"Now that we've become so much more equipped, their jobs have become easier. We pay them, for the industry in this region, well. If they want overtime, it's there. We also give them bonuses and treat them well because the bottom line is we couldn't get any of this work done without our employees," Wells says. "We really try to make a good working environment."
The sealcoat operation
In California, the sealcoating and striping season generally runs from early April to Thanksgiving. During the season, Coast to Coast has about 10 employees. Wells says that because everyone works together so efficiently, they can break their employees up into three crews for medium-sized jobs. When Coast to Coast gets a larger job, such as a 800,000-square-foot shopping center, everyone works that job to get it finished on time.
Wells says business is great for her company, and for the last five years it's been common for them to be out 30 to 60 days on jobs, especially in the summer months.
Coast to Coast is a firm believer in laying sealer with squeegee buggies. Wells says most of the sealcoat contractors in her area use this technique because the high traffic indexes in their area are very demanding on sealcoating. By using a squeegee buggy, Coast to Coast can apply two coats of asphalt emulsion sealer, with sand in the first coat and no sand in the top coat, and expect the job to hold up for up to five years.
Coast to Coast has five sealcoat buggies, four of them from Diamond Built. They also use two 2,000-gallon bulk trucks to transport material to the jobsite and a 5,000-gallon storage tank at their facility. When Coast to Coast has large jobs to complete, their sealer supplier brings sealer to the job in 5,000-gallon tanks. Material is supplied by Asphalt Coatings Engineering, Wasco, CA.
Coast to Coast goes through meticulous pavement prep before each sealing job. They sweep the entire lot with a walk-behind sweeper then follow that with a hand wire broom and a walk-behind blower.
After the cleaning process, they apply an oil spot primer to any grease, oil, or other types of spots that need priming. Wells says the priming application used to be the most shunned job on the crew because material was applied with a bucket and broom or paint brush, but Tim came up with an idea a couple of years ago to make things a little easier on the crew.
"Our first striper was conventional [airspray], but now everything we use is airless, so that air machine had been sitting in the shop a long time," she says. "Tim got the idea that there had to be a way to run the primer through that machine. So they took the air striper and converted it so it could spray oil spot primer. So no more bucket and broom!"
On the job
Coast to Coast commonly takes on larger parking lot and shopping center jobs. These big projects take a lot of planning and coordination, but Wells the crew members are very adept at their jobs.
"Our guys are like a well-oiled machine," she says. "It's amazing sometimes the way they work together. We're very fortunate to have a great group of guys."
Before starting a job of this size, the company draws up a map, for their own convenience and the convenience of everyone who has to work in and around the shopping center or parking lot.
"We map everything out before the job is done," Wells says. "The tenants are given a color-coded map that shows exactly what we're going to be doing on each day, so I think that helps make things run smoother."
Wells says the crew typically does about 100,000 square feet a day. The crew will arrive at the jobsite at 2 or 3 a.m. and will work for up to 12 hours. Part of the reason the crew goes in so early is for the convenience of the area tenants. Coast to Coast will try to open up main drives as early as possible to reduce congestion, or get the drive-through lanes at fast food restaurants open by noon so they don't lose their lunch business.
The sealcoat process runs smoothly because everyone knows what job is theirs and does it.
"When they pull up to the job the first thing to do would be to secure the section that we're doing for that day with barricades and flagging tape," she explains. "But then the guys know what to do after that — one guy will get the power sweeper out, another will unload the blowers and get them all lined up, another guy will start unloading the buggies, so and so is on the wire brushes — so each guy has his own thing.