How to Start Your Very Own Asphalt Sealcoating Business
How to Start an Asphalt Sealcoating Business
Asphalt sealcoating is one of those things that’s constantly in demand. There are thousands of parking lots, driveways, and walkways out there that have been covered in asphalt instead of being paved in concrete.
Just think about it, there’s literally asphalt everywhere.
In order to keep that asphalt in good condition, a regular schedule of sealcoating is required. Since property owners may not have the time and money required to use and rent sealcoating equipment, they hire companies to do this important job for them. Once you start your asphalt sealcoating business, that company just might be yours.
Wondering how to get your new asphalt sealcoating business off the ground? We’re here to help.
Why Start an Asphalt Sealcoat Business?
There are plenty of new industries out there with shaky financial foundations. Luckily, asphalt businesses are not one of them. This industry has been around for decades, and there’s still a lot of room for growth. It’s considered to be a “mature” niche, thanks to its longevity. If you want to start a business in a proven field, then look no further than a sealcoating business.
Asphalt sealcoating and crack repair businesses have also been known to do really well during recessions and economic downturns. No matter what the economy looks like, asphalt will need to be repaired, and there will be a need for someone to do it. Will it be you?
With that said, there are plenty of other reasons why you might want to start a sealcoating business. If you already have a business in a similar niche, such as landscaping, then you could merge it with a sealcoating business. In addition, if your dream is to start a business from scratch, because you want to be your own boss, then look no further than asphalt sealcoating.
Another reason to get into this business is profitability. Even in a fairly competitive market, you can charge a fair hourly rate and still make money. The cost of sealcoating equipment and materials is fairly low, compared to similar industries, so the ability to make a profit is high.
For example, the average hourly charge for sealcoating is $125.00 an hour, although some businesses prefer to charge a flat rate for the entire project. A standard sealcoating treatment for a parking lot can cost the client anywhere from $500 and up, with the price for a driveway ranging from $300 and up, depending on the size.
Of course, these are just a few examples. There are plenty of reasons to start an asphalt sealcoating business. So, what’s yours?
How to Actually Start a Sealcoating Business
Now that you know why you should (or want to) start an asphalt sealcoat business, there are a number of steps to take in order to do so successfully. These steps will help you get your business off on the right foot.
Put Together a Business Plan and File the Proper Paperwork
The first thing that you need to do when starting any business, especially an sealcoating one, is to write up a business plan. This requires a little bit of research, as you need to look into the industry and generate prices for everything from startup costs to the amounts that you can charge your customers. In addition, you’ll need to create a business name, among other things.
What to Include in Your Business Plan
Rough estimates of pricing for equipment, including your sprayer, mixer, edger, and materials (emulsions sealer).
Estimate price of forming a sole proprietorship of LLC (usually LLC's are a few hundred dollars, depending on which state you're in).
How you will advertise and find customers
What services will you be offering with your sealcoating business? Only sealcoating? Or will you include crack repairs and line striping as well?
What makes you unique? Why should customers go to you and not your competitors? Maybe you can do it cheaper or faster than others, or guarantee your work for longer?
Are you going to target residential customers or commercial customers?
What will your overhead costs be? This includes monthly subscriptions payments and your average cost of sealer each month
To help you answer these questions, you can conduct some market research and see what your current competitors charge per square foot, what kind of machines and material they use, etc. This will give you a better idea of how to answer these questions for your own business plan.
If the business plan is making you feel overwhelmed, don't worry, keep reading through the article and a lot of these questions will answer themselves.
Forming Your Business
Once you have your business plan in place, it’s time to take the next step: forming your business. You can either start a sole proprietorship or an LLC. LLC’s can offer you more tax savings and more protection from a potential lawsuit than a sole proprietorship, which is why many people choose this route.
NOTE: I’m not a certified financial planner/advisor nor a certified financial analyst nor an economist nor a CPA nor an accountant nor a lawyer. All advice here is from my own experience and should taken as such. We recommend you reach out to a lawyer or a CPA for advice on this topic.
There are several forms that you’ll need to fill out in order to officially become a business in the eyes of the state. After that, you need to get your business’ tax identification number (also known as a Tax ID number), officially known as an EIN, from the IRS.
Do I Need Insurance?
