Avoiding Disaster  Too often contractors turn to their material vendors without knowing if what they are ordering is REALLY the best solution for the job. As with any craft, one given set of circumstances can require a vastly different approach than another. The same goes for repairing asphalt.

  I received a phone call from a contractor who wanted to bid on a large repair job for a parking lot, based on doing a repair demo of a pothole using Perma-Patch. Many times vendors will provide a brief application description of their product to the customer without asking a lot of questions about the existing conditions of the repair and surrounding areas. This can be a recipe for disaster for your customer, your products and company’s reputation.

  When contractors’s approach their materials vender, it is critical that they provide as much information as possible as to how the vender’s material will be applied and what the conditions of the existing pavement are. As in all road or parking areas the # 1 critical factor is the base. The base is what provides all of the support to the asphalt/concrete road or parking areas. By providing the vendor a detailed description of what the surface of surrounding pothole and the parking area looked like, one usually identifies quickly the general condition of the base. In this case the contractor’s customer was interested in repairing potholes and just having an overlay done of the parking area. By providing a clear description of the appearance of the parking area was, the vendor found it that it was covered with alligator and spider cracking, a clear indication that the base underneath had been eroded and weakened or perhaps never been built up properly. It is better for the contractor, even if they lose the job, to be up front with their customer and let them know repairing the potholes and doing an overlay is only a temporary solution. It will crack again and the potholes will reform unless the base is solidified. They really need to remove the pavement, shore up the base and repave.

  The contractor’s customer now can make an informed decision and weigh the risks. If the contractor had not gathered this information not only would their customer be upset, but the vendor would have gotten a bad reputation, despite it not being a product failure, but an application failure. That is a losing proposition for all parties involved that can be avoided by sharing as much information with your vendor in order to present the best solution for your customer.