Spring will be upon us shortly, and for the majority of the country the temperatures will soon be warm enough for seal coating.
The milder temperatures that much of the country enjoyed this winter may have left a few less potholes to be filled, but the need for pavement maintenance is still crucial to extend pavement life. Before you head out to begin doing business this year, make sure that you do your basic equipment maintenance first. Spending a little time and money now will keep you from suffering unneeded breakdowns and wasting those valuable warm sunny days.
Begin with your truck, make sure that you have the oil changed, the brakes are in good condition, your tires will take you into the season safely, and all of your lights are working. Check all of your safety gear, fire extinguishers, first aid kit, personal protection gear, and emergency triangles, just in case you do suffer a breakdown. Clean everything up to present a professional image –don’t start out the season in a filthy vehicle. Do your signs need replaced on the truck, squeegee machine, or spray rig?
Next check your sealcoating equipment. Did you thoroughly clean out the tanks, and scrape all of the dried sealer off of the agitator? Take a hose and rinse down the inside of the tank, this will help to push any dried chunks of sealer to the pump out port. Make sure that you have a clean strainer basket inserted and pump the water out of the mixing tank. I suggest a good 75 to 100 gallons of water to be run through the pump. The most common problem we see on start up in the Spring is clogged pumps and hoses from not thoroughly cleaning and rinsing the tank. Make sure that you have a clean strainer basket in good condition, and a spare to take with you. If you do clog a basket, having a spare will keep your crew working instead of cleaning or chasing down a basket.
Did you change the oil in your pumps, and engines? Are your squeegees, or spray wands in good shape? Do you need fresh squeegee rubber or spray tips? Do you have spare spray tips? Now is the time to be sure. Are your tires and brakes in good shape, and are all of the lights working? Clean and make sure that your seal coat equipment has fresh decals, this is a billboard for your company. Does it say “I’m neat and professional”, or “I don’t really care” or “I’m sloppy.” Who would you hire?
If you have hot pour crack fill as part of your service, is that equipment ready to go? If you are not doing hot pour, is this the season to start? It’s a valuable service and a nice profit center. The same goes for line striping. Many contractors are adding these services. When you can offer all of their pavement maintenance needs without making them chase separate contractors, it makes an easy decision for a property owner or manager.