Compact pavers are also better suited to mill-and-fill operations and small overlays on streets. Narrow five-foot walking paths or cart paths on golf courses are also areas where a compact paver is the tool needed to get the job done. New housing subdivisions are going up constantly around the country, and require new driveways and streets. A compact paver is ideal for this work, since it can install all the driveways and then pave the subdivision road on the way out from the project.
Smaller jobs, bigger profits
The availability of commercial paving projects alone may not persuade a highway class contractor to immediately purchase a compact paver and start branching out to smaller jobs. But a closer look at the multitude of benefits associated with commercial paving may be enough to give those contractors the push they need to expand their business and start realizing greater profits.
For highway contractors that sometimes may have difficulty finding consistent work for their employees, adding a compact paver immediately provides contractors with another avenue of work to keep crews busy. This is also an important point for large contractors who make money by producing their own asphalt. Having more available jobs to complete means increased profits from asphalt production.
Working on commercial projects can yield financial benefits not just by the sheer quantity of jobs performed, but also on a per-job basis. In some cases, commercial jobs can pay three to five times per ton of asphalt more than a highway project. While the total asphalt tonnage on these smaller jobs can't compare to a roadbuilding project, the per-ton numbers are difficult to ignore. Compact pavers also require less handwork and thus a smaller crew — sometimes only five employees compared to 10 people working with a larger paver. This results in reduced labor costs.
The cost benefits don't end there. The transport costs involved with moving a paver from job to job are less with a smaller paver. The operation and maintenance costs for a compact paver sometimes only amount to a third of the cost of operating and maintaining a highway class paver. All of these factors contribute to a compact paver's ability to produce a quicker return on investment.
Along with the potential for gains in profit, highway class contractors have other reasons to consider investing in a compact paver. With heavy highway work comes intense scrutiny from Department of Transportation (DOT) inspectors looking to make sure all the necessary road specifications are being attained. Certainly the right standards still need to be met on commercial projects, but the experience for a contractor can be far less stressful without an inspector constantly monitoring the job's progress. This also makes staying on schedule an easier feat to accomplish.
Compact pavers also allow large contractors to cover every aspect of the paving industry. As commercial paving continues to grow, the ability to diversify into a wider range of jobs is essential. Mainline pavers might be able to do some of this smaller work, but they certainly can't do it all. And they simply won't match the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of a compact paver on commercial jobs.
The value of versatility
Commercial paving is no longer a business that involves only small contractors. Commercial jobs have become so profitable that some large companies are now running fleets comprised solely of compact pavers. Highway class contractors shouldn't necessarily make any plans to abandon their primary business, but these contractors can grow and improve their business by adding a compact paver to their line of equipment.
Not only do compact pavers provide better capabilities for commercial paving jobs, but they also can be used in some areas of highway work. Most compact pavers now have electronic devices that allow them to meet state DOT specifications on shoulders, approaches and crossover ramps. Having a versatile machine on a large highway project gives contractors another tool and added options for completing a job.
The positive financial implications of owning and operating a compact paver are difficult to ignore. And with numerous commercial jobs there for the taking, a large contractor's decision to purchase a compact paver not only makes sense — it makes dollars and cents.
Information provided by John Hood, sales manager for paving and milling products, BOMAG Asphalt Products