Every year we get calls (they've started already) from sealcoaters who are battling against the fly-by-night operators who blow through a town, offering quick work at low prices. They use poor-quality material, use unskilled labor, and good luck trying to track them down if anything goes wrong on the job. The fly-by-nights are con artists, thieves, who know how to take advantage of the owner of a single-family home. They not only put a dent in your sealcoating profits, they also are a slap in the face to the entire sealcoating industry. One way to defend against these charlatans is to make sure your customers know you are a professional business that's been around a while and will be around for a long time to come. So here are some easy steps you can take to protect your market from the cheating operators who spray black water on driveway after driveway and get out of town before the next rain. Don't let them take advantage of you!
- Provide your customers with literature on the professional-grade sealer you use. Sealer manufacturers will be happy to provide this to you.
- Provide references, including photos, phone numbers, and even addresses so customers can call or go check your work themselves.
- Provide proof of insurance. Explain to the homeowner that this protects him as well as you.
- Write your job estimate on a contract or at least a printed job form that includes your name, address, phone number, and a guarantee of your work.
- Tell them how many years you've been in business. Even if it's only one, at least you're proud of that one year and want your customers to know it.
- Brag about your industry education. If you attend National Pavement Expo, NPE West, or other training, show them your Attendance Certificates.
- Work to get your local newspaper to write an article about your business–an anniversary, an open house, a charity job you've done, a business profile – and then show that article to your customers.
Not all contractors will be able to use all of these tips–but you can be assured the fly-by-night operators sucking work out of your market won't use any of them.