Forum Title: Your first year in the business
Hey guys, great forum been lurking here for a while. I think i may have met some of you at NPE 2019. Had a question about your first year experiance sealcoating and or striping. How much did you invest in equiptment, what kind of total sales where you able to do? If you could do it over again knowing what you know now, what would you do different?
Category: Paving Post By: JAMIE WEBER (Centennial, CO), 01/03/2020

Welcome to the forums! Are you in business or just looking at it? I don’t know that my answers would help as it was long ago before equipment was so pricey. We started striping, and were probably in it less than $5,000....not including a truck. But those same machines are $15k with a driver now. We didn’t know what we were doing and didn’t make money for a while. I was expensive education. Eventually we gravitated to sealcoating (just as sealcoaters are moving to paving) and got more in debt, and still didn’t make money. The biggest reasons were uncontrolled and not knowing our costs. That’s why I’m such a big job cost person. If if we could do it over....hmmm. Well I’d think long and hard about this industry honestly. The barrier to entry is so low-so you get lots of guys who don’t know how to run a business, and will drag the whole market down. It’s very competitive. But if I did do it, I would remain small, lean and mean. Success isn’t determined by the new shiny equipment, but rather profit you can make...and trust me, not many guys are profitable. I would also find a way to hire a consultant. Not a big guy like Tony Robbins, obviously, but rather someone who has been there and done that. Someone that I could pay a fair amount of time to spend a few days or week getting us in line. Knowledge is power. I could probably list dozens of other stuff, but those would be the biggest....and that’s if I did it. Knowing what I do, is really not the best market IMHO.

- ALICIA MCCOY (Pasadena, TX), 01/31/2020

I started sealcoating for 10,000. I bought a homemade trailer with new sealrite components, handtools, melter, ect.. Bought the equipment in September and did $16,000 gross by the end of season. I had a relationship with an established striper which is why I was able to get any jobs that first fall. Plan on netting 40% of your gross and you'll be ahead of most guys sealcoating. You can net 60% on striping. My second season I was able to gross $45,000 with not much money spent on equipment. I also helped my buddy stripe which earned another $15,000. Last year I did over 120,000 gross by pricing aggressively and building relationships. My striping buddy also let me rent his equipment for my jobs. In January I went big and spent 50k buying the striping business. It has historically grossed near $70,000 with no promotion or advertising, but my buddy wanted out as it was supposedly a part time job that turned full time and he's a pastor that did me a good turn. I now have to decide whether or not I want to stay lean or if I want to grow Beyond subcontractors. I'm getting old and so I would like to build it big enough that I don't have to be in the parking lots in 5 years. On the other hand, if I can grow the striping I don't mind doing that into my 50s. would I do it again? Absolutely, I chose to stay on the lower cost side of sealcoating & Striping & not go into paving and to stay smaller. My advice is to be honest to a fault and under promise and over deliver. Any contractor that is able to do that in any industry will succeed. If you're honest people will respect you and refer you. I've had dozens of people thank me for my honesty and as a result I've gotten those jobs and several others. Good luck!

- LORRAINE DAY (Azusa, CA), 01/31/2020

Thank you for that response. I am starting my operation with sealcoating and striping in 2 months. I have about a 10k budget after i have my sealcoating trailer, already have a truck. Already plan to have mentors who are veterans in the field. Plan to do alot of in person and online marketing.

- LORRAINE DAY (Azusa, CA), 01/31/2020

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