back ready for our new coatings, and make it look damn pretty.

With a little tongue in cheek, we really do exceptionally well with colour co-ordination. What a perfect tonal blend.

Cheers Black family. Thank you so kindly for your business and all the best for the future. Take care.

Covid Article

A Familiar Face

Hey everyone (anyone really who actually reads this rubbish). As always, it’s been a while since I have a chance to jump on and give an update. Ever since Covid hit, our already murderish schedule seemed to double, if not triple over night and my god I haven’t had a second to scratch myself in around 6 months….but….first world problems of course and we’re among the lucky who still have a regular income, so definitately no complaints and very thankful.

I guess the biggest reason why I’m on here this afternoon, apart from the several Crowns that seemingly didn’t touch the sides, is I feel the website / social media side of the business has been a little neglected. Certainly not through lack of projects, but it seems every project we’re on is long, difficult and tiring, so although the quantity isn’t there, the quality is….even if it is disguised by not having pretty swirls and blended tones throughout it’s textures. Plus, I’m freaking old and tired from busting my ass each day in a business I refuse to grow in man power, because we are about providing a more personalised, professional and experienced service to our clients.

After the original 4 months of Covid’s bullshit tentacles grasping onto our lives and restricting our breathing, we finally got a chance to take a week off….but seriously, after 4 months of 70hr+ weeks, a week doesn’t exactly work. It’s rushed, still tumble weeding down to the OK Coral for the daily stress shoot out, before heading back into the ferris wheel to appear to fit into the worlds reality of work work work at the expense of all else. Also, open the damn borders you wankers, I didn’t ask you to run up a $100B credit card bill in my name, pfft.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a hard worker. I’ve always been prepared to go the extra mile to achieve things that a lot of people just aren’t prepared to put in the extra effort for. Whether it’s seeing and experiencing places in the world only brought with my calous riddled hands, or experiencing satisfaction in the work place by accomplishing goals within projects that honestly and humbly, not a great deal of other contractors will achieve through lack of expereince only gained through hard work, over decades.

The last, “several” projects, have been nothing but nightmares. I have spent more time on grinders in the last 2 months than I think in the last 20 freaking years. Every single damn project has been ground back, layered, ground back again, so on and so on, trying to achieve the top quality we aspire to for our clients who wait months and months for us to attend their projects.

Such a humbling experience having people willing to wait so long for our services as well. We try to our upmost physically and mentally for you, exert all of our experience as well for each and every project to live up to every expectation by our lovely clients. Cheers to you all. You’re so appreciated.

But something that I need in my life, is the artistic, creation side of my decorative industry that gives me the biggest “ego boost” of all. It’s also something that we haven’t been doing a lot of lately…..

The projects we’re on and have been on, are all very, very complicated jobs. Going from the beginning of what we have to work with, and taking them to completion, is a level of workmanship that very few others in this industry can achieve, I guess that’s why most of our work these days is work that others just simply won’t take on. While our clients are getting quotes of “rip out and redo”, we’re offering a high quality, secondary option that works. Only offered from understanding of the products and what we are working with to every, minor detail, making it all work.

I guess I get a kick out of getting feedback from our spectacular projects, where multiple tones are blended to create realistic stone formations, or pure artistic creation is taking place through one of our one of kind designs. I guess maybe the feedback isn’t there for the projects we’ve been on lately. Although it is great feedback we’re getting, it’s more the little details that most people can’t see that goes into these jobs….kind of like quiet acheivment, name on the wall at Langely sort of setup. Sounds stupid, but credit from peers I suppose rather than WOW factor on Instagram.

At the end of the day, money plays the major roll in the direction of modern life. Long for the days where creation and artistic freedom was rewarded on a similiar frame of mind as the bottom dollar we all need to strive for. Money does, and always will hinder true creation in our modern world.

Completely not comparing myself on this level, not even in the same galaxy, but imagine Michelangelo scuplting David. Money has been offered and plays some part of course, enough part to not have simple, every day problems overcome what you are trying to artistically acheive. Only a financial gain for time spent.

