Mitchell says that even with last year's price increases asphalt emulsion producers and sealer producers are still absorbing more of the increased costs than they should. "As crude oil goes up we try to raise our prices but it's always hard to get the price up on anything," Mitchell says. "We're still behind the 8-ball because crude went up so high so fast we haven't been able to catch up to where the price should be."
He says he doesn't see any relaxation in pricing in 2005 unless crude drops to below $40 a barrel. "I don't see that happening," Mitchell says. "It's come off a little bit, but it's such a volatile market that who knows what's going to happen."
Mitchell says contractors should educate their customers that a bid is good for only a set amount of time and that it's in the customer's best interest to lock the bid up to protect the pricing. "Anything a customer has a bid on we try to protect and then raise our price on future work," Mitchell says. "The last year has been a real learning curve for a lot of people, there's no doubt about it."