As we reported last year, the Pavement Repair Top Contractors list has fluctuated between 50 and 75 companies more than any other list. The 2018 list returned to 75 companies for the third time since 2014, and for 2019 it’s back to 50 companies for the third time (we didn’t have a Pavement Repair Top Contractor list in 2013).
Partly this is the result of varying levels of participation, but it’s also because unlike the other industry segments, there are very few (if any) “pavement repair contractors.” Instead, contractors in the paving, sealcoating and striping segments of the industry do repair work but they do it within the context of their other work, so it often gets lumped in with that other work. Some sealcoaters, for example, include cracksealing in their sealcoating numbers; some pavers include remove-and-replace or infrared patching in their paving figures. So while we track pavement repair dollars, we do so knowing we are a bit handcuffed by the reporting and accounting aspects of the industry’s contractors.
Readers taking a good look at these results will see a consistency within the list from year to year. There are going to be fluctuations based on which contractors participate and especially in the sales dollars each year, but take a good look and we begin to see consistent results. For example, the percentage of repair-only sales is within a few percent each year, and the same can be said in general for profit margins when grouped (6% report margins of less than 5% and that has remained consistent over the years; margins when the list contains 50 companies are similar – as are margins when the list contains 75 companies, see below).
Here is the history of pavement repair-only sales:
- 2019 - $209,374,503 (list size 50 companies)
- 2018 – $265 million (75)
- 2017 – $165 million in sales (50)
- 2016 – $255 million in sales (75)
- 2015 – $269 million in sales (50)
- 2014 – $141 million in sales (75)
The 2019 repair-only sales total represents the second-highest total for a year when we listed 50 companies, coming in far behind 2015 (which was a post-Great Recession year when pent-up demand was resulting in unusually large sales numbers).
But regardless of how job figures are kept or how they are reported, survey results over the years demonstrate that pavement repair is a significant part of the industry and a significant part of contractors’ livelihood and the undoubtedly the success of their business. A quick look at the breakdown in the Pavement Repair 50 shows that pavement repair is a significant part of the work pavers and sealcoaters do – much less significant for stripers.
Pavement repair-only sales account for 21% of total list sales – the same as in 2018 and 1% greater than 2017 and 2016. Contractors in the Pavement Repair 50 perform other work as follows:
- 44 contractors perform striping work (88%)
- 43 perform paving work (88%)
- 47 perform sealcoating work (72%)
In years’ past, pavement repair was the second-highest segment-only sales total of the four lists, sitting behind the paving-only sales segment. This year it has been surpassed by striping-only sales, but that says more about the state of the pavement marking industry than it does about pavement repair.
And the Pavement Repair 50 lost second-place in total company sales, too (again to the Striping 50). Total sales for all the work the 2019 Pavement Repair 50 did was $980,873,666 (vs. $813 million in 2017 and $1.288 million in 2018 and $1.28 billion of 2016.
Profit margins for the 2019 Pavement Repair 50 followed the trends of the other segments: The number of contractors reporting margins in the middle range declined substantially while the number of contractors reporting margins in the upper ends increased (for the most part).
- 15% reported margins in the middle 5-10% range, down from 29% last year and almost the same as the 15% reported in 2017
- 41% reported margins in the 10-15% range, up from 28% in 2018 and from 33% in 2017
- 37% reported margins of more than 15%, down from 38% in 2018 and from 44% in 2017
- 6% reported margins of 5% or less, which is consistent over the years
So 78% of the Pavement Repair 50 generated more than 10% profit for their work (compared to 66% in 2018, 77% in 2017, 62% in 2016 and 64% in 2015).
Where the Pavement Repair 50 Work
All but one of the Pavement Repair 50 indicated they generate sales from parking lot work, with 6 companies (12%) generating 100% of their sales from parking lots and another 13 (26%) reporting 90% or more of sales from parking lots. Roads and highways make up a decent percentage as well with 7 companies (14%) reporting sales from highway work and 20 companies (40%) report sales from streets and roads.
The Pavement Repair 50’s Customers
- 49 contractors work for commercial/industrial customers (98%)
- 36 contractors work for multi-family residential customers (72%)
- 39 contractors work for municipal clients (78%)
- 26 contractors work for single-family homeowners (52%)