What can you say about the history of your company?
I started the company 28 years ago in Vancouver. I came here from Holland about 30 years ago. Remember, when you’re trying to start a business, you’re starting from zero. I worked for three other companies: first it was a German company. I saw it in the newspaper as I was looking for work, and I thought ‘okay, concrete work looks okay to me’; so I tried that out and I liked it, and after 1 1/2 years,
I decided to work for an Italian company. They were paying a little bit more money, and they were doing more interesting jobs. After one and a half years, though, they didn’t give me a raise.
So then, I decided to work for an East Indian company, and I worked for them for about one and a half year as well. It was after that I decided to go it on my own.I started by going around and asking contractors if they had any jobs, and did some concrete formwork and slowly but surely I made some connections, and the telephone started ringing and I was getting more and more jobs. In the beginning, I did not do any commercial jobs at all because you need more manpower, and I only had all three or four people with me, so it was much easier to organize for residential jobs.
The main service always has been replacing and finishing of the concrete, so any work related to concrete—it could be from the beginning that we work on new housing or renovations. We’ve worked with Sol Melia New Foundations radiant heat floors, basements, sidewalks, concrete steps, concrete patios. We do retaining walls as well, and after two years I decided to buy my own line pump, because that would be an expansion of the business and easier to organize for both myself and for the customer. It was a great way to expand the business.
What are the most advantageous aspects of your company?
Besides doing the placing and finishing of concrete, sometimes a little bit of performing as well. Another aspect of the business is to have the line pump available at all times so if my customer needs something done quickly, I’m available with my manpower and equipment to finish any kind of job.
Another great advantage is our flexibility to do jobs across the entire range of a client’s concrete needs. My favourite kind of work would be to work outside with the people in the field, so you have direct contact with your customers on a one-to-one basis in that you don’t only have a first meeting with them and explain to them what your company’s all about and how we work and what they provide and what they can expect from us. We let our customers know that we care about their project as much as they do. If they want really specific, detailed kind of job, then we would spend more time on the job with more employees to make sure that the customer’s satisfied. We take the approach that we’re working on a long-term relationship. We don’t look for a one-time deal, but for a long time of working together with the customer. It’s much more important for us then than a one-time deal. I think that’s what I like most about my work.
Martin Damveld, Founder and CEO West Mount Concrete 2003 LTD