Sauchuk’s first call was to the manager of buildings and grounds at Mercy College. “We went to the school and met with him, he gave us blueprints of the property, and then we walked every inch of the blacktop with him,” Sauchuk says. Because he was familiar with on-campus activity the manager guided Jet-Black to which areas to work on which days. “We worked closely with him throughout the project and he was on the jobsite with me every day,” Sauchuk says. “That was a big help because we didn’t have to try to find him if we had a question or a problem.”
He says the manager helped determine which areas could be done on which days because he knew which areas they could section off without causing problems for the school. “Size of the area wasn’t an issue,” Sauchuk says. “One day we did a 100,000-square-foot lot because they could close that entire parking lot down that day and not disrupt the school. Another day we did a 50,000-square-foot road because that worked for the school that day.”
Kelso says he is impressed with the way Sauchuk and family handled the challenges of the job, including the small window to complete the work, weather issues, and the campus remaining open throughout the job. “It takes a lot of patience to handle a project like that with all the challenges,” Kelso says. “For a new small business owner to tackle something like this they did a great job.”
Drop Tank, Premixed Sealer
Next Sauchuk contacted his Jet-Black supplier, outlined the job, and determined that a 5,000-gallon tank would need to be dropped at the location. “It’s a one-hour drive from our yard and we couldn’t be hauling 550-gallons up there and running back to get more so we knew right away we’d need a drop tank.”
He says selecting the location for the drop tank at the college was important – as was being there when the tank was delivered. “We wanted it in a location that would give us easy access to it throughout the project, and we didn’t want to have to move it as we went,” Sauchuk says. And the manager of buildings and grounds wanted it out of the way of everyday campus activity. They eventually identified a location where the tank could sit on grass (so it wouldn’t have to be moved off pavement to sealcoat beneath it). “We found a perfect spot on the outskirts of school where it was easy for us to fill the 550 and easy for Jet-Black to refill the tank.”
The only issue came the morning of delivery when the trucker delivering the tank was nervous about squeezing it into the selected location. “The tanks was so big the driver wanted to put it someplace else so it was a good thing I was there to make sure it was placed where we needed it,” Sauchuk says.
On most jobs Sauchuk and his crew mix the sealer themselves, adding water and sand at the site. But for a job this size they looked into having premixed sealer delivered to the drop tank. Robbie Pegg and Sauchuk ran the numbers and it became clear that it was more cost-effective to buy premixed sealer than to have workers stop their sealcoating to mix material on site. Plus, mixing on site would have required delivery of pallets of sand and a water truck on the jobsite.
“It cost a little more but it would have been too tough for us and too hard on the employees and it would have taken too long at the jobsite if we had to spend time mixing and not sealcoating. This way all we had to do was drive to the drop tank and fill the 550 and we could be out sealcoating again.”
And they had to find additional labor. Because Jet-Black of Rockland did primarily driveway work it had only one or two additional workers it could call on to assist with this job. Sauchuk hired additional temporary workers and of his six-person crew two had never sealcoated before. “But we threw them in doing the very basic work and with some guidance from the rest of us they picked it up very quickly,” he says.
On the Job
Before work could start Mercy College had to do its job informing the college community, and Sauchuk says they did a great job. “With a large job like this and a tight time frame we couldn’t afford any delays because of people leaving cars in parking lots or something like that,” Sauchuk says. The college relied on letters, announcements, and flyers on every entrance and exit door on campus informing people which areas would be closed on which days. “It was a little tough at the beginning but in almost all cases the areas we needed to sealcoat were empty of cars and blocked off when we got there to work,” Sauchuk says.