I have been in the Stone Restoration business for approximately 25 years, prior to that I was licensed Ceramic Tile and Marble installation contractor. At the high point of my installation contracting I had about 12 employees and at times, felt more like a baby sitter than a contractor. My installation business grew faster than my ability to find good help. I loved the trade and still do but the paperwork and headaches involved with having so many employees seemed to take all the fun out of it.
When I first began installing marble floors I did some work for another contractor who came onto the job one day boasting about all the work he had just signed up in downtown Los Angeles in the field of marble restoration. This was about 1987. He was talking about how much work there was in that industry, how much money one could make, and how few people knew how to do it.
My ears perked up. I knew that a specialized service business without much competition was the way to go, a business which took some time to learn, required hard to find training and fairly expensive equipment to get started. I felt that this was it and based on this one conversation, decided to make a move.
I bought some start-up equipment, a 175 rpm. floor machine and a stainless steel wet vacuum. I attended an IASRC (International Association of Stone Restoration and Conservation) conference where I made some valuable contacts, and installed a stone “practice floor” at the side of my parent’s house with travertine, granite, and marble tiles of many different varieties all mixed in together. Then I started experimenting.
From there I continued with my garage experiments and “tail-gate-testing” and started doing more and more restoration jobs as they came up, eventually phasing out the installation altogether. I changed my business name and made restoration the primary focus, mainly marble polishing. I am glad that I evolved into restoration frominstallationand what that background brings into it. It was a very natural progression.
When I look at the way the industry is today and how much it has changed over the years, it is truly amazing. It is so much easier these days. Much of the ease for me today is experience, but even for the newcomer it is a wonderful trade and much more inviting to get into now than back in the day when I entered into it.