New Business startup

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    Hi Everyone,
    I’m currently working on starting a small stripping business up in Edmonton, Canada. I do have experience doing this so that is not an issue. What is becoming an issue is getting info on what people are being charged to have parking lots painted. I have no idea (as far as I can remember it was something like $0.70/linear meter when I was doing it a few years ago but this was only hear say).

    So what I am hoping to get from those of you running businesses is some ideas of what you are charging. I’m not coming into your markets so don’t worry I wont come and undercut you ;).

    Also I am familiar with the Linelazer III series but have never used one of the IV series. I would like to pick up two Linelazer 3900 IV’s with the auto layout system. Is the auto layout system worth it? Are these machines still good and what type of life can I expect out of them.


    PS. I’ll take any advice anyone has regarding starting this new venture.



    Hello Nathaniel
    I give away all my prices in my book = per foot, curb, playground games, standard stencils, large stencils…etc.
    But…that’s my area. I live in a larger city…many stripers…so…paint is less expensive…competition is probably more than normal.
    So…sometimes bidding is an art. It does have to do with your overhead and your competition…but as you get experience…you know what jobs will take more time…and what jobs you can easily move right through and still make them look beautiful.
    The “Auto Layout”…I’ve written before,,,my opinion…here it is in a nutshell…sorry that’s an American idiom…here it is…all condensed into a tiny little statement…”Paint (2) polka dots on the ground, 36′ apart. Now…stripe a line perfectly straight between them. Now…paint (4) polka dots in a perfectly straight line. And…here’s the spacing…36″ between the first 2…then 24” to the 3rd dot…then 36′ to the 4th dot. Now…so…here’s what you have . . . . OK? Stripe (2) perfectly straight lines between the 36′ gaps…skipping the smaller middle gap. Can you do that? Everytime? Can you even place the dots in a straight row? I can’t. Now turn 90 degrees…and do it again. In other words…all lines need to be 1) Straight…2) “Lined Up”…3) The same length.
    Nathaniel…this is my opinion…auto layout is over rated and over priced. I’m completely open to discussion. I am. But…this thing isn’t being picked up by others = competition…and it doesn’t have the momentum that the Lazy Liner does. The Lazy Liner was a game changer. Now we’re all riding. But we’re not all “auto layout” …ing. I’ll wait another couple years. Again…I’m open to hear from you.
    OK…let me say it first…”and that was in a nutshell?”


    Hi there!

    We have a fleet of graco’s with the auto lay-out. we were the first in Canada to get these machines. when my father and i attended the show, we were the only ones in Ontario there! so we have always gotton a good deal on Graco’s. Anyways, i can say that they are a great system, that are miles above speeflo! i am old school and i like to lay it out by hand. but the system works and i think i pays for it self fast! you need to know how to calibrate it and use it properly and you are set. it only costs us about $900 a unit to install. So we think its worth it. however, you cant beat good ol’ manual layout! any questions about anything just ask. you are far away so i fell safe talking to you! EH? ah ha just kiddin’. 🙂



    OH and i would also like to mention…

    -if you take care of a unit you can get many years out of it. for instance… i have this older Graco 200 hs, it has been used HEAVILY. ok? by i mean “heavily” i mean used for intersections and road makings, houndereds of hours a year. i have had it for i think 5 yrs. i have put approx.. 8,000 liters through it. i am not kidding. i checked the life liters on the data control panel that tells how many “life-liters” it’s sprayed and i have really been the only one to use it. now most people won’t believe that, but it’s true. i have never rebuilt it. no joke.

    Taking care of an airless machine includes…

    – over long period storage. leave cheap hydralic oil in it instead of water of mineral spirits.

    – if you can avoide excessive flushing that would help. toluene is harsh on packings.

    – Prevent running the system out of paint. i have had pumps in my shop that i took apart that had a blue piston rod from over heating. One of my employees tryed to suck up paint for a few minuetes due to a cloged suction line. He ran it without paint going through it. if you arent getting pressure, investagate… check hoses, paint, and filter… regularly.



