In the pavement maintenance industry there are a variety of segments contractors can focus their services on. For Dean Weikert, owner of Laser Line Striping & Sweeping located in Ackley, IA, having a large family has helped him branch out into completing different pavement maintenance services.
With a service area of 100 miles, the majority of Weikert’s work is striping with 70 percent some form of city work and 30 percent commercial work. He also has two sweeping contracts, but he completes sweeping for 90 percent of his restripe projects. While the majority of Laser Line Striping & Sweeping’s work consists of commercial parking lots and city work, Weikert does complete a few indoor striping projects. “We do some inside striping work for a few plants in the area,” he says.
Laser Line Striping has seen a change in the type of striping work switch from 70 percent parking lots and 30 percent city work to the current trend for projects. “With less building taking place you make the move to more city work,” Weikert says. “There are ten towns we stripe anything for. Some towns we just do the arrows and crosswalks while other towns we do the centerline.”
To enhance the quality work as well as increase the number of projects, Weikert invested in a palletized striper last year. The purchase has opened up several opportunities because it enables them to bid more easily on that type of work.
Unlike commercial parking lots, the process to obtaining contracts for city work is slightly different. “We send out letters to bid the work,” Weikert says. “There are many towns in Iowa so it is a matter of sending the letters out. We avoid county work because we can’t compete with the long-line companies since their pricing is quite a bit lower than what we can work for.”
Weikert purchased his first striper in 1993 and started the company working part-time while he worked full-time at Pepsi-Cola. Then, in 1999 he made the decision to work full-time at Laser Line Striping & Sweeping.
“We have eight children, and I wanted to find something where my children could work with me,” he says. “It came down to getting a stump grinder or a line striper. We flipped a coin between those two and bought the line striper. It was a job the kids could help with.”
At the time, Weikert’s oldest son was 14 years old, and he worked with his father until he married. Now, his son runs his own sealcoating and cracksealing company as well as sign installation for Wal-Mart. This has opened up an opportunity for Weikert and his son to work together. “We work together about 70 percent of the time,” Weikert says. “Whether I’m helping him with his project or he is helping me with my project we use a formula to figure out the expenses and profit.”
His other son is also active in the pavement maintenance industry building up the sweeping portion of the company. His son’s main clients include the shopping mall as well as the Targets in town.
Once winter hits, two of his daughters are busy managing their residential snow removal business. They remove snow from 25-30 homes.
In his 22 years at Pepsi-Cola, Weikert took away one of Laser Line Striping & Sweeping’s key points—strong customer service. “When you said you were out of Pepsi-Cola we would deliver that day or the next,” he says. “It wasn’t like I can be there next week. If you called and said you’re paving this or sealcoating that, there is about a 90 percent chance we will be able to stripe the project that day. There are very few exceptions to that.”