This section is dedicated to professional contractors upon whom the industry depends, for optimal performance of sealcoatings, for the protection and preservation of pavements. From the very inception, STAR has strived to educate and share all pertinent information with you, the sealcoating professional, about products, emerging technologies, best application practices with our commitment to safeguard human and environmental health, while maintaining the highest quality standards.
STAR products are formulated with the highest grade of raw materials possible in the industry, to deliver the performance that your customers have come to expect of you, over the years. When it is your reputation, there are no second guesses or chances. STAR products are acclaimed in the industry for their performance which are the best.
STAR and its extensive network of manufacturers and distributors, thorough out the contiguous United States and overseas (hyperlink to locations.), are deducted to provide all necessary tool for your continued success.
CHOOSING A SUPPLIER
9 Questions to Ask when Selecting a Sealer Supplier
Finding these answers can help provide solid support for your business
By Girish Dubey
Whether you are new to the sealcoating industry or a veteran sealcoating contractor, your relationship with your material supplier can play an important role in the success of your sealcoating business. For you to make your own place in the sealcoating industry and grow in the future, it is essential that you team up with reputable materials supplier, follow the best sealcoating practices, deliver the promised performance to your customers and run your business with untarnished integrity.
While there is no order of importance to these questions, answering them will help you make sure your sealcoating operation gets the most out of your supplier relationship.
1. What is your supplier’s reputation in the marketplace? The supplier that you choose should have a sterling reputation for sealer performance, customer support and business practices.
- Does your supplier work to build relationships with property managers or architects to get their product specified on the jobs that you are bidding?
- Ask to see a minimum of five sealcoating jobs completed using their sealer. Insist that several of these jobs are older than one or two years. While initial appearance is important, the longevity of the work is a critical component in the cultivation of long-term relationships with your customers. If possible, talk to property managers for their direct comments about the performance of the material. You may have to filter your customer’s responses a bit as they might be biased for the contractor or workmanship.
- Check with the local chamber of commerce and Better Business Bureau to see if there are any negative reviews or comments.
2. What is the supplier’s primary line of business? Check carefully. Is it contracting or distributing? If they are a contractor first, you might want to keep a close eye on the product that you are supplied. Most contractors who sell sealer simply look at reselling product as another revenue stream. They treat their customers fairly and make sure that they provide a good product and customer experience. However, beware of some unscrupulous contractors out there that see you as competitor. They will do anything they can to damage your reputation, including selling you an inferior product, price gouging, or not selling you product at all when they know you are in a pinch. On the other hand, a business that either manufactures or distributes the material as their primary line of business should do whatever it takes to meet your needs.
3. Do your supplier’s products meet the applicable standards and specifications?
- Make sure that the sealers that you intend to buy meet all applicable specifications. There are two major types of sealers supplied the manufacturers; Refined Tar Sealers (RTS) and Asphalt Emulsion (AE) sealer. RTS are covered by many specifications (ASTM, Federal, FAA, etc.) but the AEs are covered only by industry specifications.
- Make sure that the manufacturer or its distributor is willing and ready to issue certifications of compliance to the applicable standards.
4. Is your supplier an expert in both technical and general industry knowledge? Your supplier should be thoroughly up to the speed with competitive products, the applicable specifications and be in a position to make recommendations to handle the job at hand. Additionally, your supplier should have a thorough knowledge about the tools and equipment required to do the job correctly. In unusual situations, your supplier should be able to analyze your needs and offer a remedy.
5. Does your supplier support its contractors with literature and online resources? The supplier should have a good supply of printed brochures and “Property Owner Friendly” sell sheets. Also the manufacturers and its distributor should have a good, easy-to-navigate website for use by sealcoating contractors. It will be really impressive if you carry an iPad to show your customers the product descriptions, application specifications, performance report, etc. right on the spot without having to call the home office.
6. Is your supplier a “one-stop shop”? Does your supplier stock items other than just sealer? The ability to purchase all necessary items in one place can save an enormous amount in fuel and downtime going from one supplier to another. Your suppliers should have:
- Items that are needed to mix with the sealer to create an appropriate mix design for your specific job
- Additives, crack fillers, traffic markings, primers and sundry items such as brushes, squeegees, tape, chalk, etc. You may also be able to leverage your sealer purchase volume to negotiate better deals on sundry items.
- Contacts to get you any piece of equipment that they do not carry in stock
7. What are your supplier’s hours of operation? Make sure that the supplier has favorable hours of operation and is willing to “bend over backwards” to serve you. Many suppliers require a nominal charge for service on Sundays and holidays and after hours. But this small fee can go a long way towards getting your customer back on their parking lot quickly. Although most suppliers have favorable hours, don’t be surprised if some have “banker’s hours.” I know a local supplier that that is open from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Saturday. This supplier is clearly structuring its hours to suit its needs, not the needs of its customers. Under such situations customers are clearly out of luck if they need more sealer to finish a job or want to fill up the night before to get an early jump on another job.
