Some Things to Think About as the Season Comes to an End

It’s that time of year again when many of us find ourselves balancing time between squeezing every last dollar we can out of our season; closing things out and shifting gears for the offseason; and planning our business trip to winter tradeshows. However you see it, the sealcoat season has either ended, or is quickly coming to a close and most of you reading this will soon be experiencing weather conditions that range from slow business to no business. There are a few important things for all contractors to consider as you head into the offseason.

Many contractors will push the limits of their material by working as deep into the fall season as possible, to a time when nice weather is in full retreat, and the opportunities to book work are coming with less and less frequency. It makes sense to continue making sales calls until the snow falls, knowing that you can start building your books for spring. The successful contractor also knows how to best manage the changes in conditions beginning in, for most of the sealcoating world, early October. Below is a small sampling of comments, tips and recommendations made to SealMaster’s people from across the country, by contractors who work in these ever changing-conditions year in and year out:

  • Resist the temptation to do jobs that you, as a professional, believe have low chances of success. Cash-in-hand must be weighed against the possibility of having to redo the work at no cost, and the almost certain hit your reputation will take. It’s better to not do a job, than it is to re-do a job.
  • Be mindful of the weather – if temperatures at application are not 50° and rising for 24 hours; or if there’s a chance of rain in that timeframe, you’re better off holding off on the job rather than risking failure.
  • Try to work in direct sunlight – the effects of cloud cover and shade at this time of year are amplified at this time of year. Start projects later in the day and be sure to conclude the day’s work earlier, giving the water ample time to evaporate before the cooler temperatures of the night set in. If possible, keep your tank inside at night or put a belt heater on it to keep the temperature up.
  • Always try to be aware of the pavement’s temperature. Sealcoaters should be equipped with a digital thermometer for surface temperature monitoring. Most large contractors will not sealcoat unless the surface temperature is 55° and rising.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s mix design. SealMaster locations can assist you with recommendations on the proper amounts of water and sand to add; as well as which specific additives are best for the job you’re doing. Use of less water and more sand, based within the manufacturer’s specified ranges, often help with dry time.
  • Be aware that two coat jobs are difficult to do later in the season. The first coat must be dry before the second can be shot, so it’s often best to plan on 2 or 3 thin coats. The thicker the coat, the longer it takes to cure and bond – the opposite holds true for thinner coats.
  • Encourage your commercial accounts to at least do the crack sealing portion of the job in the fall – this will help protect the asphalt through the freeze/thaw cycle, and will allow for quick work to be booked for spring.

One option that many contractors are choosing is to avoid the changes by continuing their season working in one of the warmer states. Mid-western and east coast dialects can be heard well into January from Southern California through Phoenix, Albuquerque and Texas, and deep into Florida in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale. If you’re considering year-round operation in multiple locations, be sure to check with each state for their specific requirements with regard to taxes, permits and out-of-state worker status. You will want to check with your material suppliers to determine if they are present in your chosen market, and if they are, you will want to let them know in advance that you are coming so they can do their best to ensure material availability. Also, it is common for manufacturers to have agreements with national franchises, chains, and property management companies that can provide consistent, year-round work, to contractors who are willing to travel, and who enjoy a change in scenery.

With the arrival of the offseason comes the task of winterizing your equipment. This key piece of preventative maintenance needs to occur immediately after your last load of the season in order to better your chances of avoiding damage to your pumps. The process of winterization involves flushing and cleaning out material from pumping systems, tanks and hoses, and the protection of the equipment and its components during winter storage. You can greatly extend the life of your equipment and the systems that make it work by following a regular program of maintenance that includes winterizing. For more information, see Winterizing SealMaster Sealer Application Equipment and Winterizing SealMaster Bulk Storage Tanks. We also encourage you to check with the manufacturer of your equipment or your local SealMaster® for advice on how and where to best winterize your equipment.

The off-season is a good time to to research your industry and market, and to invest some time in becoming as knowledgeable as you can about your profession. A little knowledge combined with the experience gained from going to work each day will help you become better at what you do, and will give you the best chance at success.

The SealMaster system continues to grow

New owners have taken over two facilities in Texas and plan to open two others in Missouri and in Oklahoma.

In August, 2010, Dale and Quinn Cutler became the new owners of SealMaster Dallas. The Cutlers were originally slated to open SealMaster Las Vegas, but shifted to Texas rather than continue to pursue the Nevada opportunity.

In September, 2010, John and Marilyn Peterson purchased SealMaster Houston. The Petersons re-opened the facility that had been closed for more than three years.

Also in September, Mike and Irene Bashir purchased SealMaster St. Louis. The Bashirs, who also own SealMaster Chicago, are scheduled to open their St. Louis facility in spring, 2011.