Once you have your tax ID number, you'll want to make sure you have the right kind of insurance in place. Every business, but particularly those that do sealcoating, will need to have liability insurance, just in case something goes wrong. This will protect your business.
There are other forms of insurance that you’ll need as well, including those on your company’s vehicles and equipment. However, since you won’t need a lot of equipment (and just one vehicle) in order to start your business, the costs of these insurances will be fairly low.
Once all of this is done, you can order some business cards and signs for your business. You can offer your customers a small discount for displaying your sign in their yard for a period of time after the job is done. This is a clever way to advertise and get new business. Those business cards are another essential. Passing them out to people, leaving them on bulletin boards around your area, and doing everything possible to ensure that other businesses will see them is one of the least expensive methods of advertising.
As you can see, there’s a low barrier of entry for sealcoating businesses. You don’t need a college degree, and there isn’t a lot of equipment needed up front (We’ll get to that in a second.).
Because of this, you can be up and running in a matter of days, once you get your business plan situated and all of your paperwork and insurance in place. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to start an asphalt maintenance business. It’s easy to get up and running in no time.
Once your business plan is in place and filled out, let's dive into how much you will need to spend on a sealcoating machine.
What Initial Investments Will I Need to Make in My Asphalt Sealcoating Business?
In order to start your business out on the right foot, you’ll need to make an initial investment in the right type of equipment and materials. In this section we'll quickly cover our most popular asphalt sealcoat sprayers and systems and how much they cost. Be sure to check out our collection of driveway spray sealers for more information.
Some of the Most Important Items You will Need to Invest In
Starting Small with a Portable Sprayer - If you're on a budget and you want to start small and work your way up, you'll want to buy yourself a portable sealcoating sprayer. We recommend either the 55 gallon drum sealer sprayer or the 275 gallon tote asphalt sealcoating sprayer. These portable systems are a small initial investment, but can do a professional job.
A portable sealcoat machine like these cost around $1,300-$1,400 which is a relatively small investment to get started.
A Sealcoating Tank and Spray System – For professional contractors or those looking to grow their business, the most important piece of equipment you’ll need is a sealcoating tank and sealcoating spray system. As you guessed, a sealcoating tank holds and heats the sealcoating material, as well as the related machinery that you attach the hoses to in order to spread the sealcoating as needed. With a more efficient sealcoat spray system, you can take on more sealcoating jobs and earn more money.
In some cases, these pieces of equipment come attached to a trailer, which would prevent you from needing a separate trailer in the first place. This kind of machine will make you not only appear as a professional sealcoating business, but help you earn more money and be more profitable.
Our sealcoating tanks and spray systems cost around $4,000 - $6,000, which is considerably more than a portable sprayer, but an investment that will pay itself many times over.
A Truck – To start a professional sealcoating business, you need a sealcoating tank and attached machine, which is used to spray the material onto the asphalt so that it can be spread. In order to move these items from place to place, you’ll need a truck that’s capable of pulling a trailer that can handle the weight of the equipment.
Remember, even an old truck will do at first. An old Ford Ranger or Toyota beater for a few grand will do just fine. Your future clients will see that you are working hard and they will respect you for that, don’t fall into the belief that they won’t take you seriously if you drive an old truck!
(Optional) A Trailer – Without a trailer, you’d have to transport the tank and machinery, as well as any additional supplies, in the bed or back of your truck. If your equipment can fit easily in the bed of your truck, there is no need for a trailer, but as your grow your business you may find the need to purchase a one.
Even if that sounds expensive, we offer financing to new business owners just like you. Fasttrack your sealcoating business success and finance the equipment you need with us!
In addition to the sealcoating tank and everything that goes along with it, you’ll need some accessories that are designed to help spread that material around the top of the asphalt. You’ll need:
A Hose – The hose connects to the sealcoating tank on one end and the spray wand on the other, making it easy to lay down the material where you need it. Once it’s down, you or your employees can take it from there. Most of our sealcoat machines and packages come equipped with a hose.
A Spray Wand – Sealcoating spray wands tend to have an extension attachment on the end that makes it easy to turn the spray on and off, as well as stay out of the spray zone. Using one will make it easy to lay down the sealcoating without making too much of a mess of yourself. Again, most of our machines and packages include a spray wand.
