Southern Stain and Seal was founded in 2007 as a service company specializing in wood restoration and concrete sealing. As a manufacturing engineer, I immediately began researching and testing every product and process on the market. What we found was an industry in enormous demand, but also riddled with problems. Of the hundreds of products we tested, most were garbage or the exact same thing with a different label. Contractors and homeowners were having failure after failure due to poor products or the lack of information on how to use them. After a very successful four years, we decided to follow our passion to help others do what we had done. On July 2, 2011 we shut down the service company and began sharing what we had learned. Our focus is now on bringing both contractors and homeowners the products, training and guidance they need to be successful. We truly believe that if our customers are successful, then we will be also.
Long before social media, we had a page on our website called "Our Front Porch". Similar to a blog, I updated the page weekly with pictures, local happenings and updates about what we were up to. I still remember a line from that page:
"Everyone likes to do business with people they know, and we hope this page helps you get to know us a little better".
In those days we were a local service company, so it was easy to connect with our customers face to face. Today things are different. Sometimes we get the chance to connect by phone call or email, but in most cases orders are placed and orders are shipped with neither party knowing anything about each other. So, here is a little bit about us, and we hope this page helps you get to know us a little better.
We're not giant corporation or big box home store. After fifteen years, we're still 100% family owned and operated and continue to insist on handling every aspect of the business ourselves in house. Tech support, order processing, shipping, receiving, web development, photography, graphic design, accounting, and everything else. A lot of work? Yeah, but we're proud of the relationship it allows us to build with both our customers and vendors.
How It All Started...
Way too early on a Sunday morning I got a random call from my brother who was a fence and deck contractor. Apparently his workers weren't as enthusiastic as he was about working on the weekend. He was in a bind and needed someone to help him finish installing a privacy fence. I had nothing else going on that day, so I said "Sure, as long as you're buying lunch."
About halfway through the day, the homeowner came outside to check out the progress. I was nearby and overheard him ask my brother if he thought he should put a stain or sealer on the fence after it was completed. My brother just shrugged his shoulders and said "I dunno." A little while later the homeowner reappeared, walked up to my brother and asked "Do you know anyone who stains fences?" He shook his head and said "nope." Again the homeowner retreated to the house and we continued working. Another hour or so passed and for a third time the homeowner (clearly on a mission) walked up and again asked "Are you sure I don't need to stain or seal the fence after you're finished"? My brother was getting somewhat frustrated at this point. He looked at the guy and said "I have no idea. I just build fences. I don't know anything about staining or sealing."
That's when it hit me like a truck. This guy was literally begging for someone to stain his fence, and my brother who was in the fence building business, knew nothing about it and knew no one who did it! I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I can do simple math...
DEMAND + NO SUPPLY = GOOD BUSINESS IDEA!
A couple months and a LOT of research and testing later, Southern Stain and Seal was born on July 7, 2007.
How We're Different...
The last 15 years have certainly taught us a lot of lessons. We've crossed paths with more than our fair share of greedy crooks and con-artists, but they always remind us of why we started this in the first place. Our promise has always been to bring you quality products, from real manufacturers that care about your success as much as we do. Here are a couple of the core values that promise is built on.
* No private labels. No fake products.
This was one of the most influential factors in our decision to pursue distribution instead of installed services. It seems like on every corner there is a shiny new can, with a flashy new label, with the same exact product inside. Each time, sold at an inflated price by someone who pretends to be the manufacturer. Sorry, No thanks. When I need technical support, safety information or warranty support, I want it to come from the company who actually made the product.
* No spammy marketing.
We don't blow up your inbox or clog your Facebook feed with ads.
* No Bull.
"Never seal your deck again!" "100 year warranty!" "Loose 30 pounds in one week!"
Blah, blah, Blah. You know what I mean. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
You'll always get the honest truth from us.
* We don't compete against you. Our success depends on you being successful.
Pay special attention to this one if you're a professional contractor! It still amazes me how many "suppliers" in this industry also run service companies and compete directly against their own customers. Not only do they compete against them, they do it at an unfair advantage. Trust me, we've been on both sides and I promise you the big money is not made on the product sales side. These "double dippers" aren't all in for your success.
Thanks for taking the time to learn a little more about us and what makes us different. Whether you're a homeowner, business owner or professional contractor, we look forward to working with you!
- David & Ashley