Finally, in December, Kevin and Cathy Gullick finalized plans for the newest SealMaster in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

SealMaster/Baltimore

SealMaster/Baltimore was recently awarded a bid to supply a total of 12 custom made logos to the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA. Please follow the link below for the story as found in the local Fredericksburg Newspaper. http://www.fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2010/112010/11302010/591262

This is the second such project SealMaster/Baltimore was involved in this year. Earlier this summer, The National Zoo in Washington, D.C. completed multiple projects with the assistance of SealMaster/Baltimore; to include safety warnings, as well as nearly 300 custom-made elephant foot prints leading to the elephant exhibit.
12/2/2010-from an email from Tom Decker.

SealMaster®/Houston Re-Opens

SealMaster® is back in Houston! SealMaster®/Houston is open for business under the ownership of John and Marilyn Peterson.

SealMaster®/Houston is located at 14435 I-10 East Freeway on Houston\’s east side. The telephone number is 713-453-7325.

Like all SealMaster® locations, SealMaster®/Houston offers a full-line of pavement maintenance products, including sealcoat, crack filler, traffic paint, sports surface material, equipment and tools.

There are more than 60 SealMaster locations nationwide. For the SealMaster® nearest you, call 800-395-7325.

New Facilities Opening In Florida, California

One new SealMaster® location has opened and another is on the way. The new facilities are in Pinellas County, Fla. and Orange County, Calif. The Pinellas County location, is at 5775 126th Avenue North in Clearwater, Fla. The telephone is (727) 584-1300. The Orange County facility will be opening soon at 719 West Collins Avenue in Orange, Calif. The telephone is (714) 771-7325. For the SealMaster® location nearest you, dial (800) 395-7325.

Changes In Traffic Control Regulation Looming In 2009

The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) is set to begin enforcement of a new set of standards on traffic control markings in January, 2009, as set forth in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The MUTCD is incorporated by Federal Department of Transportation regulations approved by the FHA and recognized as the national standard for traffic control devices used on all public roads and \”roads open to public traffic\”, such as parking lots which are privately owned but where the public is allowed travel without access restrictions.

The new regulations standardize traffic signs, pavement markings and other control devices in an effort to expedite traffic, promote uniformity, improve safety and incorporate technology advances in traffic control device application.

It is important that contractors are aware of the changes, as compliance will not only help avoid fines but will also reduce possible liability resulting from accidents due to non-compliance.

To learn more, contact your local SealMaster® at (800) 395-7325.

Liquid Thermoplastic Introduced at National Pavement Expo West

The latest in traffic paint technology made its appearance at the National Pavement Expo in Las Vegas November 21-22, 2008. The 100 percent acrylic water based Liquid Thermoplastic is a sprayed-on cold-applied material that maintains the durability and performance normally associated with hot-melt thermoplastic applications.

To learn more about this product, contact your local SealMaster® at (800) 395-7325.

Videos Available For Select SealMaster® Equipment

Production is underway of videos detailing the proper operation of select SealMaster® equipment. The first five pieces of equipment supported by videos are the SP300 Dual, the MA-10, the TR300, the SK300 and the TR750. Individual DVDs wil lbe included with the operations manuals for these equipment pieces.

Walsh Brothers Purchase Franchise; SealMaster®/Long Island Opening Soon

Brothers John and Jim Walsh have purchased the SealMaster® franchise for Long Island and metro New York City. SealMaster®/Long Island will feature a full line of pavement maintenance products, equipment and supplies when it opens in the coming months.

The Walsh brothers are veterans of the pavement maintenance industry, having worked with their father in the operation of VelveTop Products.

While SealMaster®/Long Island won’t be fully operational for awhile, professional contractors on Long Island and in metro New York can already begin to purchase many SealMaster® products through the new business.

“It will be a while before we have the plant fully operational and are making SealMaster® sealer, but we are already able to bring many other SealMaster® products to our territory,” said John Walsh.

SealMaster®/Long Island will operate from a facility at 157 Grant Avenue; Islip, NY 11751. The telephone number is (631) 277-2043.

SealMaster®/Denver Wins Franchise Of The Year Award

Fifteen SealMaster® franchises received awards during the annual meeting of SealMaster franchisees held December 10-13, 2007 at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Those receiving awards were SealMaster®/Allentown, SealMaster®/Atlanta, SealMaster®/Baltimore, SealMaster®/Buffalo, SealMaster®/Chicago, SealMaster®/Denver, SealMaster®/Hawaii, SealMaster®/Hillsville, SealMaster®/Louisville, SealMaster®/ Manville, SealMaster®/Milwaukee, SealMaster®/North Carolina, SealMaster®/Phoenix, SealMaster®/St. Paul and SealMaster®/Tampa.

SealMaster®/Denver won the prestigious Franchise of the Year Award for the first time. Six franchises have claimed the Franchise of the Year Award in the 10 years it has been presented, including five in the last five years.

SealMaster®/Hawaii claimed the Rising Star Award.