While the image applied to the pavement appears to be vinyl, it is actually manufactured from a printable form of PVC - the same material used for plastic plumbing but in a different formulation. Johnson says the material is immune to traffic, won’t oxidize, and won’t come off the pavement until the contractor removes it.
Johnson says the installation process is easy, with no heat required. First sweep or broom the area, then apply an aerosol primer to assure a clean surface for installation. Next position the PVC image in place, peel the backing from it, and stick the image to the pavement. And removing it is easy too. Simply heat the image using radiant or steam heat and the image peels up, leaving behind no residue and it doesn’t damage the pavement.
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"So not only is it simple but it is something that can be changed regularly. Employee of the month is a perfect example, but stores could market seasonal sales," Johnson says.
He says contractor should use the service to enhance the services they already provide.
"They can sell it themselves or they can pitch it to the facility or property manager and rely on him to sell it to his tenants," Johnson says. "If the property manager sells it then the parking lot can also be a revenue source for him."
He says contractors can generate profit in the area of 50% per square foot that each image covers.
While contractors often generate revenue from regular visits to paint parking lots, they can maximize results while minimizing maintenance time spent on return visits and increase their revenue by offering preformed thermoplastic markings, including stop bars, arrows, wording, handicap stencils, and even decorative crosswalks.
"Preformed thermoplastic is a durable pavement marking material that should complement a contractor’s current pavement marking program; it is not intended as a replacement," says Zina Hedrick, Flint Trading Inc., manufacturer of PreMark, HotTape, DecoMark, and TopMark preformed thermoplastic. "A contractor may choose to paint all of the parking stalls in a parking lot and use preformed thermoplastic for handicap symbols, directional arrows, and word markings because it is precut and ready to use without the need for templates."
She says that while up-front material costs are higher than paint, the overall value of preformed thermoplastic is realized when the following factors are considered:
- Maintains retroreflectivity (nighttime visibility) because glass beads are uniformly distributed throughout the material so that as the marking wears new beads are exposed. Plus, the material offers enhanced skid resistance, wears well, and generally lasts 6 to 8 times longer than paint.
- Increases sales and profit, enabling the contractor to make more money per job and making it easy for him to start doing work he had previously subbed out. The process has a low start-up and mobilization cost (only equipment needed is a propane heat torch, propane, and standard tools such as chisel and chalk line) and application is easy so expensive, skilled labor is unnecessary.
- Differentiates them from the competition by helping expand into new markets (custom logos, decorative walkways, specialty markings), offering a variety of colors and shapes of material, providing products that reduce potential tort liability exposure, and providing the benefits of a durable product.
Plus, Hedrick says adding performed thermoplastic enables contractors to expand their work season. "Our PreMark preformed thermoplastic, for example, has no minimum air or road temperature requirements for application," she says. "So the marking season can be extended so new work can be gained and deadlines can be met easily without worrying about application temperature restrictions."
She says the performed thermoplastic installation process is fast and easy, making it even easier for contractors to add the service to their business. First clean the surface (removing debris with a blower) and ensure no moisture is present. Then position the preformed thermoplastic material, heat the material with a propane heat torch, and "chisel test" to ensure a proper bond. Hedrick estimates that it takes 15-20 minutes to install a handicap symbol or an FHWA standard arrow.