A Market Snapshot

The August/September issue of Pavement Maintenance & Reconstruction is in the mail and the Editorial asks for some help from readers. Specifically, we're trying to get a sense of what's going on in the industry and what contractors expect for the rest of 2011. Here's some of what we've heard so far: • A southwestern contractor says it’s been so slow he’s struggling to get his crews five days of work a week. He is bidding a lot of jobs but losing them to “contractors” (note the quote marks) who are doing the job for cost. “When I drive by those finished jobs they look terrible,” he says. “Crack sealant is pulling up, sealcoating is uneven -- they just look awful.” But, at least in that market, the property managers don’t seem to care. • A western contractor did a lot of bidding in spring but few came through. Poor weather contributed to slow season and now they are behind and trying to play catch up through the rest of the season – but at least the jobs are picking up. • In the Mid-Atlantic region a contractor is not only two months ahead of 2010 as far as sales/work completed but the company also added a second storage tank for a higher-quality sealer (with most sales are going to the higher quality, more expensive product. • An East Coast sweeping contractor reports its infrared asphalt repair division “has experienced a slow 2011,” which he attributes to property managers having to spend more money than budgeted for snow removal due to a heavy winter. He adds that he's seen an improvement over 2010 in its parking lot sweeping. • A western paving and pavement maintenance contractor terms 2011 a “very, very unusual year.” The company started the year with a larger-than-normal backlog from last year, but a very wet spring put the contractor more than 45 days behind schedule. “Then we were only able to trickle that work, so what would had been a bang-up start to cash flowing has been more a replica of a normal April.” He says June and July have been “slow to moderate,” but toward the end of July “contracts are rolling in.” “Our big clients are spending, which is always a good indicator of the economy. I think this year will finish okay.” • “We are up 20%-plus after a slow rainy start and are catching up nicely,” says a midwestern contractor. “Deferred projects are letting loose and the only segment of business that is down in sealcoating.” That's just some of what we've heard so far -- but we're hoping a lot of you out there will weigh in. You can do it by responding to this blog post or feel free to post a comment to our Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/PavementMagazine) -- and make sure to "like" us when you're there.