But overall, a beautiful mind that is simply lingering at back of room, a third eye for the artist, allowing their hands to apply absolutes to the project that is beyond typical comprehension. The afternoon light through stained windows gives credence to the last few strokes committed upon that very day. Money is not the drive. Money is enough to allow more freedom to not stress about what the artist is trying to acheive. The goal is beauty. Beauty in it’s perfections…..and imperfections.

I love the money we’re making at the moment on these large, technical projects…..but I think I need to start redirecting the business again. Bringing money and creation back at least level pegging. I have so many new designs to put down that just keep getting put on the back burner.

One day I suppose. When the money doesn’t quite have the hold on life quality.

A few pics below, of the more “simple” design projects we’ve been on, but are heavily technical in our attempt at perfection in what we do.

I hope you’re all doing well out there. I read a sign as I drove through Mackay a few months ago.

“Tough times will never out live tough people”.

If you’re doing well, get at it and keep pushing hard. If you’re struggling, have a chat to someone and keep trying your best. My ears are open for any of my friends needing it. There is always someone who gives a shit. It’s OK to not be OK.

Decorative concrete resurfacing pool surrounds Coomera

Pool surrounds concrete resurfacing as new at Coomera

Next up finished today is our second exposed aggregate overlay, this time to a patio and pool surrounds at Upper Coomera. For those who don’t know, going over exposed is a tricky game and requires a lot of attention to detail and levelling, layering and strengthening to make it work. Looking over these last two projects completed, you could not tell what they were to begin with, just new concrete to finish off a refurbishment.

Cheers Garth, all the best buddy and maybe chat again some day.

Polished concrete resurfacing Coomera

No more exposed! Polished concrete instead.

Project Size: 90sqm – Location: Coomera Waters

We originally priced this project 12 months ago, but due to reasons beyond our clients control, the job was continually postponed throughout, until finally we had the chance to get our dirty rotten tradie hands on thier concrete to turn it into something new.

We had talked originally about a sandstone design, but decided on a different path here, with polished concrete in mind. It may be a little hard to see from the photos, but we finished this project with Silver Birch main colour, followed by heavy flecking with White and Shale, with a tiny, subtle hint of Coal thrown in to create a really cool, tripple fleck that looks just like a polished floor….well, a replica anyways.

Quite a technical project this one. Lots of levelling work over the tile rebates on each side that were removed, along with having to overlay exposed aggregate. My hand and knee’s are well worn, but worth the effort.

Metallic epoxy floor install Gilston Australia

Metallic Epoxy Floor Installation at Gilston

Location: Gilston, Australia – Project Size: 78sqm

Finishing up today on our Gilston project for this lovely metallic epoxy floor installation. Our client here lives on acreage with lots of nature and greenery around, as well as having colour tones lending towards natural greens and browns through and through.

After design meetings, we decided on something that is somewhat “inbetween” mature and flair. At the end of the day, this is a sitting / billiards room, so we wanted something a distinguished gentleman could sit and enjoy a game of pool with a scotch and cigar, but we also wanted to venture a little into the eccentric flamboyance that we can create with metallics. So we went with something in between.

Carbon Flash main colouring blending midway to a lovely two tone, whilst combining “middle range” detailing with Liquid Pearl and minor Copper accents.

I can’t wait to get some photos when everything is back together in this room, love the results of this project.

Cheers guys, always a pleasure doing business with you. Take care.

Complete concrete makeover Arundel

Veni Vidi Vici – The Make Over at Arundel

Project Description

Location: Arundel, Qld
Project Size: 100sqm

I came, I saw, I conquered.

One of the highlights of what we do is our artistic creations. They really are a high point for my business and working life in general. But if I have to be honest, this here is exactly what our true strength is. Take a good look through the photos to see the extent of what needed to be done on this project, which include these main points..

