Don’t let the name fool you. Although System Pavers started out as a paver company in the early 1990s, it has since evolved into a full-fledged outdoor living company, complete with design services. “It’s not just redoing their backyard but trying to be a lifestyle partner that’s really the brand positioning,” says Larry Green, the company’s longtime CEO.
While there are more products, everything still comes with the same 25-year warranty the company originally offered for its pavers. “When we first introduced it, people said, ‘Are you crazy?’” Green says.
Crazy like a fox, as it turns out. That’s because the way Green figures it, that 25-year warranty gives the company 25 years to build a relationship with a client—including referrals and repeat business. Green says that means a $10,000 job can turn out to be a $100,000 long-term payoff. And as the company has grown, 30% of its business comes from those ongoing relationships. “If you take care of your customers, they will refer you to other customers and they will come back to you for other work,” he says.
Part of taking care of those customers is making sure his army of workers maintains the core values that have made the company a success. So Green spends $1.5 million a year on a System Pavers University, complete with four faculty members who train on new and continuing topics that help ensure the contractor’s eight offices maintain the company culture. And many of System Pavers’ top people have been promoted from within.
“If we can help develop good people and train them, then it’s worth the money, because it’s ultimately going to represent itself in the way we do business,” Green says.