No matter how well your pavement marking season is starting out there’s a good chance A Annandale Inc., Fredericksburg, VA, has you beat.
In what’s shaping up to be the highest-volume year of the contractor’s more than 30 years in business, A Annandale has 80 million linear feet of highway restriping – what the contractor terms maintenance work – on the books as of April 1. And that doesn’t include any legend, crosswalk, arrow or thermoplastic work involved in the projects. It also doesn’t include replacing 40,000 pavement marker lenses; the first time in the history of the company they’ve had that type of volume for that kind of job.
And that’s only three jobs scattered throughout Virginia.
“I told my people I want these jobs and we got all three of them,” says Sonny Younce, president and CEO. “They all run at the same time and we need to be finished by September 27.”
And in all likelihood that’s what’s going to happen because long line striping, whether for restriping or new construction, is where A Annandale’s expertise lies. Last year 70% of A Annandale’s work was construction or maintenance striping in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Another 15% was on parking lots and another 15% was on airports. And maintenance striping isn’t even the company’s specialty.
“What sets us apart is we specialize in construction striping – traffic switching where we eradicate existing lines and switch traffic into other lanes or off onto shoulders while new paving is taking place,” Younce says.
He says that because of the large restriping contracts 2013 is shaping up to be a little different than a normal year. He says new construction striping typically accounts for 60% of road work sales while maintenance accounts for 40%. With so much maintenance work already on the 2013 books those numbers likely will be flipped this year, much like the paint and thermoplastic markings can change from year to year. Where in 2012 thermoplastic represented 70% of sales dollars and paint 30%, the 2013 figures will more likely be 80% paint, 20% thermoplastic.
“That varies year to year depending on the state budgets and a lot of factors,” Younce says. “It’s a little like a school of fish; it just depends on which way they want to go.”
Winning Low-Bid Contracts
Younce says all the company’s road striping is low-bid work so the A Annandale team spends a lot of time analyzing and preparing their bid. “I have a good group of people working for me and we strategize how we’re going to do a job and how we’re going to make money at the job at the same time. The goal is to come up with a rock bottom number we have to have and it takes weeks to put together.”
And getting to that number is aided by years of experience. Younce credits the company’s workers, many of whom have been in the long-line striping business for more than 20 years, with the company’s ability to be as productive and produce as high-quality work as they do.
He says a typical field worker puts in 70 hours a week from April through November, so the company pays out a lot of overtime. “But this work is really not possible without OT. Even when we’re just figuring it out at the bid stage and try to add it in it’s going to go over what we thought because of things we just can’t foresee.”
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of variables that go into determining the final bid. Younce says volume of traffic is important, as is the speed at which the paint trucks are going to run and the time it takes the paint to dry so there aren’t a lot of tracking complaints.
“Sometimes we’ll switch a job to night work because that can give our crews a couple more hours out there and that can make a big difference (daytime work runs from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. while night work can run from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.).”