  • Demolition of broken concrete and sub-grade excavation of garden areas
  • Installation of steel reinforcing and new concrete to areas allowing for new falls to new drain points that had been installed
  • Full floor grinding of the old stamped concrete back to bare concrete. Hand grinding of all internals of stamp to ensure a good new bond of products
  • Grind out and patching to multiple areas of cracking with epoxy patching system
  • Floor levelling of several areas where concrete had remaining falls back to house to remove water from sitting on house
  • Full Application of 2 dirty coats with a full floor grind, followed by another dirty coat then hand ground to create a new smooth surface before final coatings
  • Application of our resurfacing systems throughout in a custom “French Grey” colouring only really available to us at present (thanks CCS)
  • Full acrylic sealing throughout

These really are the projects where I get full satisfaction out of what I do. Not only is the work completed to a very high standard (if I can say so myself being my biggest critic as per norm), but to be able to come to a single flooring contractor to take care of all of your residential concrete requirements, without several sections of the work having to be sub-contracted, is priceless for our clients.

These projects are becoming more main stay for us and the results of this project are exactly why our phones don’t stop ringing.

20+ years in the game and experience in all aspects. I’m pretty proud of this one (if you haven’t noticed already).

Thank you Van Rooyen family, we’ll see you in January 2021 to finish off the remainder of the external concrete there.

Project Photos

Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Complete concrete makeover Arundel
Concrete makeover before and after Arundel
Concrete makeover before and after Arundel
Concrete makeover before and after Arundel
Concrete makeover before and after Arundel
Concrete makeover before and after Arundel
Concrete makeover before and after Arundel
Ethics Business Supplier

The Tipping Point

White Lie / Harsh Truth

As a young buck stepping out into the business world in the trades, I took strides through learnt lessons of text in how a business should aspire to greater heights. Expand. More employee’s. Tender contracts. Government contracts. Chase the dragon. Bottom line! bottom line! bottom line!

After several years stepping down said path, I came to realise I was just like all the other conglomerate assholes with no actual ethics within an astronomical unit of reality, solely existing to drive profits and not caring who we stand on in the process.

I still remember going to the local hardware in Nerang with my father. Asking the man who owned / operated the establishment what his thoughts were on the particular project at hand, to recieve knowledge not only greater than ours on the subject, but from someone who actually cared about the result…as opposed to modern day hardware employee’s who wouldn’t know their asshole from elbow (for the most part). Best just remaining quiet to prevent losing brain cells through in depth discussion with the resident slugs who make up the cogs of the ever expanding wheel of profiteering.

From those early lessons, then subsequently from my lessons learnt travelling the wrong path early on, I soon directed the business into a more personal establishment, where the crew might be small, but the experience high and someone you can trust when in conversation, every word from my mouth is honest and with your best intentions in mind for the outcome of your project.

I also tend to make this simple frame of thought expand thoughout my entire business. The material suppliers and manufacturers I choose to work with not only offer high quality products, but also value their customers and their business, along with their return business through a quality relationship.

My conrete supplier? 11 years I’ve been with them. The last time I spoke with their rep, I simply said “I’m not one of these guys who goes around several companies and plays one against the other, we’ve been working together for a long time, I think the prices have gotten a bit high, can you see what you can do for me?”. The next day my rep dropped the prices 15% all across the board, much more than I was expecting, but only received through an above standard relationship over the last decade.

My steel, resurfacing, epoxy and machine suppliers, are all leaning closer to 10 years working with me than anything else, hell, Ollie my longest employee has been with me for 14 years. I value long term relationships that I can trust. Which leads to me the point of this post.

Today, the line was crossed and I flipped. I don’t get angry often, so when I do, you should listen closely and take heed.

Now I’ve been in the game a really long time. I snicker when the concrete supplier, who is an hour late, tells me the “plant broke down”. If only I had a dollar every time huh?…

I have a laugh on the blue bird skies day when a machine operator says he got a puncture, knowning damn well he’s a fishmerman and always takes a day off on days like today. It’s cool. A common understanding. All little white lies with a little tongue in cheek. They know, we know, whatever.

But when you’ve expanded your business and your 20 yo is trying to tell me how to run my business, I get a little agitated. When that 20 yo, after a week waiting on a repair to my grinders, says that there’s no news yet and we need to wait a bit longer, I’m patient, I sit. When I  touch base again Friday, only to be told I’m being pushy and the repairer is waiting on parts to fix a $20 tag and test lead on the grinder which should have only taken 2 days….I smell and rat and get a little fucking frustrated.

