“How to” Tips to Start Your Season

How-to pavement maintenance tips

Want to avoid segregation in your paving work? Wayne Jones, Asphalt Institute, in Materials Selection: Matching the Right Materials to the Right Project recommended making sure haul trucks are loaded with hot mix in multiple drops, with the loading sequence being front, back and middle of the truck.
Want to avoid segregation in your paving work? Wayne Jones, Asphalt Institute, in Materials Selection: Matching the Right Materials to the Right Project recommended making sure haul trucks are loaded with hot mix in multiple drops, with the loading sequence being front, back and middle of the truck.

The conference program at the recent National Pavement Expo, Feb. 7-10 in Cleveland, offered 54 sessions on technical and management topics. Here’s a sampling of some of what contractors learned.

Dust Sheen. Nick Howell, T & N Asphalt Services, tackled the issue of “dust sheen” prior to sealcoating. “Despite your best efforts you might find an unremoveable dust sheen on the pavement. A tack coat will usually solve the problem but even wetting the surface with water will solve the issue.”

Crew Efficiency. Guy Gruenberg, Grow Consulting, recommended contractors consider using a Crew Activity Plan, which combines a two-week schedule with a list of manpower, material, equipment and information needed to meet that schedule. Forcing thinking ahead, the Crew Activity Plan allows the foremen and project manager to reduce work delays by identifying questions and obtaining answers and client decisions in advance. It also provides the information needed to make sure all the components of each job are available. If everything doesn’t come together the two-week schedule provides plenty of time to adjust the job schedule.

Sealcoating Spray Angle. Bill Maclean, The Brewer Co., in Basic Sealcoating Principles, said that when spraying sealer with a hand wand, try to keep the angle of the spray at 90° to the ground and walk slowly across the pavement. “It doesn’t have to be perfect but try to think about where the spray pattern makes contact with the pavement,” he said. “He said walking too fast and deviating from a 90° angle contributes to uneven coverage.

Spray Tip Wear. The Brewer Co.’s Bill Maclean cautioned to watch for clogs in the spray and wear at the tip. He said that if you can see a line at the bottom of the spray pattern that line will become even more obvious after the job is done and as the sealer wears.

Selling National/Regional Accounts. Bryan Hess, Asphalt Associates, and Jeff Stokes, Next Level Contractor System, explained that to be successful with regional and national accounts contractors need to:

  • Understand how those accounts do business, including learning their key components and revenue drivers, any growth plans and how their stock is performing
  • Have the ability to scale your staff to service the large account (which can overwhelm as small staff)
  • Make sure your staff is technology driven – essential to both understand and service the customer
  • Have a sales staff that can not only prospect and generate sales from these accounts but also support and service them.

Improve Parking Lot Sweeping. Costas Cordonis, Schwarze Industries, offered the following tips to optimize performance and efficiency of parking lot sweepers:

  • Reduce the thickness of front sweeping head skirts
  • Increase the tension of the front head springs
  • Lift the front of the sweeping head while leaving the rear on the ground
  • Exhaust the fan housing air flow
  • Reduce fan RPMs on sweepers powered with an auxiliary engine

How to Get Work in a Mobile Age. Brandon Stanton, 405 Media Group, teamed with NPE stalwart Jeff Stokes, Next Level Contractor System, to help contractors improve their marketing. Among their suggestions was to conduct a “self-audit” in which contractors walk through the shopping process as if they were a buyer unfamiliar with their company. Among the steps to take are:

  • See if you are “visible” to someone who would need your service
  • Develop search terms to help your site rank higher; to see where your site ranks visit www.405mediagroup.com/rank-checker
  • See if your site is responsive by going to https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
  • Make sure you have a “brand” to market. Make sure you make a promise to your customers
  • Make sure your website displays your brand, a main image of the work you perform, text on the photo to guide the customer’s thinking, and clearly states your value
  • Examine your contact process, making sure the people who answer your phone are skilled in getting the caller to a salesperson, that the salesperson is trained to get to the property instead of just answering a question, that a salesperson responds promptly to each caller, and that your email communications are clear and professional.

Dealing with Sprinklers. Nick Howell, T & N Asphalt Services, tackled the bane of the sealcoater: sprinklers. “Despite your best efforts, sprinklers might still come on. Rather than panic, throw a cone over the head, then try to locate the in-ground valve box and manually shut it off.”

Efficiency Killers. Grow Consulting’s Guy Gruenberg listed the 7 Efficiency Killers contractors need to avoid: not getting material to the job on time, not keeping crews together, unrealistic and unmanaged project schedules, foremen not understanding the scope of work, waiting on others, job inventory and cleanliness, lack of daily planning

Employee vs. Independent Contractor. Attorney Martin Heller, Fisher & Phillips LLP, addressed the misclassification of independent contractors vs. employees, which he said gets confused because different organizations (IRS, state, workers comp boards for example) apply different tests. But he said essentially whether a person is an independent contractor or an employee boils down to one factor: control. Heller said that in June 2017 the Trump administration directed the U.S. Dept. of Labor to focus fewer resources on the issue. He said he expects to see new legislation to provide additional clarification of the distinction, and increased use of independent contractors.


Want to avoid segregation in your paving work? Wayne Jones, Asphalt Institute, in Materials Selection: Matching the Right Materials to the Right Project recommended making sure haul trucks are loaded with hot mix in multiple drops, with the loading sequence being front, back and middle of the truck.


 


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