“Once we explain the square footage they can expect to get from one gallon of sealer, they start to rethink what they need,” Loutzenhiser says. “Now this is for the beginning contractors, the ones who are just getting into the business or who have only done a little sealing here and there but are planning on making this a business. They often don’t understand; they don’t realize that sealer doesn’t go as far as they think it does.”
One way to begin determining the size tank you’ll need is to consider the driveway sealcoating business. Assuming an average driveway is 1440 square feet (120 feet long x 12 feet wide), and assuming you can get 55 square feet of sealcoating from a gallon of sealer that means a 300-gallon tank has enough sealer for about 11 driveways (1440 ÷ 55 = 26.18 or 27 gallons of sealer per driveway; 300 ÷ 27 = 11.11, or 11 driveways).
“Every first-time buyer is going to be happy if he thinks he can do 11 driveways a day,” Loutzenhiser says. “But what if you do land that big job? If you‘re going to be successful and make good money in this business you need to just go. You need to fill up, go to the job, go like crazy on the job, finish and move on to the next one.”
Capretz says tank size also is important because it affects how many times you need to return to your yard (or sealer producer) to pick up more sealer.
“Contractors should determine how large the tank needs to be partly by how far they are away from their sealer provider,” he says. “The farther away you are, the larger the tank you should consider.”
He adds that contractors should discuss having a sealer producer place a tank in their yard, so the sealer is easier to access. “But that depends primarily on the amount of sealer you’re using, so contractors need to talk with their suppliers.”
One of the recent concerns manufacturers are encountering has to do with higher gasoline prices, so contractors want a smaller tank because it will use less fuel to haul.
“But they’re not looking at the bigger picture,” Capretz says. “Sure, the more weight you are hauling the more fuel it will take. But there are other factors to consider: Your proximity to the sealer producer, the wear and tear on the trailer as it makes the extra trips to and from the producer, the wear and tear on the vehicle hauling the trailer, lost productivity on the job when you leave to get more material, labor costs to transport material, and even the loss of professionalism customers see when you keep coming and going on the jobsite.”
Loutzenhiser says contractors look more professional, especially on large commercial jobs, when they apply the first coat, go to lunch and then return to shoot the second coat. That way the job is done--instead of leaving the job three or four times just to fill up with sealer. He says it also is less disruptive to the client and less inconvenient for the client’s customers/tenants, if you can close the lot or areas of lot for shorter times because you can complete sealcoating more quickly.
“After talking with us a little while and discussing how they are thinking of approaching the sealcoating business, we might end up selling them a unit that is twice the size of what they had in mind in the beginning. And although from a business perspective, selling them a small unit first and then selling them a larger unit when they outgrow that one would mean the possibility of two sales instead of just the one, it’s not the way we look at it,” Loutzenhiser says. “We want to treat our customers how we’d want to be treated if we were in their shoes and most of the time that means a bigger tank so they don’t start out by hampering their growth potential.”