We read and hear the "R" word just about everywhere we turn lately, but what impact might a recession - if we're in one or if we slide into one - have on this industry?
Well, in any economic slowdown contractors might evaluate equipment purchases more closely, try to stretch equipment use with duct tape and baling wire, and hope to get by a little longer with what they already own. But research shows that crews are often more productive and more efficient - that means more profitable - when working with a newer technology and equipment that doesn't break down. (Plus, if you're a contractor who borrows to buy, you might take closer look at current interest rates, which as of this writing just declined for the second time this year. Recession or not this might be the perfect time to replace or upgrade.) But what about material producers - producers of sealer, paint, cracksealant, additives - even hot mix? How might they fare in a recession? That would depend on if contractors are working, because if contractors are working, they need something to be working with.
And recession or not, contractors don't stop working, and this is more true now than it was 10 or even five years ago. Unlike many other industries, the paving and pavement maintenance industry is recession resistant because the work is always out there. Pavements don't go away, they continue to deteriorate. Parking lots don't become Teflon-coated, they still need sweeping. True, new construction paving might slow, but a look at last year's commercial construction figures shows that's clearly not a problem in that sector, and overlays as a maintenance practice have become commonplace. Plus many homeowners, property managers, and public agencies have grasped the concept of preventive maintenance, and they understand that pennies spent now could be a dollar saved later (visit www.pavementonline.com and click on "The Chart" for a vivid explanation) so your clients are still going to need their pavements cracksealed, repaired, and sealcoated. And if any of that happens there's a striping job out there for someone to tackle. So recession or not you can still use your expertise and your service to make an impact on your customers, their business, and their pavements.