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Filling Gaps in the Pavement: How I Found Success by Leveraging the Concrete Industry

Filling Gaps in the Pavement: How I Found Success by Leveraging the Concrete Industry Credit: Earl Choate

Concrete Camouflage began in 1995. I had owned a concrete contracting company that did a lot of decorative concrete. Over the years, I tested just about every product on the market. There were very few options available at the time, and I wasn't happy with the concrete stains and sealers my company was using. They were unreliable and limited, and were not user-friendly.

I decided to start experimenting and working on creating our own products, with the goal of making them more reliable, easier to use and of higher quality. My intent was to expand the range of possibilities and provide a better end product for customers while reducing the hours needed to accomplish a project.

At one time, during our experimenting, we had acres of different types of concrete at our country home that was a vast network of testing areas. There were various formulas: some were awful, some okay and some that showed promise. I continued to make tweaks here and there to the recipes, the same way a chef would test different flavor combinations. Eventually, we had a quality product that looked to be the optimal formula for reliability, usability and cost.

I believed that what we had created was better than anything else on the market; so I decided to sell my construction company and launch Concrete Camouflage. Our goal was to empower individuals to do their own flooring and exterior designing. Concrete staining shouldn't only be accessible to construction companies; it should be available to anyone willing to learn and put in the work.

We make only a handful of products, but we make them to be the highest quality possible. First, it has to outperform what is currently available in the market. For example, we offer a larger variety of acid stain colors than any other company. Second, it has to be as user friendly as possible. We want our customer to be able to watch our online instructional videos and immediately understand how to use our products for their project and achieve beautiful results. Third, it has to be reasonably priced and provide real value. Our artist grade concrete stains cover more square feet per cost than any other brand.

Although we have had a fair share of success over the years, there have also been plenty of setbacks. Mother nature hasn't always been kind. Around 2005, a series of hurricanes and tropical storms slammed the southern coast of the United States. A large portion of our construction company customer base located in the south from Texas to Florida was hit hard. Many of these companies struggled, some of which that owed us quite a bit of money for orders they had purchased. The long wait to get paid hurt our cash flow and forced us to stop offering credit accounts altogether, which created it's own setback.

The economic downturn around 2008 is a stranger to no one. Along with most companies, we felt the impact; and for the first time in the company's history, we found had to incur debt to keep the company going.

There have been other challenges along the way, but we've tried to see them more as opportunities. Our long term stability is a testament to our ability to adapt to change and persist.

We have been in business for over 20 years. We started when concrete staining was in its infancy. Initially we only sold to construction contractors and hardware stores. Now, with the growth of ecommerce, we're able to sell our products online to individual DIY consumers.

Our goal is to make acid staining more mainstream by educating the public on how it works and the benefits it brings to home and property owners.

Credit: Concrete Camouflage

About the author: Earl Choate is the founder and CEO of Concrete Camouflage, a company that designs and sells its own proprietary concrete acid stain and floor wax products.

Sammi Caramela

Sammi Caramela has always loved words. When she isn't working as a Business.com and Business News Daily staff writer, she's writing (and furiously editing) her first novel, reading a YA book with a third cup of coffee, or attending local pop-punk concerts. Sammi loves hearing from readers - so don't hesitate to reach out! Check out her short stories in Night Light: Haunted Tales of Terror, which is sold on Amazon.