You've thought about starting your own asphalt maintenance business for months (or years even!), but it's only now that you've decided that you're really going to follow your heart. The problem is, you don't know where to start.
Do you invest in sealcoating and crack filling equipment first? Do you shop for supplies? Or is it better to enroll in an asphalt maintenance training course before you take the plunge?
If you're in the middle of starting your sealcoating business and confused on where and how to start, then check out this blog was written for you. Here are 5 essential things to remember before starting a sealcoating business.
1. You don't have to pursue a college degree to become a sealcoater – but training is essential
One of the best things about starting your own asphalt maintenance business is the low barrier to entry. You also don't need to be up in your neck in student loans or apprentice under someone else for many years just to get a job sealing asphalt.
Judd with Titan PowrLiner rep overviewing the PowrLiner 3500 line striper
The beauty of asphalt maintenance is the ease with which it can be done. Unlike other jobs in the service business, you only need to know how to properly seal or fix a driveway or parking lot to ace it. This is in direct contrast to many blue-collar jobs, including carpentry, forestry, and auto repair.
But that doesn't mean you should rush headlong into starting the business with zero training. That's the perfect recipe for failure.
At Asphalt Kingdom, we don't just sell sealcoating, line striping, and crack filling equipment. We also advocate for business owners to be trained in correct equipment handling and proper technique when applying asphalt sealer or patching potholes.
Proper training is not just a tedious extra step to starting your own business. It is the essential first step that will serve as your business's foundation and boost your company's reputation.
After all, you don't want to show up to your first customer's driveway not knowing which type of crackfiller you should use. Or worse, drive up to your customer's parking lot not knowing how to operate your sealcoating machine properly or troubleshoot it in case something goes wrong.
So how do you get trained as a sealcoating contractor (or as we call it here at Asphalt Kingdom, a pavement asset specialist)?
Online Asphalt Training
First, you can immerse yourself in the world of asphalt maintenance by reading Asphalt Kingdom's blogs and watching our YouTube videos. We also have comprehensive deep dive guides on how to conduct sealcoating, crack filling, and line striping, all of which you can access here.
You can also sign up and access the different courses Asphalt Kingdom designed for would-be contractors.
Sign up for the Driveway Sealcoating Kickstart Course
(Watch this video for a coupon!)
In-Person Asphalt Training
If you're ready to step out of your comfort zone and train in person, then you have two options.
1. AK PRO Training
First is to join the annual AK PRO Training which happens right before the sealcoating season begins. Another way is to join a coaching session and do a ride along with qualified Asphalt Coaches operating in or near your area.
The AK PRO Spring Training is an annual in-person training event that happens right before the season starts. During the training, you'll learn how to operate and troubleshoot sealcoating, line striping, crack filling, and pothole patching machines.
You'll join fellow would-be business owners, and together, you'll learn how to properly seal asphalt driveways and parking lots. You'll also learn how to paint parking lot lines, fill asphalt cracks, and patch potholes the right way.
Check out the highlights of the AK PRO 2023 Spring Training:
2. Ride Along Training with a Pro in the Business
If you'd rather receive ride along training right where you live (or at least near your city), then get in touch with our highly-rated Asphalt Coaches. These coaches have been vetted by Asphalt Kingdom and are considered leaders in the industry.
When you sign up for training with one of our Asphalt Coaches, you'll get a free acceleration coaching session. If you decide that this venture really is for you, then sign up for ride-along training or opt for virtual training. Learn more about our Asphalt Coaches and sign up for your free acceleration session here.
2. Make sure the training you receive is comprehensive
When you start a sealcoating business, what's the first thing that comes to mind? You're probably thinking of something as simple as acquiring customers, showing up at the jobsite to seal that parking lot, and getting paid before going home.
But owning an asphalt maintenance business is more complicated than that. You're not just a simple "sealcoater." You're an asphalt maintenance expert and a business promotion machine rolled into one.
Anthony Byson laying a bead of sealer for manual sealcoating practice
That's why we don't just emphasize learning about the technical aspects of the service but also the management and promotion sides of it.
When you join any of the Asphalt Kingdom training programs, you'll discover that we offer more than technical knowledge on asphalt sealing, repair, and maintenance.
We also provide different resources on running a growing business, including how to pitch your sealcoating services, acquire high-paying customers, and deliver great customer service.
3. Hands-on experience is important
Tutorial videos and online courses have made would-be business owners' lives easier. Just turn on your computer or phone, and you're ready to learn anything.
Thomas F. getting ready to paint parking lines during AK PRO Spring Training
But there are business ventures, such as asphalt maintenance, where a few hours of online learning or reading articles will not suffice. Asphalt business owners like you need hands-on experience and must be familiar with operating any equipment you've invested in.
With adequate hands-on training, you'll learn how to maximize it and ensure that you can use it for many years. Best of all, you can troubleshoot equipment problems on your own.
Another benefit of hands-on experience in asphalt maintenance is that you retain all the information you have acquired longer. Plus, hands-on learning allows you to encounter and solve many business-related issues that you typically won't run into if you're stuck learning online. But if you do have questions about your equipment, Facebook groups like USA Sealcoaters allow you to get advice
4. Setting training goals
Without clear training goals, you may lack motivation and become easily discouraged.
Setting training goals is a crucial step toward achieving success in any field. These goals will provide you with direction and purpose to the training process. They also allow you to focus your efforts on achieving specific outcomes.
Writing your goals down
Setting training goals can help you measure your progress and evaluate your performance. By setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals, you can track their progress and identify areas that require improvement.
5. Never stop learning
Do you stop learning the moment your asphalt maintenance business training ends? Of course not. Believing that you know everything about the industry and being stagnant is the best way for your business to fail.
One of the best ways to learn even after training ends is to read sealcoating business blogs and articles. Devour books related to your business, and subscribe to a newsletter by suppliers and industry leaders.
Finally, attend trade fairs like National Pavement Expo and connect with suppliers and fellow asphalt business owners. You'll be surprised at the amount of knowledge and news you'll learn during trade fairs and networking events.
Planning to build your own network? Join Asphalt Kingdom's Roundtable discussion which happens via Zoom every Wednesday at 7 PM ET. This discussion is moderated by Asphalt Kingdom president Judd Burdon. Plus, you'll meet fellow sealcoating business owners and learn the latest in the industry.
We hope that this blog has helped you in your journey to start a sealcoating business this year. Planning to sign up for training soon? Reach out to us at 1-866-399-5562 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to see which training program is right for you.
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Our in-person training events will give you the skills and knowledge you need to provide your customers with the best possible service.