1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community in the Franchising forum .

    Dismiss Notice

UNILOCK authorized contractor

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by diginahole, Feb 18, 2001.

  1. diginahole

    diginahole LawnSite Member
    Posts: 249

    Are there any Unilock authorized contractors out there? What are your thoughts about the program? Ive been authorized for about 15 years and think that the system needs changing, but I'm just not sure how. Are ther any similar programs by other companies?
  2. mike48114

    mike48114 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 124

    We just got into brick pavers about 3 years ago and I find the Unilock Authorized Contractor Program is really helpfull. You cant ask for anythng more than FREE leads, help with jobs, another company to stand behind your work, and all that good s@@@... I think you have been with them so long you might just come to expect it !


    [Edited by paul on 02-18-2001 at 09:12 PM]
  3. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,361

    We are an authorized Belgard contractor. Benefits include a slight price break, some advertising help, ability to offer a life-time product warranty (not to be confused with an installation warranty), training, support and leads from dealers. Belgard even sponsored a VanDer Kooi seminar that was free for auth. contractors. Not sure how that compares with Unilock. Unilock is just starting to look at coming into our area so maybe we'll see eventually.
  4. diginahole

    diginahole LawnSite Member
    Posts: 249

    Don't get me wrong, IMHO the Unilock program is a great idea, I wouldn't have stayed involved in it for 15 years if I believed otherwise.I am very proud of my affiliation with Unilock. I have witnessed huge improvements in this program since it began. The leads are there everyday that I want them, they are all pre-qualified as well as followed up after they have been assigned. Now Unilock only sends two contractors on any given lead. VanderKooi seminars and the like are offered once or twice a year, Awards of excellence, product literature, engineering services and customer dispute arbitration are just a few of the bennefits of this program. Even a great system has room for improvement. One idea that I have been kicking around in my head has been for some sort of territory liscencing (or franchising) system where a contractor could purchase the rights to sell installed Unilock products in a given area or get commision on sales generated by Unilock leads in that area. Anybody have thoughts on a system like that? I am sure that there are systems like this in place for many types of products. I figure that this would be a good place to kick around ideas like that before approching the brass at Unilock.

    Blair Deutekom
  5. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    We used to be an authorized Unilock Installer, but we switched to doing parks we dropped it because they wanted us to do homeowners, and we where not set up to do them so we told them thanks but no thanks:) We still buy alot of pavers from them and get invites for all there classes and new products we see most times before others do.
  6. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 621


    We are an authourized Unilock contractor. We are located in the Cleveland, Ohio area.

    They opened a factory here about three years ago. We "put all our eggs in one basket" an jumped on board with the progam.

    It has left alot to be desired compared to how they described it. But, they are slowly getting up to speed. It gets better each year as they implement new systems into the program.

    How to make it better?

    I am not sure how your idea would work, at least for me. It seems, that you would have to take Unilock on as a partner. Similar to a McDonalds franchise. You own it and the territroy but they tell how and when to do things without always telling you why.

    I'd like to see some advertising or co-advertising help like Lanelle receives from Belgard.


  7. diginahole

    diginahole LawnSite Member
    Posts: 249

    We have co-op advertising in Ontario, its based on last years sales volumes.
  8. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    Unilock's presence is very slight in my area, and they're always looking for a way to boost market share wherever they are. So when I was at Midam I asked about the possibility of setting up a distributorship in NE Wisconsin. They said they don't like to set up dists where the seller/dist will also be competing for projects with other paver installers.

    So, that policy may factor in their response to your proposal.
  9. diginahole

    diginahole LawnSite Member
    Posts: 249

    So far I haven't made any proposals to Unilock. I would have to get all my ducks in a row before I went to them with an idea like this.
    Authorized Dealers are the only way for the retail customer to purchase Unilock products here. Anybody who calls himself a contractor can sell installed Unilock products though. It would seem to be in the best interest of Unilock and its Autorized Contractors that thier products be installed only by trained pros. How to accomplish this goal is still a mystery to me. The way it is now Unilock only tries to educate the public how to choose a good contractor and refers a few that they know to be quality oriented.
    It seems that it is very easy to get on this list, maybe a better check system is in order. I can't remember the last time I have seen a Unilock rep at one of my jobsites (at least 3 years). They may be following up completed jobs by phone but I have never heard any evidence of this. Better installations equals better product which makes for easier and therfore more sales.

    Blair D.
  10. Andrew Hardscape

    Andrew Hardscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    Blair I'm happy to see that you take the paver industry seriously! My company is an authorized installer of Belgard Pavers.

    We have the same concerns as you are expressing. Although I must say we do get good support from Belgard. Anytime we need something or a problem arises, they are quick to react.

    Belgard requires authorized contractor candidates to have a minimum of 10 paver jobs under their belt. Also depending on the state a contractor is located in, the contractor must be licensed and insured in that state if state laws require. This helps eliminate the "fly by nighters." Although a few inexperienced, low quality contractors slip by. Does UNILOCK have any requirements at all to become an authorized installer?

    But don't forget these paver manufacturers are in the business of selling squae footage. Sometimes they are more concerned with dollar signs than they are of quality installs. Now I don't agree with this.

    I suggest you write your manufacturer contractor coordinator a letter and express your feelings and concerns. I wrote a letter to our manufacturer last year regarding a particular matter and it really did get some peoples attention.

Share This Page