When I finally get in contact directly with the 3rd party repairer you sent it off too, finding out the grinder had been repaired for the last 3 days and you simply haven’t bothered contacting them to find out, wasting my time and not appreciating the exxy profit I was prepared to pay you for the service, knowing I haven’t got a second to scratch myself at the moment with how busy we are to fix it myself? You’re lucky I didn’t come down there and ram the grinder up your ass. This isn’t a white lie, it is blatant disrepect for my money and my business, take your medicine boy.

All an old school bush kid like myself requires, is honesty. Tell me you’re busy and haven’t had a chance to follow it up. No problems. But treat me like an idiot and piss down my back telling me it’s raining, I’m taking my money elsewhere. Just between you and me, it’s not a small amount I spend on floor grinding.

I’ll explain that to your boss when he realises why I haven’t been in for a few months.

I suppose at the end of the day, I don’t expect your business to stay small, you travel your own path. But, I do require industry level respect. I’ve earnt that much through being a quality customer.

Epoxy Flake Floor Installation Merrimac

Flake Epoxy Installation Merrimac

Project Description

Location: Merrimac, Qld
Project Size: 50sqm

Bit of a cheeky one this one. Our schedule is a frigging nightmare at the moment, but this flake installation came through on short notice and we thought, fuck it why not.

A quick visit to grind down and clean. A second quick visit to install the flake. A third to chip and top coat, fitting the times frames into the afternoons when finished on other work.

Thanks Craig and your new build looks awesome, very jealous of those river views. Take care.

Project Photos

Epoxy Flake Floor Installation Merrimac
Epoxy Flake Floor Installation Merrimac
Epoxy Flake Floor Installation Merrimac
Epoxy Flake Floor Installation Merrimac
Epoxy Flake Floor Installation Merrimac
Epoxy Flake Floor Installation Merrimac
Epoxy Flake Floor Installation Merrimac
Epoxy Flake Floor Installation Merrimac
Epoxy Flake Floor Installation Merrimac
Epoxy Flake Floor Installation Merrimac
Epoxy Flake Floor Installation Merrimac
Epoxy Flake Floor Installation Merrimac
Concrete Resurfacing Custom Stone Pacific Pines

Custom Natural Stone Concrete Resurfacing Pacific Pines

Project Description

Location: Pacific Pines, Qld
Project Size: 65sqm

This is the next generation of our “Stockholm Stone” finish. We’ve decided to market things a bit more effectively into design areas, so although this is an evolution of that named design, it is categorised into our “Natural Stone” finishing.

…..I need another beer or two to swallow that shit. Basically, this is one of our frigging awesome, stone custom designs we provide our clients.

In this circumstance, it has been finished in French Grey toning with natural lines, pure white blending with Blue Mountain decorations, all entwined into a Midnight Blue 60mm border.

We customise this finish through several different tonal standpoints. Each of these designs are priced per project and require a sit down meeting to go through everything that we can provide.

This is our art. It is more than work to us. So humble, lucky and happy to be able to combine the two.

Thank you so much for your business Yusuf, we wish you the very best for the future and hope you love you new driveway.

Project Photos

Concrete Resurfacing Custom Stone Pacific Pines
Concrete Resurfacing Custom Stone Pacific Pines
Concrete Resurfacing Custom Stone Pacific Pines
Concrete Resurfacing Custom Stone Pacific Pines
Concrete Resurfacing Custom Stone Pacific Pines
Concrete Resurfacing Custom Stone Pacific Pines
Concrete Resurfacing Custom Stone Pacific Pines
Concrete Resurfacing Custom Stone Pacific Pines
Concrete Resurfacing Custom Stone Pacific Pines
Concrete Resurfacing Custom Stone Pacific Pines
Concrete Resurfacing Custom Stone Pacific Pines
Concrete Resurfacing Custom Stone Pacific Pines
Concrete Resurfacing Custom Stone Pacific Pines