Since then they have customized the LineDrivers to enable them to carry cones, string line, buckets, and stencils. They've added tail lights, wider turf tires for additional stability, an umbrella, and Jim Lunay, Lunay Liners, designed hitches to connect LineDrivers to his Lunay Liners.
As part of the company's approach to wanting the employees to feel like it's their own company, Superior Striping makes a special effort, including with salary. Frederickson says Superior Striping pays its employees well because they not only work long hours and weekends but they work tough hours, at night.
"If they want a day off, no problem" Frederickson says. "If something comes up in their life, we'll work it out. I want them to think of it as their own business, and if it's your own business and you need the time, you need the time. That's just how it is."
Superior Striping also provides life insurance, contributes to employees' health insurance during the season, and has a retirement program.
"We contribute 10% of their gross pay into it each year. They can put in as much as they want," he says. "That's one of the best things we did."
Frederickson says the company doesn't lose many people. In fact, most employees have been with Superior Striping for about 10 years so the company has more than 100 years of combined experience.
"All that experience makes us very efficient," he says.
Marketing & bidding
Superior Striping does quite a bit of advertising, primarily to property owners and managers. Frederickson says the only Yellow Pages ad they use is the free ad; instead they target their marketing dollars more directly by regularly advertising with the Institute of Real Estate Management, the Minnesota Shopping Center Association, and the National Association of Office & Industrial Properties.
"Just about every property manager belongs to at least one of those so by advertising there we are able to reach the person we most want to reach," Frederickson says.
Superior Striping also donates promotional items to various dinners and golf outings, which Frederickson says is the best advertising money Superior Striping spends.
"I have no problem donating $500 worth of promotional items to an outing to support an organization and to make an impact with our presence," he says. "But it's not just support for them. If we spend $500 we don't expect to get $500 back, we expect to eventually get $10,000 back."
Superior Striping also donates work to local organizations such as Caring & Sharing Hands and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
"We believe in being part of the community; we don't just want to be located here," he says.
Superior Striping starts its marketing in the winter, developing bids and getting brochures ready, then sends them out before spring.
"I start bidding Jan. 1 to get ready for April. I send out a lot of bids even if they don't ask me for them. That way they've got the bid in hand, and they can call and award it to us if they want to. It also gets them thinking."
In most instances Superior Striping is not bidding against anyone for a job, and on 80% of last year's jobs he never saw a customer.
"I just talk with them over the phone and send them a bid," he says "If they accept it, we get the job done for them."
He's able to do that because the company has records of every job it's ever bid. "Whenever we go out to do a job or bid a new job I try to separate different areas of the parking lot on a diagram, dividing it up into sections," he says. "If I have a good idea what's out there on the lot it saves me time on that same job later."
He says bigger shopping centers are always changing something on their property.
"If I have it divided up into separate areas I can go to the areas where they made a change and only measure the section changed. I don't have to measure the sections that weren't changed because I already have that information. It has saved me a lot of time and trips over the years ,and it enables me to turn a bid around real quick when we get a call," Frederickson says.
He says Superior Striping has a minimum bid for every job and will make bid adjustments for job characteristics such as striping uphill and high-traffic areas. Jobs near residential areas and jobs on properties open 24 hours a day also affect the bid.