    Too cool. I’m willing to bet the reason you have soooo many hours on your Graco is because it’s Hydraulic.
    I have a Hydraulic Titan. I love it. Wanted another. Sherwin Williams offered me a Graco 3900 Mechanical for $3500.00. I hated the fact that I had to buy it. But they’re good people and they were stuck with it…though I never did get my Graco Dollars! Oh well.
    I’ve now used it. It seems to “dry pump” every few weeks or so. I was told that when I get my Graco Dollars that I should use them to purchase another Fluid Section. That way if it fails…I can quickly swap out and keep on the job. No…I’m not out of paint…no…the rock catcher isn’t completely blocked with “paint skins” giving the pump a false reading that it’s out of paint. Yes…I clean it. All that said…It works well. But…I was worried on the last 23,000′ Center line. I was riding and hoped it could keep up at 3 MPH and 2200 lbs of pressure. Well…it did… I know I could’ve put more pressure on it and gone with a bigger tip…but when I start “flying”…is when I screw up…especially when the old centerlines aren’t very pronounced. Over all…I was fine. Here’s my question to you…would you chance using 2 guns at 2200 lbs. and a .021 tip and ride…with a Mechanical Pump? Or…would you pull out the Hydraulic Unit?
    1) $900.00 to install an Auto Layout? On any unit? A 3900M?
    2) Can you keep the “Tail Ends” of all your stripes in line?…when you’re “Laying Out” at the 9′ Dimensions?
    3) Do you use any snapping after the “dots” are sprayed?
    4) Raymond, you mentioned Toluene. Do you use Acetone Based Paint? Or can you use Alkyd.
    Hey, see ya.
    By the way…I’ve been to Canada with my Dad as a boy. Those are memories I’ll never ever forget. Lake Knobsing…fishing…2 weeks. He took me out of school…twice. Caught my biggest Walleye and still have the picture…right here.
    See ya.


    Hey again dan!

    you seem to be the only one answering me so i will devote some time to this forum thing! ha ah ah 🙂

    Ok, i have a mechanical 3900. i dont really like them because of the obvious reputation they have aquired over the years. ie electic clutches breaking, rebuilding the pumps… yearly. so i like the hydralic 200 hs’s. they are a heavy duty machine that i find are nicely balanced. expecialy with a driver. 3900’s and 5900’s tend to be top heavy with a glass bead dispencer. all of our units have them for municipal work.

    now, the bigger tip issue.. (0.21? i put that in a one gun mechanical machine for doing stop bars, crosswalks…, and a 0.23 for 200 hs one gun)i find that when you use bigger tips, you should crank up the pressure right? i see alot of guys up here do that… and all you see is hourglassing, and worn pumps. because they are working the piss out of them! ha ha thats why we get the the 200 hs for high perfomance road work. now if you are doing smallER work… then your fine i think, two guns… smaller tips… slower speed.. 🙂
    you have a driver? i like the new 2009 models. there Faster!! …big wide comfy tires, so your kindnies arent the suspension! and the drink holder to boot!

    Autolayout…..900$ (CAN DALLAR) for all of them… for us i think??? when i layout a parking lot i still do it by hand. we get them for laying out streets, and skips and sometimes long rows of parking stalls. i use a chalk line across the begging of the stalls then i use the auto to layout the spaces… like they are good for simple things.. saving ur back. if the ground is even then it should be fine. if the guy is inexperienced .. then i snap a line from the two dots to make it a razor line… which like you, as i seen on your video… i like my lines to be lined up and uniform… the only way to be!

    for many many years all we used up here was alklyde. now we used both waterborne and oil. some municipalities stipulate water or oil. but we can apply both. we find that they are going… “GREEN” so water is the future up here. i have never used Ascetone… what solvent do you use for that?


    Hey Raymond
    Yeah…I don’t want to conclude after one season…but I know why I like my hydraulic. Maybe I could trade it in. But…I got some kind of run around when I bought it…afterwards I mean…and never received my Graco Dollars. Like I said…oh well.
    I’ll tell you what else…my pump toggle switch is bad. If I shut the pump off…it may not come back on.
    I think I’m going to wait for the Auto Layout. Most of my work is layout…but I don’t see the same kind of job repeating itself so many times that it would warrant buying an Auto Layout. Maybe one day. Maybe there’s something I’m missing.
    Now…all that said…I have an older Graco Driver. It was used when I picked it up. I don’t have any complaints.
    As far as the paint?…I loved the Alkyd. SW now boasts Acetone…but that takes Toluene or MEK or Naptha? = 12.00 per gallon and more up where you are. Then there’s the waste issue…or we just don’t clean the airless. I do clean out the tip and turn it 90 decrees. Anyhow…I use my HRL for the Alkyd and I use the airless for Latex. Some say Acetone will “pit” the inside of a tank unless it’s Stainless Steel. That adds 1100.00 to an HRL. I’ll wait and see. And there are other companies = paint companies saying they have Alkyd. Either they’re wrong or…? I’ll buy it.
    If you do ever use Acetone…a buddy of mine had a couple days of clogging. He thought it was the actual Acetone in the paint eating the old alkyd deposits still in the machine.
    I’ll let you know if I wear out my 3900. Poor thing. I do want to look at their Thermo Hand Liner.
    Se ya.

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