Compact milling machines are a good fit for other types of applications, according to Reid. For example, doing asphalt pavement patch-work on airport runways and aprons where areas of the pavement have structurally failed is easily accomplished. These areas are first milled prior to the patching process. A recent project for Reid has been the extensive milling and patching work at the Doylestown Airport. The work was carried out at night when no air traffic was taking place.
Still another good application is the milling and paving of existing parking lots, no matter how small they might be. Reid undertook the Montgomery County Eagleville Correction Prison parking lot remedial project, where 5,000 tons of existing paving was milled out and replaced with new HMA. Reid says on projects like this, where continuous milling can be done, the hourly production averages 100 tons.
If Reid temporarily doesn’t have work for the milling machine, he rents it to other paving contractors for added income. He supplies both the machine and the operator. “Operating one of these machines correctly requires a trained and experienced operator,” he says. “If a good operator isn’t used, the machine might prematurely breakdown or the quality of the milling is unacceptable. In either case, it’s due to the ineptness of the operator.”
Reid justifies the investment of the Marini machine by operating it about 500 hours a year. He figures his gross return is $300 per hour, whether operated on one of his projects or on rent to others. The gross income is $150,000 per year, plus the charges he makes for moving the unit to each project. He bought his planer over two years ago but points out that despite a purchase price in the $300,000 range, the Marini machine can be a very profitable investment.
Besides the machine’s direct financial return, there are additional benefits in owning a milling machine, according to Reid. One is having far better control on the quality of milling performance and the control on scheduling its use at a project that leads to more efficient production. Gone are the days when he would flip coins to see when the milling would be completed and the hassle of dealing with other contractors.
Reid puts the milling business and the milling machine ownership into perspective when he says, “The only thing I regret is that I didn’t buy one earlier than I did; it sure is a good money maker.”