Forging Alliances

Editorial for the October/November issue of Pavement.

It's hard to go it alone, and many contractors throughout the pavement maintenance and reconstruction industry regularly forge alliances for support and assistance. From bankers and attorneys to professional organizations, contractors know where to turn. Some of you join associations, which not only provide tangible benefits (such as North American Power Sweeping Association's member discounts) but intangible benefits (such as the Asphalt Sealcoat Manufacturers Association's pull-through marketing efforts to teach property managers the value of sealcoating). Others of you have joined the marketing-oriented National Pavement Contractors Association, which provides referrals of contractors to property managers through its Internet-based efforts.

But some of the more interesting alliances are those informal arrangements begun often in after-hours conversation at National Pavement Expo or NPE West. In these handshake arrangements contractors from one area of the country (or who specialize in one pavement maintenance service) connect with another contractor who services a different region or provides a different service. Each contractor can send work the other's way, enabling each to expand his own services and territory without significantly altering any aspect of the business. These agreements amount to little more than agreements to refer business when the situation arises. Contractors interested in more formal and more structured growth opportunities can consider national service providers (see page 10), which can provide similar opportunities for contractors.

All companies have their allies. What's important is to recognize that no matter who your allies are, the purpose behind the alliance is the same: to strengthen each company's business, help each business grow, and help each industry develop.