Company Thrives With Hydrodemolition Niche

Premium Hydro Solutions was just getting started when it was last featured in Cleaner magazine in 2010. Eight years later, the decision to focus on using waterblasting to do concrete removal remains unchanged and it’s paying off.

Company Thrives With Hydrodemolition Niche

A Premium Hydro Solutions crew on a job in Arizona.

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Dustin Prevost started his company in 2008 around a highly specialized service — concrete removal using high-pressure waterblasting.

Two years into the venture, the Alpena, Michigan-based business Premium Hydro Solutions was featured in Cleaner magazine and had already experienced a good amount of success, developing some repeat customers and having completed jobs in four different states and Canada. That concrete removal niche remains successful today, though the company has branched out with its service offerings.

“Concrete cutting is still our primary mission,” says Prevost, 37.  “Still doing the same thing we were just getting started doing when we were interviewed by Cleaner magazine in the fall of 2010. We’ve added some new services, however. We had a lot of the equipment already, so why not expand our list of services? Today we do a lot of industrial cleaning — any kind of waterblasting, industrial vacuuming, jetting out pipes, and things like that — because they go hand-in-hand with our standard concrete cutting projects. Now we bust it and clean it up.”

Many of Premium Hydro Solutions’ contracts today are a result of the push to rehabilitate the country’s crumbling infrastructure — hydrodemolition of concrete structures like bridges, dams, airports, highway overpasses, power plants, and parking garages.

“We’ve definitely been busier, that’s for sure,” Prevost says. “Not necessarily with new markets opening up, but with more of what we traditionally do. There are more opportunities now to bid on, more contracts are available.”

And those opportunities have been taking the company all over the country.

“We’re nationwide, coast to coast. When somebody calls with a project, anywhere in the country, we just put gas in the Peterbilt and we’re like Willie Nelson: On the road again,” Prevost says.

Premium Hydro Solutions was last featured in the magazine in November 2010.
Premium Hydro Solutions was last featured in the magazine in November 2010.

Premium Hydro Solutions started with two service rigs and the increased workload over the years has led to the company now having four — outfitted with a robotic concrete cutter, nozzles, hoses, and high-pressure (20,000 to 40,000 psi) pumps. The company maintains a workforce of about 15 to 20, up from the four technicians Prevost employed a decade ago.

“We don’t publicize our revenue figures, but income has steadily grown in our first decade of existence.  From our 2008 start to now, revenue has jumped 60 to 70 percent over that time,” Prevost says.

Working largely in a “low bid” market, it’s imperative that Premium Hydro Solutions keep operating expenses low and be able to remove concrete faster than competitors. So to that end, while the company uses pumps made by NLB, the actual robotic concrete cutters are designed and manufactured in-house.

“Our in-house-designed robots have the largest cutting surface in the industry (96 inches), unmatched in our line of work, and a nozzle system that increases up-time by 25 percent,” Prevost says. “Our original robot model still does the basic job and we keep tweaking it, modifying it to make it into an even better machine. The long up-time and robust build of our robots has given us a competitive edge.

“Our robots look the same on the outside, but there’s a lot of internal stuff we’ve changed to make them more efficient tools. We’re always trying to evolve our equipment and make the job more user-friendly. Every year we talk about what we’ve considered the robot’s weakest link over the last 12 months, the thing the guys have had the most problems with, and we re-design and re-engineer it trying to eliminate that weak link. The guys not only troubleshoot, but they brainstorm improvements for better operation, better ergonomics, reducing parts costs, and increasing longevity.”

As for the future?

“Growth is desirable, but at a slower, more comfortable pace,” Prevost says. “I don’t want to get too big, too fast, and get sloppy in the process. We’d expand to a fifth rig and another crew if volume demands, but the market is hard to predict. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, but summer construction season, traditionally from March to October, is pretty busy for us and we flex our schedules to meet client need. There’s really no solid reason why one month might be busier than the others, we just take it as it comes along.

“It’s never been easy, but it’s all been good.”

Playing Catch-Up

Cleaner has been revisiting companies profiled in the past to see what has happened to them since they last graced the pages of the magazine. Check out these other update stories about past Cleaner contractors:

Company Looks at Fine-Tuning Operations Following Rapid Growth

Sticking to Key Business Principles Drives Company's Growth

Young Plumber Continues to Grow Longtime LA Firm

Company Doubles Revenue By Sticking to Its Customer Service Principles

Contractor Adapts to Changing Demands of Service Area

Company Maintains Success By Cutting Back Service Offerings

Company Finds Success Staying Small, Focusing on Niche Market

Franchise Route Proves Successful for Upstate New York Drain Cleaner

Recruiting Local Talent at Core of Company’s Growth Strategy

Plumbing Contractor Fully Embraces Trenchless Technologies


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