The materials used in striping can be as varied as the equipment used to apply them. Most beginning stripers mark lines and stencils using paint. But another material, thermoplastics, can be used. Some thermoplastics require specialized equipment to heat and apply markings, but many contractors are becoming adept at using preformed thermoplastics to construct longer-lasting markings for symbols including handicap symbols, stop bars, turn arrows, and wording or lettering.
Liles says thermoplastics aren't often used by beginning stripers, but contractors should make sure they are at least familiar with thermoplastics in case they use them later down the road.
Paints, because they are formulated for differing factors such as climate, often vary by region, Malloy says. Muellenbach and Malloy agree that the best place a contractor can learn about materials is through a good supplier.
Contractors should find a supplier they can rely on, someone who will answer their striping and material questions. Malloy suggests finding a company that specializes in supplying paint for the striping industry.
Wehner agrees. "It's probably common that the person he buys the material from is going to be the same person he buys the equipment from, the same person that he has the equipment serviced from, and that he buys his parts and accessories from," he says. "It's a relationship business."
For contractors already in the pavement maintenance industry, adding striping services or branching out into the striping industry can be seen as a brand extension. "Every opportunity to have more transactions with your existing customer base potentially makes your business grow faster and makes your customer relationships stronger because you become more valuable to them," Malloy says.
And if you are already in the pavement maintenance business you might have a better understanding of how the striping industry works, even if it isn't a part of the industry you normally work in. Sometimes this can make for a smooth transition into striping, Muellenbach says. Plus, contractors already involved in the pavement maintenance industry may already have some or most of the tools needed for striping. The biggest task then is to just get a feel for the new type of equipment required for striping, Muellenbach adds.
Whether a company is looking to add striping to its current pavement maintenance business or is brand new in the industry, the concerns are the same. "The biggest thing when a contractor wants to get into a market is he needs to understand what he's getting involved in," Muellenbach says.
Tools for striping contractors
Layout Tools: Equipment: Other: