If you're thinking about starting your own sealcoating business, there is a lot to consider! First, you'll need to consider the basics of how will you run your business. Then, you'll need to figure out what pieces of equipment to purchase, as well as how you're going to get asphalt supplies. Read this asphalt business strategy guide to find all the answers you need.
As in any business, 'Perception is Reality'. Make sure you present yourself in a professional manner. By this we mean make sure that your truck or trailer and the way that you and your people are dressed looks neat, clean and professional.
The way you look and present yourself will have a direct impact on your sales effectiveness, closing ratios and the price you are able to obtain for your work.
In most cases you will be making cold calls in person, driving through a neighborhood and stopping door to door. In some cases you may be making phone calls to set up free estimate meetings. In all cases it is critical that you practice your presentation skills, develop your own script and approach.
From our experience there is nothing more effective than 'being there' on a bright sunny day and speaking one on one with a perspective customer and once you've got one job underway on a street and you start knocking on the next person's door and they see you are already doing a job close by……your chances for landing a series of jobs on that street are very good which will have a big impact on your profit potential that day.
Use the Best Asphalt & Sealcoating Product:
The quality of the Sealcoating product you use will have a direct long term impact on your success. You can use the QUALITY element as a key feature of your sales presentation and DEMONSTRATE the specific BENEFITS that the quality of your product provides to your clients. Appearance, durability and longer life are all key benefits of the Asphalt Kingdom products.
How should you start marketing your business and how should you get your first customers? You should start with...
DRIVEWAY and OTHER ASPHALT SURFACE PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS:
RAIN: Asphalt sealer can be applied up to ½ to ¾ of an hour before a rain.
APPLICATION TEMPERATURE: Do not apply at a temperature less than 40°F and more than 95°F.
CURING / DRYING TIME: The time to dry will vary, depending on weather conditions. Normally, it can be walked on 24 hours later or can be driven on after 48 hours – But always advise your client to stay off the surface for as long as possible as this allows for the best job.
CLEANUP: To clean tools use gasoline or diesel.
Once the sealer dries it will be difficult to remove, because of its extreme quality and durability. Fabric stains are permanent. Work gloves and eye protection are recommended.
One of the frustrating things that can happen with sealcoating is losing pressure while spraying. There are three common reasons for this to happen and several things you can do to prevent or fix this problem. Learn how to fix sealcoating pressure problems »
The saying, "You have to spend money to make money" is certainly true, but there are also ways to save your asphalt business money by spending smart. Here are three areas of simple and smart business practices that will keep money in your pocket. Every independent operator should know these ways to save money.
Every country, and even state, has their own tax laws, so don’t let a fear of numbers scare you as an owner. The fact is, not knowing is costing you a fortune. An accountant is worth their weight in savings. Or you can take a course at a local college or even online to learn more about tax savings in your off-season. Here’s just a sampling of ways that your asphalt business can save money with accounting know-how.
Sealant is easily the most-used supply in the asphalt business, so it’s also one of your biggest costs and your best money-maker. Here are simple ways to make that work for you and save your money.
The most important question of all business owners is how to go out and get customers, whether you are a brand new company, or an existing asphalt sealing business. Earlier, we touched on Getting Your Business Started, so let's move on to the basics of sales. After all, knowing how to seal asphalt is only part of what you need to know; you also need to know how to sell yourself, and grow your business.
Here are the 5 basics of your Asphalt Sales Strategy Guide to success:
Very simply, the first step is to know where to look and find customers. For instance, there is no point in knocking on someone's door that clearly has recently had their driveway sealed, or in a neighborhood where the driveways have just been installed. However, in a newly built area where the driveways are about a year old is perfect! New home-owners need to know how important it is to seal and protect their very expensive asphalt investment. Here are your tips for qualifying your customer:
The very best thing you can do is to approach each door as if there is a new mother at home alone with her baby. By keeping that in mind, you will not find yourself making the most common mistake of hulking right outside the door and invading people's personal space! Be respectful and polite, and wear something that identifies who you are; a company shirt, or an ID badge with the company name and logo. Begin by letting them know who you are, your company and what it does, which brings you to why you are at their door. Tips for being disarming and respectful:
For a demo on how this works, watch this 8-minute video from Asphalt Kingdom president Judd Burdon.
You must be able to do the following three things:
How you do this is up to you, but an iPad or PC Tablet is an incredibly easy and efficient tool to show images of your work and to take down information. You will still need flyers or business cards. An old fashioned binder with photos works too if you don't have a tablet.
Tips for your sales tools:
Strangely enough, people get so focused on 'selling' they forget to do the most important part, and actually wrap things up and close the sale. Here are the steps you need to keep in mind:
Not only is it sooner than you think, it's easier than you think! While you are on the job sealcoating driveways, you're not available to go door-to-door. Yet that is the best time to canvas the area for more work. Wouldn't it be perfect to have someone else seeking out new customers? One of the biggest objections is that business owners feel they don't have time to spend training someone to sell. There's an easy solution. Pay your salesperson a percentage of each job they book.
Here's the key to success: Pay them more when they reach a goal.
