Coquitlam-based Eco Paving is finding rapid success by helping pioneer the use of recycled-rubber paving material in the Lower Mainland.
Previously an interior design student at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Eco Paving founder Bradley Lavigne launched his company in 2010 after leaving school a year earlier. The company uses recycled tire rubber from a local factory mixed with a binding agent to pave over commercial and residential surfaces such as driveways, patios, pool decks and playgrounds.
Ranking seventh on Business in Vancouver’s list of the top 100 fastest-growing companies in B.C., Eco Paving posted revenue growth from $219,687 in 2012 to $3,408,719 in 2016 – a 1,452% increase. It has 38 employees.
Lavigne said that besides the company’s digital marketing efforts, the main reason for its rapid growth was its dedicated staff.
“We definitely have better people,” he said. “We definitely work harder at improving ourselves constantly, which is kind of why we’ve separated from the pack.”
The company’s recycled paving material is non-slip and resistant to ice buildup – solid selling points in a rain-prone city like Vancouver.
Aside from being resistant to harsh weather, the main advantage to rubber paving is that the material can be laid down over existing concrete or asphalt without having to first tear up the pavement – allowing customers to save time and money, according to Lavigne.
After it’s installed, rubber pavement is also crack-resistant and easy to maintain, he said, with customers rarely having to request servicing.
“Typically, if there isn’t really any issue, we generally don’t have to talk to them for about six or seven years,” Lavigne said. “You’d have to do a lot more resealing [with asphalt], whereas ours, you don’t really have to as much.”
The main challenge faced by rubber paving companies is that because the installations are so long-lasting, there are few repeat customers. One reason the company might have edged out its competitors is that it has secured a larger market share by being an early pioneer of rubber paving in Vancouver. Lavigne said it was the second company to offer the service in the area.
“That’s the challenge of our business, because typically we don’t get a lot of repeat customers,… so we have to be really good at sales and marketing to be able to facilitate the growth – and, obviously, operations and administration.”
While the company services the en
tire Lower Mainland, it is particularly popular in Coquitlam and Maple Ridge for residential driveways, he said.
Eco Paving is planning to expand as a chain next year by offering franchises to operators in other Canadian cities.