Getting Ready to Buy

Now that your season has stopped or slowed down, how was your year? Aside from the Katrina-battered Gulf Coast and the unusually wet West Coast, much of the country seemed to have a good season. And contractors seem to be using the year as a springboard to see what else they can do to grow their business, penetrate new markets, or simply expand their operations. No real scientific data here, just anecdotal insights from a good cross section of contractors, manufacturers, Pavement Advisory Board members, conversations with exhibitors at National Pavement Expo West, and even discussions with NPE West speakers.

And what have they been saying? Simply that contractors are interested, they're enthusiastic, they're serious...and they're buying. Unofficial word from NPE West is that a number of Big Iron exhibitors sold multiple Big Dollar machines, and many of the lighter equipment exhibitors came away from the show with strong sales and fistfuls of quality leads. That's the buying side; on the education side NPE West's first-ever milling seminar attracted more than 50 attendees; the slurry seal and microsurfacing seminar, another first for NPE West, also attracted more than 50 people and provided steady traffic for the International Slurry Surfacing Association booth. Both seminars will be repeated at National Pavement Expo, Feb. 15-18, 2006 in Charlotte, but we bring them up here because they are evidence of contractors looking for something new, something to add to their service arsenal, something that brings them a step closer to becoming the full service provider many property managers want. Or maybe some just want to extend their season, which is why one Rocky Mountain contractor was comparing and contrasting infrared repair units.

Both NPE West and the upcoming NPE are just about the best places contractors can visit to make their buying decisions: All of the industry's major players in one place at one time – and all those exhibitors are ready to sell. But as you get ready to buy – as you narrow your options and decide how you want to approach your next step in the market – this issue of Pavement is where you should start. From hand tools to materials to general and niche equipment, this December Showcase begins the comparing and contrasting for you. So settle down and spend some time with the paving and pavement maintenance industry's only product showcase. Then get ready to buy.