This is the Good Neighbor Podcast, the place where local businesses and neighbors come together. I'm your host, Charlie McDermott. Welcome to episode number 85 of the Good Neighbor Podcast. And today we have Jeff Evers. Now Jeff is the owner of Paver Protectors, and who knew that pavers needed protection other than our guest today. Jeff, Jeff, how you doing?
I'm doing good. How are you doing Charlie?
I'm doing real good, man. I really appreciate you spending time with us. So tell us all about Paver Protectors.
Appreciate you having me on. It's been a real pleasure to listen to your podcast and hear all the different businesses. And so basically I started my business nine years ago. I noticed that there's a need for paver sealing in Florida. We do service Lee, Collier, and Charlotte counties. And our office is located here in Fort Myers. We're currently running five crews to keep up with the demand here.
So in Florida, the high humidity levels and water levels, you can get trapped moisture underneath the sealer. Our sealers allow the pavers to breathe and so you don't get that trapped, white, milky look underneath the pavers.
So is that what happens when I see driveways, I guess in my neighborhood with that white, milky sheen or whatever you want to call it? Okay.
Yeah, that's correct.
Alright, so for someone who has no idea about what this whole process is about. So...driveways... In an ideal world, we should after guess what's, what am I trying to say? The maintenance program...is it a once and done thing? Is it...what happens if you don't seal it? Can you get into some different possibilities there?
Yeah, absolutely. The main reason for sealing is to protect the pavers. The end result is aesthetics, that they look beautiful. The color looks enhanced, if that's what you want. But really it protects the pavers from the UV rays in the sun, because here in Florida, the sun is so vibrant. You want to protect those pavers. And it also makes it stain resistant. So if you drip oil or something in your driveway...it gives you a chance to get it cleaned up without it becoming a permanent stain.
Mmkay. Awesome. Awesome. Go ahead...
Sealing should be done about every two years. I mean, the sealers don't last forever kind of like waxing your car. It does have a longevity life and we recommend re-sealing about every two years is the norm. And our VIP maintenance program...what that consists of is we come out and do cleanings every eight months after the sealing to help combat weeds and mold that may pop up over time. And that way your pavers always look good.
Ok, oh I love that. Come on over. Haha! So how did you get into this business?
Well, I got into the business because I saw a need. I saw a need for paver protection. I saw a lot of driveways that had just eroded over time. The color is faded from the sun, and they're just being degraded, you know, just from the Florida environment. And I figured, you know what, there's really a need for this. But the problem was with all the sealers years ago, they all trapped moisture. They were solvent based sealers. And so the industry has come a long way in the last 15-20 years with coming up with sealers that are breathable. And once I saw that, I said, you know what, there's a need for this. And let's start going with it.
Yeah well, what a difference that makes, and so I'm....from Pennsylvania and every driveway just about in Pennsylvania is macadam. So, you know, you got that and you had to re tar or whatever every so often to keep that all together and down here, it's a completely different world. And it's amazing how much nicer properties look, certainly homes look with these attractive driveways. But then you hit the homes that maybe could use a seal or a cleaning, and when it gets done, right. It's like, wow, that house just pops!
It makes a big difference.
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So I never realized that. So I'm sure there are myths that you hear about. I mean, I have one, if you don't cover it, I'm going to bring it up. But you know, what do you hear out there...myths in your industry that you can dispel?
Well, there are some myths that sealing will stop weeds...that it'll completely stop mold, and that it can't be done in the rain, or at least with rain in the forecast, I should say. So the first thing is with weeds, when we seal, our sealers will stabilize the sand that's in the joints. And we also offer re-sanding as add-on service. So if they want us to sand the joints and then seal it, that sealer will lock that sand in. So while it does help with weeds, weeds will still come through. We've all seen that picture of the weed that grows in the middle of I-75 or in the middle of the sidewalk. I mean, they're going to come through.
And when it comes to the mold, we make the pavers less porous. So when that moisture sits in the pores of the bricks, that makes that mold grow that much faster. But even then you take a non-porous surface, mold will eventually grow over time. And that's why we offer this VIP program. A lot of companies don't offer that. And you will need cleanings periodically. That's why there's so many pressure washing companies in Florida, cause mold is always going to grow.
