There are several ways to determine the success of an event like World of Concrete. One way is to look at the numbers. For instance, attendance for the 2013 show in February totaled 54,869. Over 1300 indoor and outdoor exhibitors at the Las Vegas Convention Center took up 605,000 square feet of space.

All of those numbers are increases over the previous year. But more important was the attitude, which to me and many others I talked to was the most positive in several years. This should translate into better business for contractors and stronger equipment and materials sales the next several months and, hopefully, years.

The record attendance at the annual Concrete Polishing Luncheon & Forum was another good indicator of optimism for this niche industry segment. A record 170 attendees talked about business strategies among themselves and listened to industry experts speak about different facets of the polished concrete industry.

While everyone wants to learn about the latest innovations in equipment, materials, and technology, Chris Wright, vice president and co-owner of Durable Surfaces Concrete Repair, Malvern, Pa., reminded attendees to pay attention to the basics. Develop good relationships with vendors, hire good employees, buy good equipment, and be sure it’s in good operating condition when you arrive at the jobsite. Wright focused on how to salvage distressed concrete. “There is tremendous opportunity for polishing and staining repaired concrete,” he said. “Residential is a good niche market for distressed concrete. We have educated homeowners that need good polished concrete in their garages and basements.”

Stress concrete’s sustainable qualities, said Roy Bowman, owner of Concrete Visions, Tulsa, Okla. “Properly refined polished concrete provides the end-user with a clean-looking, aesthetically pleasing, low-maintenance floor,” he said. “What color is polished concrete? Green for the customer and the environment, and green for your pocketbook.”

Always approach a job with an action plan, advised Chris Van Veen, of GranQuartz, a coatings equipment supplier in Tucker, Ga. Van Veen stressed the importance of developing a maintenance program for the client after the job is complete. Polishing contractors usually know the clients better than others who specialize in maintenance, he said.

Special thanks to the International Concrete Polishing & Staining Conference (ICPSC) for sponsoring the luncheon. Concrete Surfaces is the official publication of the ICPSC, which takes place Sept. 12-15, 2013, in Atlanta.