8. Does your supplier view your relationship as a partnership? Your supplier should be your partner and support you from A to Z. This means not only taking charge in analyzing complaints and rectifying problems but also in working with you on bids and proposals, should you need assistance.
Does your supplier partner with you in the event that there is a product issue, or do they “pass the buck”? Some suppliers will default to blaming the contractor any time there is a product failure: “You must’ve watered it down too much” or “You didn’t clean the pavement well enough,” or “The material was fine when it left our lot, you must’ve done something to it.” In my experience most of the time it’s truly not the product that is the problem. That being said, a good supplier will work with you to determine what really caused the failure. The supplier should be willing to visit the jobsite with you and provide a reasonable explanation of what occurred. In the event that the material was at fault they should be willing to stand behind their product. Generally this will occur in the form of replacement of the defective material.
Remember that a partnership is a two-way street. If your supplier’s employees are unethical, don’t take the bait; notify the supplier. If that employee is willing to cut you a deal for a cash payment, he is probably not above watering down the product he sells you.
9. Can your supplier help you complete large jobs? There’s nothing better than landing that 500,000-sq.-ft. sealcoating job. Can your supplier provide you with the material to get the job done? Do they have access to spot tankers that can be left on the jobsite so you can avoid costly refilling trips? All manufacturers and most distributors have the equipment to handle this type of request. If you’re buying from another contractor do they have a strong enough relationship with their manufacturer to be able to supply you with the required material and equipment?
By obtaining the answers to these questions you will end up developing a relationship with a sealer supplier who can help you as you grow your sealcoating business.
And one more thing: The industry’s sealer suppliers exhibit at local, regional and national industry events and trade shows. These shows give you the opportunity to speak face to face with various sealer suppliers in one location, and these producers are some of the best minds in the industry; they know their material, they know how and why it works, and they can answer just about any question put to them about sealcoating. So take advantage of these events to learn more about sealers and suppliers. Additionally these shows offer the opportunity to view all the new products and equipment in the industry that can help make your company stand above the rest!
Girish Dubey is president of STAR Inc., Columbus, OH.
GOOD SEALCOATING PRACTICES
CARE AND PRECAUTIONS FOR APPLICATION, STORAGE, HANDLING AND DISPOSAL OF STAR PRODUCTS
Please read the Product Bulletin, Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and Detailed Application specification before using the product. The points written below are to emphasize the aspects that are crucial for the environmental preservation.
APPLICATORS: PLEASE REMEMBER THAT SEALER SHOULD NOT BE APPLIED IF THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED. NO RAIN IN FORECAST FOR 24 HOURS SHOULD BE YOUR MINIMUM. PREVENTING RUNOFF IS NOT ONLY IMPORTANT TO SATISFYING YOUR CUSTOMER – BUT PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT IS JUST AS IMPORTANT.
STORMWATER BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES (BMPS)
Contractors: Plan, Minimize, Mitigate
- Plan: Identify important natural resources/environmentally sensitive areas and set protection priorities is the first step. Don’t seal if within 100 feet of a wetland.
- Minimize Impacts: Reduce potential runoff/pollutant load (not just sealer). Block during application, sweep 1 to 2 weeks after application to remove any loose granules.
- Do not apply too early or too late in the season. Asphalt surface must be 50 º F.
- Do not apply if thunderstorms are in the forecast.
Mitigate impacts by using BMPs (Best Management Practices) designed to prevent and/or eliminate runoff via controls.
- Immediately following initial application is the highest risk of runoff. But after initial cure/setup, the risk level of runoff drops close to inconsequential/zero risks. But to effectively eliminate the risk, a professional parking lot sweep one to two weeks after application will remove any and all remaining loose particles.
- Implementation, Enforcement, and Education: The applicators shall have the primary responsibility to study the information provided by the supplier, and seek assistance for the implementation of Good Sealcoating Practices.
- The pavement surface and air temperature shall be a min. 50 º F, and rising
- Do not apply on rainy, foggy, extremely humid days, or when the rain is in the forecast within 24 hours of the application.
Dampen the pavement with a fine mist of water if the surface temperature exceeds 120 º F, to facilitate even spreading of the sealer and cure to produce a film free of voids and pinholes. Do not allow water to puddle on the surface – (Optional Step).
PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT
Never dispose of sealer or other STAR products down a drain, into a storm sewer or any other bodies of water that might contaminate the environment.
CLEAN UP & DISPOSAL
Do not wash sealer holding tank on the property of the manufacturers without permission. Most local regulations require a water or liquid discharge permit for business. Must seek permission from the property owner.
Wash water from sealer storage tanks can be saved in drums or other suitable containers to be used as the water for dilution. If the water is stored for any length of time, it shall be treated with bleach @ 2 quarts /250 gal.