(inaudible)...slow that down. But it is a misconception cause we get the occasional call that, "you know what, I've got a couple of weeds or mold is growing. It's been eight months and you know, I think your sealer failed." So we go look at it and we offer a remedy, which is basically just need a cleaning. And that's why our VIP program is so popular.
Now when it comes to the rain, obviously this time of year and coming up these next couple of months, we got rain in the forecast every single day. Our sealers need about an hour to dry, to where they can withstand rain sometimes even shorter, depending on the porosity of the bricks. So we tell our customers, we take all the risks. When you hire us, we take all the risks when it comes to rain. So if we seal it and 20 minutes later, it washes off. We're going to come back and reseal it for free. So we've got apps on our phones. We have to dodge raindrops sometimes, but if it's going to rain at four o'clock and your job's at eight o'clock in the morning, trust me that rain is not going to wash it off. And we do offer a written warranty for all of our customers. So they have the peace of mind knowing that, "you know what, I know it's going to rain, but Paver Protectors has my back." Haha!
Man, oh man. That is awesome. Man, you know your stuff.
Yeah. Well, it's a lot of training...in the industry.
So what are you doing when you're not doing the Paver Protector thing? What are you doing for fun?
Yeah, well, honestly, I really just enjoy spending time with my wife and my kids. It seems like we do everything together. The Coronavirus has kind of, you know, put a hinder on that. Cause we used to always go grocery shopping together. Oh, I'll go with your dad. Or the kids come and my wife comes. But, you know, typically we do everything together. We go once or twice a year, we go on vacation into the mountains, typically Tennessee or North Carolina. We go for Christmas for a couple of weeks and then we go for a week or two in July. Those are the main things that I look forward to. Obviously we do other things here and there, but just spending time with the family is pretty much what I do in my spare time.
Good for you. How old are the kids?
I've got a 22 year old son. I got a 20 year old daughter and I've got a 17 year old son.
Yeah. Yeah. Very proud of all of them. They're all doing good at each aspect of their life.
Yeah. Yeah. Good for you. Good for you. So Jeff, how about, let's switch gears a little bit. Hardships, you know, they tend to define us. They're not fun when we go through them. But they, you know, when we get to the other side, we look back and go, wow. Yeah, there was a reason for that. And I'm better for it. What comes to mind?
You want just one? Haha! Hardships. I would say mine, I had a window cleaning business in Michigan and I sold that business back in 2007. And I moved to South Carolina where I was going to be doing what I'm doing now, as well as pressure washing. And it was just a market that was hard to break into and because of the economy and the timeframe that I chose to move it, we really struggled. I mean, we went through our investment that we had recouped from our business, the sale of our business rather quickly. And we were forced to make a tough decision. We liked the area in South Carolina, we were in Charleston area.
And, we decided to come, come to Florida, which is originally where I was raised. My wife was born and raised in Michigan. So in the Florida and then, you know, there are definitely some tough times. But I believe with hard work and perseverance, you always succeed, you just gotta stay at it. And that's exactly what we did. It was hard in the beginning. I mean, I spent countless hours on product research and development and building a company culture and marketing and branding my business. And now, I guess for lack of a better word, we're reaping the rewards for that because customers know who we are, we've got rave reviews on the internet and, I just found a need for this. And it's really helped us overcome that hard time of moving and basically depleting all of our funds that we had accumulated. It was a tough time as it was for a lot of people.
You know, the madness of being an entrepreneur, right? You know, the things we go through. And I know from your point of view, you looked at those times and you said to yourself, "I don't have any other option. I'm going to plow through this. I'm going to figure it out. And you know, the finances suffer and, we've heard all the stories of business owners, very successful business owners, have gone through bankruptcy and you wonder it's like...it's such a PAINFUL process being a small business owner and, or medium or even large doesn't matter.
And, but when we finally get through, you know, when we break through, it oftentimes that individual or that company is looked at as, Oh, well...They're lucky or or they had it made. Right? And no idea the struggle that you've been through and clawing your way out of that deep, deep hole and moving your family. And, so kudos to you, man. It really is inspirational what you've done. And I know our listeners really appreciate that story as well.
