Business Models for Model Businesses

Anyone watching the paving and pavement maintenance market over the last decade or so would recognize the varied efforts to crack the code of developing a successful business in this challenging, changing industry. From weekend warriors and family-owned companies to informal relationships, formal business groups, vanity numbers – and more – innovative contractors are tackling the “how to” of being successful in this industry.

We’ve always held fast to the idea that there are plenty of ways to start, operate, and grow a successful pavement maintenance business, and this issue offers two clear cut, very different, examples.

First is a business model – the franchise – that is just recently available for the pavement marking industry. Designed to help newcomers and experienced contractors establish and grow a pavement marking business, the franchise model, according to the folks who sell and own them, can shortcut the business development process, getting a striping company up and running in a relatively short time. Franchises also help brand and market the contractor, enabling him (or her) to better pursue the national accounts that are the brass ring so many contractors are reaching for these days. This issue of Pavement (page 20) takes a look at how those two franchises – Yellow Dawg Striping and We Do Lines – operate and talk with contractors who have opted for that approach.

To be fair, franchise operations aren’t for everyone so we thought we’d talk to Mike Cumming (page 10), a long-time industry veteran who started his striping company, Marking Systems, the old-fashioned way, almost lost it, then rebuilt it and developed a successful business model that has enabled him to add two locations – with more expansion plans in the works.

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