Edger (Bonus) - Although not necessary, our Wand Wizard Edger is a very useful tool to help you not overspray. You just hook the nozzle up to it and it will direct the sealer away from the curb and in the direction of the asphalt only.
A Power Brush – Once the sealcoating is on top of the asphalt, you’ll need to spread it around. This is where a power brush comes into play. The power brush helps with this, and the “power” aspect prevents you from having to spread out the sealcoating manually. It also makes the job go faster, which is good when you’re covering a large parking lot.
Check our all of our sealcoating accessories here.
Buying the Right Material
Obviously, you’ll need the sealcoat itself in order to get your business off of the ground. The material is sold by the drum, and there are several different types to choose from. They include:
The Asphalt Sealer We Recommend
Emulsion Sealer – If you want to do professional sealcoating jobs and get paid top dollar, this type of sealcoating material is for you. It’s made of a mixture of emulsifier, asphalt, and water, and expands on its own to cover more area. If you're ready to make a purchase, check out our collection of emulsion sealers here.
Other Asphalt Sealers
Standard Sealer – Also known as plain sealer, this sealcoating doesn’t have any sand added to its composition. If the asphalt is in really good condition, then this type will work.
Tar Sealer – Also known as coal tar sealer, this type of sealcoating is a byproduct of the oil refining process. It leaves behind a thick, hard layer on the surface of the asphalt. This type is the easiest to come by, as well as the least expensive.
Filler Sealer – Sometimes, you want something that can easily do two jobs at once. The filler sealer has sand included in the mix that will take care of small cracks while sealing the asphalt at the same time.
How to Finance Your Sealcoat Sprayer Equipment
Here at Asphalt Industrial, we offer financing and just about any size order. We partnered with a well known and trusted financing company called Klarna, to help you get the sealcoating equipment you need to take on the sealcoating jobs you want. When you're on the product you'd like to purchase, go ahead and click "Add to Cart." Go through the checkout process and add in your shipping info. Then you'll get to a payment page that looks like this:
Just click the circle that says "Klarna - Flexible Payments," then click the button that says "Complete Order. Don't worry, you aren't completing the purchase when you do this. This will take you to a page where you fill out your information with Klarna. When you complete all the necessary info, you will then be able to complete the purchase.
What Other Services and Upsells Can I Offer?
In addition to asphalt sealcoating, there are a number of other services that your sealcoating business can do. For example, asphalt driveways and parking lots often need to be repaired, as cracks and chips can form on the surface. Crack filling and crack repairs require a small amount of equipment, making it easy to offer them alongside the sealcoating. This is particularly true since the surface will need to be in repaired condition before you can sealcoat it. Otherwise, the sealcoating won’t adhere properly to those sections and additional cracks and gouges will appear.
As far as upsells are concerned, there are plenty of options. However, one of the most popular consists of painting lines on the surface of the parking lot. After all, this can’t be done until the sealcoating is applied and has cured, and without lines, people won’t know where to park or how to drive through the parking lot. All that you need for this part of the job are some stencils and a line striping machine, making it an upsell that will not only complete the job, but also make some additional money for your company.
Building Your Sealcoating Team
Once you've figured out the ins and outs, your sealcoating business will start booming, and honestly, it'll happen sooner than you think!
When that happens, it's time to hire some help. For help with sealcoating, you can post in local Facebook groups, post on your Instagram or social media account, or put job offers on Craigslist.
At some point you'll even need an assistant with computer related tasks, for things like scheduling appointments, follow ups, and more. Chances are, you're not going to want to do this yourself, but we have the perfect solution for you!
Hire Staff for Cheaper
PRO TIP: You can use websites like www.onlinejobs.ph and you can hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines to help you with any computer related / data entry task. You can hire a VA (virtual assistant) for anywhere between $3-$8 and upward, depending on their skill level and experience.
The best part is, if they are located outside of the USA, they don't count as subcontractors and you will not have to give them a 1099, making your taxes that much easier.
How Can We Help?
If you think that becoming a small business owner and running an asphalt maintenance business is for you, then you’re going to need some supplies. This is where we can help. Give us a call or check out the many resources and supplies available on our website.
We sell a number of different sealcoating crack filling supplies and machines, and our friendly customer service representatives are happy to help you find the best ones for your new business. Give us a call and let us help you star a successful business today!