Dried sealer (both ref. coal tar based and asphalts based) can be disposed of as an industrial waste.
Metal and plastic containers are recyclable if your waste hauler accepts them. Do not discard in regular trash bins. Check local ordinance or with your waste hauler.
- Keep the containers closed tightly after use and store away from heat and sparks.
- Store above freezing temperature, in a covered warehouse.
- Keep out of reach of children and pets.
STAR PRODUCT RECOMMENDATION VALUABLE SUGGESTIONS
In the following section, we are making product and systems recommendations, which are offered in good faith, based on years of experience in the pavement maintenance industry. The optimum performance is to be expected if all recommendation is fully understood and executed. STAR team of professionals are always available to assist you in any manner, as needed, fully recognizing that our mutual success is solely dependent upon our dedication to offer the very best in products and services to the industry.
a. Sealcoating Recommendation. Which sealcoating is best suited for home driveway, commercial parking lots, FAA properties, etc.?
It has been established that sealcoatings extend the life of a pavement by 3 times, at 1/3rd. the cost compared to the total replacement of the pavement. Our Sealcoatings are the best suited for all types of applications, residential, commercial, airports, etc. For specific recommendation please click the following link.
b. Additives Recommendations
STAR manufactures a comprehensive range of sealcoating additives for boosting performance, longevity, fast drying, sand suspension, color enhancement, etc. The use of additives is very specific, therefore, shall be used with our recommendations. Our additives work with our various types of sealcoatings and shall not be used in competitive sealers.
c. Primers and specialty coatings for covering Oil Spots, Rust Spots, Tree Sap, New Asphalt, Polished Aggregates, etc.
– For Oil Spots, use STAR SOS.
– Use Genesis for or Oil Spots, Rust Spots, Tree Sap, New Asphalt, Polished Aggregates, etc. For specific recommendation please click the following link.
d. Crack Fillers and asphalt repair products
We have a very comprehensive range of both cold and hot pour crack fillers. Use STAR STE-FLEX– rubberized cold pour, water-based, crack sealant for cracks up to ½ inch wide. For larger crack and badly alligatored areas use, STAR SURE FLEX and STAR TROWEL GRADE PATCHNIG COMPOUNDS. Both are heavy bodied, mastic type cold-pour crack fillers. They are uniquely formulated by STAR, for superior performance. For specific recommendation please click the following link.
e. Traffic and Line Striping Paints.
Use STAR BRITE TRAFFIC PAINT – acrylic, latex based with exceptional hiding properties. For faster drying, use STAR BRITE PLUS TRAFFIC PAINT – 100% acrylic paint. It contains high solids, 50% more coverage per gallon. Allow 3 to 4 minutes to dry. For specific recommendation please click the following link.
As the industry leader, Graco Inc. offers a complete product line specifically designed for the professional painting contractor. From airless sprayers to line stripers, Graco products are known for their quality, warranty and performance features.
Billy Goat Industries
Billy Goat is the premier manufacturer of commercial grade outdoor power equipment used in debris management. They design and produce industrial strength machinery, including leaf and litter vacuums, wheeled blowers, walk-behind brush cutters, truck loaders, and power rakes.
Pavement Magazine Online
Pavement is the industry’s leading magazine for asphalt paving and maintenance contractors and manufacturers and distributors of all industry related products. This site/magazine is a must for any asphalt-related business.
Equipment World Online Magazine
Equipment World’s website is the answer to all of your equipment needs. Featuring news, calendars and product introductions.
Commercial construction professionals will find everything from construction news to construction management information to the latest on construction …
Allied Paving Equipment Publication
Allied Paving Equipment Publication is a leading magazine for asphalt paving and maintenance contractors and manufacturers and distributors of all industry related products. This site/magazine is a must for any asphalt-related business
Register online for the only tradeshow and seminar program devoted to the specialized field of pavement maintenance and reconstruction equipment, materials, application techniques, and business practices, NPE is also the No. 1 place to learn about industry trends, as well as to see and buy the latest innovations.
World of Asphalt
World of Asphalt offers countless ways to help make your operation more cost-effective, efficient and profitable. View the current exhibitor directory and the many educational opportunities.
The Asphalt Institute is a U.S. based association of international petroleum asphalt producers, manufacturers, and affiliated businesses. The Asphalt Institute’s mission is to promote the use, benefits and quality performance of petroleum asphalt, through engineering, research and educational activities and through the resolution of issues affecting the industry.
National Asphalt Pavement Association
N.A.P.A. is an association for the asphalt industry. Their site contains industry resources, news, press releases, publications, videos and other related topics.
Pavement Coating Technology Council
P.C.T.C. is a joint enterprise industry and the University of Nevada, Reno. The mission of the center is to provide opportunities for dialogue, education, advancement, and improvement of all aspects of the pavement coating industry through meetings, research and development, training, seminars, communications, publications, and other programs and activities.