Paving the Way - American Paving Design
Author: David Tobias
Radio guys have a reputation for being in radio for a reason. So let’s start off with what you really want to know. Yes, Tim Niemiec, “your paver guy” on the radio, is good looking. He’s not just the voice, pitching paving products from behind a mike. He could be on TV just as easily as radio. He’s a personable, young, articulate, guy who has found a way to connect to his audience by selling himself as the voice of American Paving Design. He is, indeed, your “paver guy.”
TIM NIEMIEC, YOUR PAVER GUY
Photography by John Brackett
Now that we’ve satisfied your curiosity, let’s talk about patio paving, pool decks, outdoor kitchens and outdoor fireplaces, the latter two being the current hot commodities in the residential home market these days.
As new home and commercial construction business has slowed down, Niemiec and his team at American Paving Design decided to revise their business strategy. Typically, businesses like American Paving Design, which specialize in driveways, patios and backyard amenities, have tight ties to construction companies. These symbiotic relationships have worked well for a long time. Niemiec and American Paving Design took a bold step—to go directly to the residential customer—and it has been a resounding success. Not that he’s abandoned relationships with established builders. It’s just that he has created a niche.
American Paving Design turned its focus to individual homeowners who were clearly going to cocoon for a while, since their houses weren’t selling anyway. In the early stages of the down economy, consumers were improving appearances, choosing pavers to change the sense of arrival dramatically. It was a change that satisfied the urge for change and was an obvious, easily recognizable improvement.
The last several years have become a nice time to make the home you’re in more settled and comfortable and perhaps add value along the way. Over the last three years, according to Niemiec, outdoor kitchens and fireplaces have edged into the forefront of his business and have become the additions du jour. That’s because, like wide-screen HD TVs, it’s taken a while to bring the pricing down to appeal to a larger audience.
Thanks to a new purveyor relationship with Eldorado Stone, a California-based producer of outdoor fireplaces, kitchen units, and outdoor living amenities of all kinds, the demand for these home feature projects is climbing.
The main reason, Niemiec said, is that what used to take weeks now takes days. From design to install, it’s now just a matter of planning, delivery, set-up and finish. Eldorado has created the building blocks that can be delivered direct to the customer. American Paving’s crew can then come in, pour the foundation, set the pieces in place and complete the project, usually in less than a week.
“Customers like us because we’ve always done good work,” Niemiec said. “But who wants construction guys coming and going all the time? With this new product we can be on the job, get it started and work it until it’s finished. We can even design it online to move the process along quicker.”
The cost of backyard units like these remains the same or, in some instances, has come down slightly because, while the product itself has increased slightly in price, the cost savings is on labor and the time it takes to complete the work.
The process also fits nicely into an overall philosophy that spans projects and products for American Paving Design. Niemiec’s sales teams and crews are well aware of his approach to building business.
“I’m selling myself, but we’re all selling ourselves every time we talk with a customer, whether that’s on the radio or in person.” Niemiec said. “We try to educate our customers on how pavers are different and what the benefit will be. We talk about how installing outdoor amenities can change a lifestyle. Outdoor entertainment is becoming more popular, not just in the summer, but year-round, and we have to assure our customer that this can be done without undue expense and without making a mess.”
Jacquie Jouanet is an enthusiastic American Paving Design fan.
“Listen,” Jouanet said. “Tim is amazing.”
Jouanet took on a Sea Pines residential paving project for a friend since she lives on the island and the homeowner does not. The project involved paver work on a driveway and walkways around the property at a corner villa with a view of the second tee at Harbour Town.
“The work was drop-dead gorgeous, and I was paying close attention, making sure everything was done right. I woke up one morning and said, ‘Oh my gosh, we forgot the area that comes down from the deck to the golf course.’ It was 6:08 a.m. when I called Tim, and he called me back at 6:15. I was freaking out, and he said don’t worry; it’ll be done. What I love is that his work is on schedule and he returns calls. The whole process has been a pleasure instead of a nightmare.”
As “your paver guy,” Niemiec is often perceived as just the voice of the business, and customers are sometimes surprised when they learn they have a local celebrity in their midst (although Niemiec doesn’t quite see himself that way).
“I guess they don’t expect the owner of the company to be out there meeting with them,” Niemiec said. “But that’s what I do. In fact it’s worked best for me to come to them. I can show them 27 different colors and seven different paver patterns, and we can discuss design. I thought it might hurt that we didn’t have a showroom, but it’s been quite the opposite. It’s the same thing with outdoor fireplaces and outdoor kitchens. We can consider where the units will go and what kind of stone or exterior treatment will work best.”
Dedication to service, accessibility and reliability is working well. It also helps to have a readily identifiable brand identity. After all, he’s Tim Niemiec, “your paver guy.”
For more information, call (843) 706-PAVE (7283) or visit americanpavingdesign.com.