Well, first of all, I should note that pavers are HOT HOT HOT this year. I've never seen more requests for paver jobs in all my life. I don't know if that's because we now have a lot more photos of our paver work on our website or just because it's getting more popular in general or maybe because the variety of pavers these days are a lot nicer than what used to be available. I tend to think it's a mixture of the last two, but requests for paver jobs are the #1 thing we get these days. It's crazy. Anyway, I was giving a bid last night and was reminded of something I come across fairly regularly; A customer is looking for a new patio for their back yard. They are considering pavers or stamped concrete. And someone has already come by and tried to talk them out of pavers and got them all excited about stamped concrete. So now they are leaning toward stamped concrete and asking me if I do that (no, we don't). So now I am in the position of talking them into pavers, so we'll get the job. The customer asks me what I think of stamped concrete and tells me they really like the look of it and are leaning that way. So I tell them, "Well, I really like the look of a good stamped concrete job too. Concrete has come a long ways in recent years. But some of the same problems remain....." Then we get into a discussion of concrete's weaknesses. I mention things like cracking. My paver rep. always says, "There are two types of concrete: Cracked Concrete - and - 'Gonna Crack' Concrete". So sometimes I'll use that line. I also discuss how the stamped concrete makes a nice facade of rock or tile or whatever - until you get to the control joints. Then that always kind of ruins the facade. I mention that it's difficult to add on to and impossible to fix if it cracks or settles. All these problems are things that pavers don't have. Then I start to sell them on the strengths of pavers. First, I show them some of the new varieties out there (Arbel by Belgard, Venetian by Pavestone, etc.) just to show them how far pavers have come in recent years. I find a lot of people still have the old-school home depot interlocking pavers in their head. So I update that image in their head with some photos of newer paver products and jobs. Then I discuss the benefits of pavers; doesn't crack, easy to add on to, easy to fix if something like tree roots cause part of the patio to rise, no big control joints, etc. Finally, I try to address any concerns with them. Seems the two most common concern is with weeds growing in the joints and with settling. They've seen paver patios that have settled and look all warbly and seen pavers with lots of weeds in the joints. I explain we use a polymeric sand that doesn't leave anything soft in the joints to grow in and I explain how those paver patios they've seen were not installed by someone who knows how to prepare the base properly and then I point out several large complexes around town they know that have had pavers for years and they still hold up like the day they were installed. Anyway, seems like I am in a constant war with these Stamped Concrete contractors. Seems they don't do pavers so they just bad-mouth them. And then I am in a defacto war against them trying to explain why their product has some concerns and trying to defend pavers. Just something I've seen over and over again. I've actually landed a lot of bids this way - talking people out of stamped. But there are times I never hear back too and I assume they went with the stamped anyway. Anyone notice the same thing when you are out giving bids?