"A lot of people say we're like ghosts because they never see us. They leave work and come back the next morning and it's all striped."
Frederickson says that because he expects his crews to work at night, he is out on the job at night, too.
"I don't expect them to do anything I won't do," he says. "It helps earn their respect."
He says that because the company does so much night work he takes extra safety precautions, including adding extra lights and reflective tape to trucks and equipment.
"I don't worry about getting the job done; I worry about getting the crews there and back safely," he says.
One crew works only during the day (the amount of daytime jobs increases significantly after Labor Day), but the focus early in the season is on restriping night work. They try to save ramps and parking garages for rainy nights so they can keep working even when the weather is bad.
"We don't want to be striping those things on nice nights if we can help it," he says.
While many striping contractors put at least several people on each crew to get each job done quickly, Frederickson says Superior Striping's efficiency stems from its decision to rely on one-person "crews," each crew outfitted with all the tools and equipment he needs.
"It's surprising how much work one guy can do," Frederickson says. "One guy can do so much work in one night it's incredible. One night we had one guy stripe 1,100 parking stalls by himself."
Plus, by having more trucks on the road Superior Striping carries less paint (less than 1,000 lbs.) in each vehicle so the company doesn't have to plaquard the trucks.
To make the one-person-crew approach work, Superior Striping invests heavily in equipment, providing each person with a truck, trailer, and just about anything a striper could conceivably need on a job, including three striping machines (for white, yellow and an extra color), a LineDriver, basic stencils, paint, and a backpack blower. Miscellaneous items on each trailer include spray paint, chalk and lumber crayons, spill kit, fire extinguisher, safety equipment (including hearing protection, safety vests and respirators), hard hats, boots, pants (for new construction jobs), brooms, squeegees, ice scraper (to scrape curbs), strainer, striper spare parts, measuring wheels, caution tape, cones, string line (mounted on a brake drum), and basic tools.
While the trailers carry standard stencils, other less-common stencils (drive thru, visitor, reserved, no parking) are stored in the shop for people to use as needed. Sometimes trucks carry a fourth machine if a job requires an additional color or latex paint, and Superior Striping has a number of extra stripers, trucks, and even trailers in case of a breakdown.
"We try to customize the trailers so they work real efficiently for us," Frederickson says. "There's not too many times where a guy calls in and asks us to bring something to him on a job."
Superior Striping also has added additional lighting above the trailer tool boxes so workers can find what they need at night, and trailers feature large side doors, which make it easier to fill machines with paint. A firm believer in reinvesting in the company, Frederickson also buys new equipment every year. "We try to buy something new for each person so each truck and trailer has something new," he says.
But there is one downside to having each person be assigned his own truck and trailer.
"Every time I buy something for one guy's trailer I have to buy eight of them because everyone wants one," Frederickson says. "A guy will see it and say 'Can you get me one of those?' and I do because you wouldn't want it any other way. You want them to want the best tools and equipment so they can do - and want to do - the best job."
The company's purchase of its first Graco LineDriver is a perfect example.
"The first time I brought home a LineDriver the guys looked at it and said 'What the heck' and it sat there for the last two months of the season. The next year, once they got the hang of it, they were fighting over it, and I had to buy one for every truck. I don't think my guys would ever push a striping machine again."