I’ve been in the construction business most of my professional life. I’ve built houses around the Kansas City area. It’s fun when I run into someone who has lived in one of my houses or someone I worked with. When my partner, Jason, and I decided to start our business, Concrete Raising Systems, we knew we’d be good business partners. I worked with Jason on several projects, and his work ethic and attention to a ‘job well done’ were always there in every job he did. We had a mutual respect for one another and knew that this business and our customers would benefit from our beliefs about how we both do business.

It would be best to start with my definition of a successful business. I would venture to guess that your definition might differ slightly from mine. I know my business is successful when I can pay all my bills on time, take time to vacation with my wife, and my production grows year after year, where a good part of my business is from referrals of past customers and people I meet along the way.

Ken Praiswater, Co-owner, Concrete Raising SystemsI believe that I am successful because of the Five Business Principles that I’ve always lived by. Doing business this way has been a big reason our business is where it is today.


Jason and I end up seeing a lot of potential customers that we frankly can’t help. The polyurethane foam lifting system used on concrete slabs (driveways, sidewalks, porches, steps) must be fixable to bid on a job. Some concrete is too far gone, and we will let people know that right up front. And because we’ve been in construction and home building, we can, more often than not, direct that customer to the proper fix. Being honest has always been a way of life for me.

Respect- Be on time

It’s amazing how often customers say to us, “Thanks for being on time. You’re the first contractor I’ve ever dealt with that showed up when they said they would.” Being on time seems like the natural thing to do. I respect your time, and you respect mine. I’m not saying I’ve never been a minute or two late, but I always call when I know I will be.

Do the right thing.

I have found that if you do the right thing for the right reason, you reap the rewards of having a good reputation. Doing the right thing does not always mean that I will make a lot of money, but it does mean that I can sleep at night knowing I did what I should have. Sleeping well is important to me, and so is my reputation. It takes a lifetime to build and only a moment (or a project) to call it into question.

Work with the best people.

Jason Roland and Ken Praiswater of Concrete Raising Systems, Kansas City, MO at the KC Home Show. Their business is repairing sinking concrete by lifting it with polyurethane foam which spreads 7 feet in either direction and won't sink again like traditional mud jacking

Jason Roland and Ken Praiswater

I have always tried to find the best people for the job. They may not have always had all the skills, but they definitely had the right attitude and the best work ethic. When you work with people you trust, you can help others improve or grow. It will not be easy when Jason and I consider adding another person to our company. We have to find the right person who will care about what we’ve built almost as much as we do. I don’t expect that to be an easy task.

Know more than everybody else.

I don’t think customers want to hire someone who can do everything from soup to nuts anymore. They are looking for people who specialize in a certain skill or service—someone who knows everything there is to know about what they need. Customers don’t want everything under one roof anymore. They want specialists. I think that’s why we’ve done as well as we have. We do this one thing and do it better than anyone else in Kansas City. That has improved our reputation and ability to serve our customers and referral sources well.

When I think back over the last few years about all the different skills I’ve developed and the skills I was born with, I have to say that knowing what business principles to focus on has made a big difference in my success as a businessman. I am proud to live in Kansas City and be able to help people the way I do. Jason and I are pretty grateful for what we’ve done so far and believe 2024 will be another record year.

Ken Praiswater, Concrete Raising Systems

2 replies
  1. Chad Pfeffer says:

    There is no denying that these are the best principles any small business owner could go by. I still believe you can tell a man’s worth usually in the first few minutes of being introduced and this is true about the company they run. You have a quality service and respect for your clients and that will only continue to help you grow.

  2. Catherine Stephenson says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you on all these principles in life and in business. My dance studio tries to embody all these aspects and I believe it keeps the customers coming back and very happy! Keep up the good work!

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