What type of equipment to purchase is probably one of the most difficult decisions that you will make as you start your business. Spending too much can leave you close to insolvent before you even get your first job. Spending too little can prevent you from being able to do the work people are paying you to do.
We had previously discussed equipment in the article on funding. I have listed below the basic equipment that an average striping and sealcoating will need.
1. Sealcoating machine – $100 – $3,000 – $20,000 (manually – affordable machine – expensive machine)
2. Striping Machine – $600 – $6,000
3. Trailer – $600 – $3,000 (5 x 8 trailer or an enclosed trailer) *
4. Blower – $50 – $500 (hand blower or blower on wheels)
5. Traffic cones – $5 – $15 each (you will need 6 – 10 cones)
6. Stencils – $100 (see article on making your own stencils)
7. Rollers, brushes, paint trays, measuring tape, angle tool, black spray paint, marking paint or crayon, roll of rope for making long straight lines – $100
* My favorite setup is a nice truck towing an enclosed cargo trailer with a ramp gate. Your equipment stays dry and safe and the sides and back of the trailer are great places for advertising.
These are the basics. Don’t try to skimp on a blower and use a broom. Your time is more valuable than that. Don’t think you are going to get your equipment out to a site with a very small trailer or in the back of a car or Jeep. You won’t. Don’t try to put down lines with a roller or a small spray can striper. The job will not look professional. Don’t skimp on supplies and then wait until you get to your first job at midnight to acquire them. Only Walmart is open.
Remember, time is money. Your time on the job is valued at about $50 per hour. If you save $50 and spend two unneeded hours then you are $50 in the hole and will go deeper each time you do a job. Good equipment will save you time on the job.
Think like a successful businessman. Don’t cut corners when you don’t have to. Be thrifty but not cheap. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it but if you know you are going to need it, get it.
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Steven Cole (Economics, MBA – University of West Florida, Business & Innovation – Stanford University) 30 years experience in the parking lot striping business. Expert in reflective visibility solutions.