If my previous blogs didn't get this across, this one surely will: 2009 has been a year of vastly different contractor stories. I've heard from contractors who are barely making it, from contractors who are doing the same volume with less margin, and from contractors who have seen parts of their business grow unexpectedly. But I haven't talked with a contractor who reports he's having his "best year ever" and attributes it to the economy. Until now. I won't reveal the company or the city, except to say it on the eastern seaboard in the South, but the owner of the 20-year-old sealcoating-focused business says this year has been his best ever. Go figure. "The economy has helped, there's not question about that," he says. "We're a sealcoating contractor and people all over our market have not paved -- they've sealcoated instead." More than half of this contractor's sales are to the commercial market, with the rest going to residential work, and the owner says buyers seem to be reluctant to get involved in construction. "They have become very maintenance oriented and very maintenance conscious," he says. "They are paying close attention to the costs of things and are becoming more frugal too." He adds that his residential work has increased at least partly because fewer people are selling their homes. "They are staying in place so they are maintaining the properties they have," he says. "All that combined to give us a great year." But it's not just the market that has helped his company. He says he has well-trained employees and a good fleet of well-maintained equipment that enables them to do a quality job in an efficient manner. "Through September we've only had three call-backs all season," he says. "That's good work, especially considering the number of jobs we've done." And he adds that the good 2009 has laid the basis for a good 2010. "Already we are scheduled more than one month out next year," he says.