I appreciate that. You know, a lot of people, like you said, a lot of people see the business, how it stands today, or they see your lifestyle or they see...me and my brother, we kind of joke around, we call it the "must be nice" factor. Oh, it must be nice. You know, it's like, they don't know the hard work you put into it. Kind of like a duck on the pond. It looks nice and peaceful on top of, but underneath, he's paddling like crazy just to stay afloat. That's the life of an entrepreneur.
Yeah. Yeah. Jeff, one thing you wish our listeners knew about your business, what comes to mind?
You know what, we're a small family-run business. I mean, we've got five trucks on the road now. And sometimes people get that perception that, you know, you're just a big corporation raking in the bucks and stuff. I mean, yeah, our bills are paid, but you know what it's...we're a small family run business and we treat our customers with honesty and respect. Most of our customers do know that, but the ones that haven't dealt with us, they may not know that yet.
But you know, we don't sell you a job that you don't need. I mean, sometimes I've been doing estimates and you know, at the end, the guy will say, you know what? I was going to do this, but after talking, I don't think I need to do this. And I said, "well, I treat you like family." You know, if there's a service that we offer that you really don't need right now, or you can get more life out of what you have, we're not going to just sell you on something. Cause in the long run, you're going to call us back and we're going to help you maintain this, but we're not going to sell you something that you don't need.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That comes back to burn ya. I think just universally, that energy is out there. If there's a business doing something dishonest or taking advantage...however you want to term that....that only lasts for so long. No one truly gets away with that. So that's awesome. So you, again, you spend a good amount of time educating your customers or soon-to-be, or one-day-to-be customers. Cause it's the way Barbara and I've always looked at our business, you know? Yeah. If this isn't the right fit or, or the right time for you, that's okay because we're here to stay for a long, long time. And when it is the right time, make the best impression. Right?
That's right and I think it's important too, that we specialize in one service. Our intense training process ensures that all of our technicians are educated on how to treat and protect pavers. We don't spread ourselves too thin by doing a multitude of things. You know, I always say, be the authority in your area of expertise. That's how you want the public to perceive you. But you also have to live by that model. Like, I would never hire my painter to change the transmission on my truck. You know, it's...this is what we know. We do pavers and people ask us all the time. Unfortunately, we don't do a bunch of things. You know, we don't clean roofs and we don't clean pools and do landscaping. I mean, we just clean and seal pavers. So when you get us, our guys are trained with their experience to see things that other companies may not. If they only seal every once in a great while. So we live and breathe sealing pavers, that's what we do over here.
So in other words, if we need a heart surgery, we shouldn't ask our general practitioner to do it, even if he gives us a deal.
That's the analogy I use. It's funny. Cause I was doing an estimate one time for this customer and we had a good rapport. I could just tell talking to him. And he's like, you know, he goes, "well, you're a lot more expensive than my other guy that I used before." And I said, well, what, what exactly does he do? I mean, who is it? And it was like a pressure washing company or something I'm like, so he doesn't steal pavers for living? He goes, "no, he does. But it's just something he does on the side. And he's a lot more cheaper than you." I said, well, I tell you what, I got a good set of tools. Next time you need a root canal, I could save you a lot of money if you want me to clean the garage." Haha! He goes, "you make a good point there!"
That's great. Well, Jeff, I know our listeners want to know more about you. Where should we send them?
Well, they can always call our office. Our number is area code (239) 288-0705. And for a lot of information, you can go to our website, which is PaverProtectors.com. There's all kinds of information. There's videos...all kinds of stuff on there that they can learn more about us. And uh, if they want a free estimate, estimates are indeed free. Just give us a call. We'll come out for you.
Awesome. Awesome. Well, I appreciate you spending time with us today and wish you the absolute best and uh, I'm sure we'll be talking in the future here.
You betcha Charlie. Thank you so much for having me on.
Thank you for listening to the Good Neighbor Podcast. To nominate your favorite local business to be featured on the show, go to GoodNeighborPodcast.com. That's GoodNeighborPodcast.com or call us at (239) 224-4105.