For the first time since 2003, Pavement Maintenance & Reconstruction has developed a list of top-selling (meaning largest) contractors within each industry segment, and don’t let anyone ever tell you the paving and pavement maintenance industry isn’t a significant player in the construction market.
But before we provide some analysis (and before you begin perusing them), it’s important to recognize what these lists are – and what they are not. What they are is an alphabetical list by industry segment of contractors who qualified based on total sales dollars within each specific segment. What they are not is lists of the “best” contractors in each segment. Just because a contractor is big and generates a lot of sales, doesn’t mean the company has the highest quality or the greatest productivity. Many small companies can surely make that claim, just as many large companies can make it. These lists are purely sales-based and that’s something that should be kept in mind.
Also, these lists are not a ranking. The first contractor in the list doesn’t necessarily have the highest sales volume—that company is first only because it comes first alphabetically. The bottom line is each list is an alphabetical listing of those contracting companies that:
- Decided to participate in the survey
- Provided third-party verification of their information
- Qualified for the list
Readers will see a company on more than one of the Top Contractor lists and that makes sense because of how the lists were determined. A company was first asked its sales total for Fiscal Year 2012. Then companies were asked to break that sales number down by type of work: What percentage was paving, what percentage sealcoating etc. We then applied those percentages to the total sales figure like this: Company XXX reported $1 million in sales with 50% coming from paving, 40% from sealcoating and 10% coming from striping. We multiplied the $1 million sales total by 50% to determine that $500,000 of XXX Company sales were from paving; 40% x $1 million showed $400,000 in sealcoating sales; and 10% x $1 million showed $100,000 in striping sales.
We then listed companies by sales volume within each segment, drew a line after the 50th company (except for sweeping, more on that below), and then re-organized the companies alphabetically. The result are lists of the top-selling paving, sealcoating and striping companies. (A separate list based on pavement repair sales will be announced in our June Blacktop Update e-newsletter, and Honorable Mentions will be published in the July e-newsletter).
So, what can we learn from the list? Well, some things we can learn right away; other benefits of the survey will likely reveal themselves over the years as we begin to compare one year to another. But let’s take a look at what we can learn from this year’s results.
First, total sales.
- Total paving-only sales for the top-selling 50 contractors was $292,641,327
- Total sealcoating-only sales for the top-selling 50 contractors was $124,447,617
- Total striping-only sales for the top-selling 50 contractors was $64,382,565
What does that tell us? Well, not much this year, other than those are some pretty big numbers. How big are they compared to other years? We don’t know…yet. But as this survey develops over the years we’ll be able to track industry growth or contraction based on the list.
But there’s more to this than just dollars and cents and size of the company.
Spend some time with these lists and analyze what these companies have in common. One of the first things that jumps out is that almost all companies on all the lists perform a variety of services for their customers. None of the Top 50 Sealcoating companies provide only sealcoating services, only one of the Top 50 Paving contractors provides only paving services (another comes very close), and a handful of the Top 50 Stripers provide only striping services.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with being a specialist (there’s a good chance many smaller contractors do specialize in one service or another) but what’s interesting is that almost all the largest contractors see value in diversification – they are able to generate more dollars from each customer and that diversity likely helps them weather economic downturns.
But the diversification doesn’t stop at the services offered. Take a look at the Customer Mix and the Where We Work categories. The vast majority of contractors work on a variety of pavements with parking lots not surprisingly leading the pack, and they work for a broad variety of types of clients.
While it’s difficult to draw too many conclusions from this first survey, it’s fair to say that the largest contractors are also the most diverse contractors, and that diversity cuts across many aspects of their company. Perhaps diversity is something other contractors should consider as they strive to grow and grasp an even bigger hold in the local market.
A word about Sweeping
A quick look at our sweeping list (page 27) reveals the obvious: We list only 10 top sweeping companies. The reason for this is simply the lack of participation from the sweeping industry. Hopefully sweeping contractors will see the value of the lists from this year and decide to participate next year. (Because we have only a limited sampling we are not revealing total sales for the sweeping segment this year.)
Congratulations to all those who qualified for one or more of the lists. Our hope is that as this information is compiled from year to year, we will be able to provide some valuable information to the readers of Pavement and to the industry.
Look for the Top 50 List of Pavement Repair Contractors in our June Blacktop Update e-newsletter, which you can subscribe to for free at http://www.forconstructionpros.com/reg/newsletter/display. The July Blacktop Update will list the 2013 Top Contractor Honorable Mentions.
And mark your calendar to participate in the 2014 Top Contractor Survey which will be open Jan. 1-April 30, 2014.