Here's how you do it. Pay them, for example, 5% of every job they book. For your average $150 driveway, they get $7.50. Now, set a goal. If they get say 10 bookings, they now earn 10% of all the jobs they booked that day, that is a huge incentive to double their earnings. That's how you motivate someone to be good at what they do, by rewarding them for achieving their goals. Just imagine how many more jobs you can do in a day, when you don't have to go door-to-door and you have a highly motivated sales person getting the next day's work lined up for you.
Bonus Tip: Train them by having them read this article, to learn about sealcoating and sales.
If you're looking to advertise in your local newspaper, there are a few main things that can have an impact on the conversion of a marketing campaign in a newspaper:
We highly recommend that you review and compare your ad quality to your competitors', and get advice from qualified sealcoating professionals with a successful business.
Ask the newspaper editor or advisor to give you advice on the size of the ad and the part of the paper that will attract the most eyes (example: home maintenance section, spring clean up, or fall clean up sections).
Make sure to run heavy advertising at the beginning of the season (in Spring) when people are cleaning up their yards, and again at the end of the season when people are getting ready for winter.
Also, be sure to include that you provide commercial and residential free estimates on your marketing materials.
Door to Door
Another thing that sealcoaters tend to push aside is the direct door-to-door marketing. Knocking on doors and leaving free estimates will bring the best conversion results at the end of the day. Generally, good salespeople can close at a 10% closing conversation ratio when going door to door.
Some areas don't allow direct soliciting, so we recommend leaving a "Sorry We Missed You" door hanger. We provide a free template for this as part of or sealcoating business marketing package. This allows you to leave a free estimate and let's the potential client know that you will be back in the area and they can save on the travel expense and get an on-the-site discount. It works very well; you would be surprised with the number of callbacks!
Another thing that sealcoaters need to be aware of is that more and more people search on the web to find a local contractor. Generally they use their favorite search engine and type in their city or town, followed by the keyword "sealcoating" or "seal coating", etc. Make sure you use these words when you are advertising online or when you are building a website.
Use Social Media: Give your asphalt business a social presence where you can post before-and-after photos of your work. Give tips on how to clean up fuel spills and stains to extend the life of their pavement. Social media is free, and the perfect way to showcase how good your work is.
The Internet is being used every day by your potential clients. Don't fall behind and be sure to include a Facebook page or website into your marketing program too.
Existing Customers Are Your Bread And Butter
Did you know that it costs you far less to keep your current customers than to find new ones? When economic times are tight, and you need to curb your spending on advertising, focus on the clients you do have.
Customers are wary because of asphalt scams run by crooks. This has painted the whole driveway sealing business with a black brush. What can you do, to show that you are an honest sealcoating company? Whether you are a student applying asphalt sealer for the summer, or an established company with years of experience, there are simple steps to take to reassure wary new clients and grow your client list.
Business Phone: Ideally, you want to have someone professional and courteous to answer your phone. They need to be able to set up appointments for quotes, answer questions about products, and deal with customers as you would yourself. This may not be an option for a student running their own driveway sealing business, but you can still present yourself as a professional. Have voice mail that’s geared to your sealcoating company, to reassure people you’re not running asphalt scams. Friends and family will understand business must come first and still leave you a message.
Internet Presence: A website is great way to showcase your completed asphalt sealing jobs with before and after images, customer compliments, references, and a way to contact you by email. It is a commitment, and you must make a point to keep it up-to-date, or risk looking like a thrown-together website.
Facebook is an easy way to create a page for your driveway sealing business, without having to create your own website. Ask your clients to like your page, and give feedback on your sealcoating company. Scam artists rarely go to the trouble of creating an internet presence anywhere. Don’t forget about Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other sites you already use. The more people can see you visibly showcasing your work, the more trust new clients will have in you.
Flyers, Doorhangers, Business Cards: Let’s face facts: door-to-door is the best way to get new customers, especially when you are already in the neighborhood working. But, and it’s a big but, this is the number one way scams are run, too! Have with you flyers, door-hangers, and/or business cards for your sealcoating company that have these important items on it:
Marketing tip: We offer a free marketing package to help new and experienced companies.
Asphalt scams and the people who run them, hurt all of us in this business. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, and present yourself in the very best way possible to reassure potential new clients. Have your phone for your driveway sealing business answered professionally, and courteously. Create an internet presence to showcase your work, references, and that you have a reputation to protect. When you go door-to-door, carry flyers, door-hangers, and/or business cards to show you are a legitimate sealcoating company. All of these steps will help you to reassure wary new customers that you are not running a scam and will help you grow your business.
Whether you have a brand-new asphalt sealing business or you are looking to grow your existing company's client list, you now have the tools for success. Just remember your 5 steps.
First, qualify your customer by seeking out prime areas where driveways need sealcoating.
Second, be disarming, and approach every door thinking that a new mother alone with her baby is the one at home. Be respectful and courteous, and do not hulk right outside the door.
Third, have your sales tools with you; flyers, appointment calendar, and before-and-after shots of your work.
Fourth, never forget to close the sale by booking either an appointment or a call back time, and always ask the customer if they have any questions.
Fifth and final part of your sales strategy is to hire a sales team who is motivated to get out and sell by offering them a higher percentage when they reach a set goal each day. In no time, you'll be busier than you ever hoped to be, and growing your business quickly and profitably.